European natural gas stocks less full year on year at the end of 2013

31 December 2013 10:38 Source:ICIS

Low demand over the Christmas period meant very little gas was taken from storage across Europe coming into week 53, with several hubs in net injection mode over the seven days to Monday.

At the end of 2013 aggregated European stocks were almost 69% full, compared to 71% at the same point last year, GSE data shows.

In Germany, just over 200 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas was withdrawn, despite low demand. At the end of this year the country’s facilities were two percentage points less full than at the end of 2012.

In Italy, which has the second-highest storage capacity in Europe, shippers injected the largest quantity of gas of any hub with flows into storage exceeding withdrawals for the first time since mid November. But even after the refill the country’s facilities were 11 percentage points less full than on the same date last year.

In Britain, sites were also in injection mode over the low-demand period, increasing stock fullness by more than one percentage point. Over the sessions to Monday the NBP front month closed at a premium to the Day-ahead of at least 2p/th, providing the incentive to replenish facilities.

At the start of week 53, NBP storage sites were two percentage points more full than at the same point in 2012. French EDF’s Hill Top Farm is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2014.

French facilities continued in withdrawal mode, although the total volume taken from storage was less than in recent weeks. PEG stocks remain some of the emptiest in Europe proportionally and are eight percentage points less full than at the end of 2012.

The Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium were the other countries that injected during the week, although quantities were small. Ben Samuel

By Ben Samuel