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European Natural Gas Prices Set To Soar Following Nord Stream Shutdown

The European Union is bracing for more gas pain after Gazprom said Nord Stream 1 will remain shut down indefinitely, with prices expected to break another record today.

Russia’s Gazprom said on Friday it would not restart gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline because it had discovered a fault—and oil leak—that required repairs. The company said it could not say when the pipeline will restart.

Siemens Energy, which normally does maintenance on Nord Stream 1 said such leaks are no obstacle to the normal running of compressor stations along pipelines.

Whatever the reason, the flow of Russian gas to Europe has once again been reduced, prompting expectations of energy rationing this winter even as EU energy ministers prepare to discuss gas import price caps at a meeting this Friday.

"On Friday... the market was already pricing in Nord Stream 1 (NS1) flows coming back," Leon Izbicki, gas analyst at Energy Aspects, told Reuters. "We expect a significantly stronger open for the TTF on Monday."

"Supply is hard to come by, and it becomes harder and harder to replace every bit of gas that doesn’t come from Russia," said Jacob Mandel, a senior associate for commodities at Aurora Energy Research, also quoted by Reuters.

Meanwhile, the European Union is frantically searching for a way out of the gas pickle, including, besides gas import price caps, a radical intervention in markets in the form of a power derivatives trading suspension, Bloomberg reported.

“It is clear that the upcoming heating season will test the resilience of the EU energy market,” a draft document from the Czech presidency for an emergency meeting of EU leaders, cited by Bloomberg, says. “It is critical to take stock of market developments and identify possible measures to address high electricity prices driven by high gas prices.”

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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