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Norway’s Gas Exports Plunge On Low Prices, Heavy Maintenance

Norway’s natural gas exports via pipelines to Europe plunged in September to their lowest volume in 15 years, as operators scale back flows amid decade-low prices in Europe and as many fields underwent routine maintenance last month.

According to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), Norway’s pipeline natural gas exports to Europe, including the UK, stood at 4.59 Bcm last month. This was the lowest volume of exports in a month since August of 2004, S&P Global Platts Analytics says.

Maintenance on the huge Troll gas field in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and additional commercial turndown at Troll were responsible for a large part of the reduced exports. Other fields offshore Norway also underwent planned maintenance in September, so the output and flows from Oseberg, Gina Krog, Ormen Lange, Sleipner, Kvitebjorn, Aasta Hansteen, and Visund was also down. Adding to this, outages at Asgard and Gullfaks also reduced Norwegian exports.

Commercial reasons were also key to the lowest Norwegian gas exports to Europe in 15 years.

Natural gas prices in Europe fell in the summer to their lowest level in a decade, and prices are set to drop even lower.

Storage facilities across the continent are fuller than usual for this time of the year. Thanks to the lowest natural gas prices in a decade, storage tanks in many European countries are higher than the five-year average well ahead of the coming heating season. Traders continue to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargos to Europe, potentially waiting for trading opportunities when the winter season approaches and prices rise. 

The winter heating season in October is set to begin with temperatures around or above seasonal norms, early forecasts suggest.

Norway supplies around 25 percent of the European Union’s (EU) gas demand, and is the second largest EU gas supplier behind Russia which has a 33-percent share, Norwegian government figures show.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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