Belgium: Prompt natural gas bases rise on reload, curve rises on crude rally
Zeebrugge prompt contracts rebounded on Tuesday, despite continually falling demand as temperatures remained persistently above average.
The gains were largely similar to those registered on the British NBP. However, there was one noticeable difference - the Day-ahead basis narrowed significantly from Monday's -0.50p/th settlement to +0.05p/th, as the outright Day-ahead contract surged.
Traders attributed this to the arrival of reload cargo, the Eni-chartered Methania, on Tuesday, which is set to deplete LNG stocks at the Belgian hub, offering more upside than at neighbouring markets.
No other bases registered significant shifts, although the expectation of the BP-chartered British Sapphire, another reload cargo, on 17 March will further lessen stocks before the Rasgas Asclepius and Lusail arrive on 19 and 27 March, respectively.
A lift was offered to the far curve from a rapidly rising Brent crude contract. Summer '12 was the main beneficiary, appreciating by 0.875p/th to 61.225p/th. The strength of the oil market and its potential for upside, given geopolitical tensions, has reportedly caused traders to place a risk premium on longer-dated contracts in the event that the crude market does rise to a large extent.
"It's like the beginning of February - all the shorts got destroyed, no one is willing to get burnt twice," said one trader. Imports via the Interconnector pipeline looked set to increase with an elevated basis. Day-ahead nominations stood at 14.0Mm³ at 17:00 London time, according to IUK data. JT
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