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ADNOC Gas Plc, a listed subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, has reached an agreement with France’s TotalEnergies SE (NYSE:TTE) to supply the latter with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in a $1B deal, Bloomberg has reported. The deal is one of the latest by a European gas buyer as Europe once again scrambles to fill its gas stores ahead of the next winter season.
Last year, Europe managed to fill its gas stores well ahead of winter and has seen storage levels remain above historical levels thanks to mild weather, with higher temperatures curbing gas demand for heating in many countries.
The continent is currently going through its second mildest winter on record with the high temperatures attributed to man-made climate change. The unusually mild winter has offered short-term relief to governments that have been struggling with high gas prices after Russia slashed fuel deliveries to Europe last year.
Last month, Putin warned Europe of a fresh gas crisis, with Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas supplier, telling Europe there “is no guarantee that nature will make such a gift” in reference to the favorable weather.
Although the continent was able to avert a crisis, it paid a heavy price: the cost of replenishing natural gas stocks is estimated at over 50 billion euros ($51 billion), 10 times more than the historical average for filling up tanks. Luckily, gas prices have plunged due to lower demand. Still, at almost €40 a megawatt-hour, they’re still above historical averages with many analysts predicting they will rise again ahead of Europe’s next winter.
To get around this conundrum, the European Commission is aiming for EU countries to start buying gas jointly "well before summer", in a bid to help countries refill their storage and avoid a supply crunch next winter, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic has told Reuters.
The EC will require EU countries to ensure their local companies take part in the aggregation of gas demand with volumes equivalent to 15% of the gas needed to fill that country's storage facilities to 90% of capacity. This requirement amounts to ~13.5 billion cubic meters of gas-- a relatively miniscule amount considering the bloc used up 338 bcm in 2021.
Sefcovic has urged member states to swiftly engage with market players in their countries to estimate purchase volumes after meeting EU country representatives to coordinate the planned purchases.
By Alex KImani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.