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Europe Makes It To the Other Side of Winter With Record Levels of Natural Gas

Europe has managed to make it through this winter season with record levels of natural gas in storage, setting it up to head into next winter on solid ground.

With the end of March essentially wrapping up the typical winter season, natural gas stores in Europe remain 58.7% full, Gas Infrastructure Europe’s data shows—a new record.

The previous record was set last winter when Europe ended with about 56% of natural gas stores filled.

Europe will now begin the process of refilling its natural gas stores—it’s already fairly full natural gas stores—with some analysts suggesting the Europe may even need to cut back on its LNG imports this summer so that it doesn’t fill its storage too early, the FT said on Tuesday.

The news is in contrast to the idea by some that Europe’s energy crisis of a few years ago would keep rolling over into a cascade of product shortfalls after one poorly planned, prolonged winter season—a fear that was compounded when Russia cut back its natural gas exports to Europe and Western sanctions that pushed for Europe to wean itself completely off of Russian natural gas.

Now, according to Natasha Fielding, head of European gas pricing at Argus Media, the problem has swung to too much gas, instead of not enough.

“Europe may need to take less LNG this summer to balance out weaker demand and slow the pace of the stock build, thereby avoiding sites filling early,” Fielding said, after pointing out that Europe could reach 90 percent capacity by early August if it continues to fill at the same pace as last year.

Europe’s natural gas price benchmark remains about 20% higher than it was a month ago.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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