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European Natural Gas Prices Continue To Slide As LNG Imports Surge

Natural gas prices in Europe on Tuesday extended a slide that began three days ago thanks to forecasts for warmer weather coming to Europe along with LNG shipments seen as offsetting the danger of a cutoff of Russian gas for the EU.

Bloomberg reported that gas futures had slipped by over 3% before recouping some of the losses, but still down from yesterday.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is racing to provide legal clarity for payments in Russian rubles amid calls from major importers that they are still not certain whether such payments would breach EU sanctions on Russia.

“It’s very important that the EU Commission gives a clear legal opinion if payment in rubles is a violation of sanctions,” said Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday.

The EU remains the top destination for U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, meanwhile. For the fifth month in a row, Europe took in more than half of U.S. LNG exports globally in April. Total U.S. LNG exports fell slightly during the month mostly on the back of planned maintenance.

With the surge of imports of LNG into the EU, the bloc’s stance on long-term fossil fuel import commitments is beginning to change. Previously a staunch opponent to such long-term commitments, the EU is now reconsidering, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

“There’s a real potential here for Europe to signal the demand for U.S. LNG and for our U.S. LNG providers to provide that gas to them in the form of long-term contracts,” said National Security Council senior director for climate and energy Melanie Nakagawa, as quoted by the WSJ.

Besides the United States, the European Union is also looking for gas deliveries from Africa, Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing a draft EU document. Nigeria, Angola, and Senegal are among the countries with solid LNG export potential, according to the document

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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