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Venezuela Remains The Oil Market's Biggest Known Unknown

1. Despite Lower Gas Prices, Europe’s Industrial Gas Demand Just Not Enough

- Europe’s industry gas demand is set to remain 20% below 2021 levels this year despite much lower natural gas prices and relatively ample LNG imports, raising the risks of deindustrialization in the continent’s industrial heartland.

- An 8-10% decline in production for Europe’s chemicals industry is the largest decremental factor in absolute terms, with Germany struggling to kickstart its manufacturing performance – factory orders have recorded a whopping 12% year-on-year drop over the summer, the worst contraction since 2020.

- Even refining, a key industry that needs natural gas to desulphurize transportation fuels, remains 30% below 2021 levels in all-European demand, adding a mere 1 bcm compared to last year and expected to total 7.2 bcm.

- Natural gas prices in Europe are in steep contango, with the December 2023 TTF futures contract €15 per MWh above the prompt-month October contract, aggravated by Australia’s LNG strikes.

2. Freeport LNG Is In Trouble Again

- Following the June 2022 fire that debilitated Freeport LNG’s exports for almost a year, the U.S.’ second-largest liquefaction terminal has drastically lowered its feedgas intake since September 10.

- Feedgas deliveries to Freeport plunged from 1.6 BCf per day in September to 0.27 BCf per day currently, with the decline reportedly…

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