Expected closure of Interconnector pushes NBP 7% lower

13 June 2017 11:46 Source:ICIS

A forecast 16% drop in British natural gas demand, caused by the start of maintenance along the Interconnector pipeline, pressured the NBP Day-ahead on Tuesday morning. By 11:00 London time, the benchmark product was 7% lower than Monday’s close.

Operator National Gird predicted British demand on Wednesday – the opening day of works along the Interconnector – will be just 160mcm, down from Tuesday’s 191mcm. By Thursday British consumption could even be as low as 150mcm.

On Tuesday morning shippers had nominated to export 52mcm to Belgium. With demand in this order of magnitude removed from British consumption for the coming fortnight and a diminished capability to inject into storage, traders were keen to offload prompt gas.

The Interconnector is the only export pipeline Britain has to mainland Europe.

The weakness of the NBP Day-ahead hauled other prompt and near-curve contracts lower across key European hubs. Yet none of the morning assessed products fell by nearly the same extent.

Trades submitted to ICIS showed the rest of the NBP prompt was also starkly lower than 16:30 on Monday, with BOM dealing at 32.25p/th and WDNW at 33.0p/th.

Adding additional pressure to the NBP prompt was a very slight increase in imports from Norway, operator data showed. Although this was partially offset by a marginally short system through the morning.

Despite the rise in Norwegian exports to Britain, aggregate pipeline flows from the Nordic state to Europe were a touch lower, data from operator Gassco showed. At 10:20, gas was flowing at a rate of 283mcm/day, a drop of almost 5% from 24 hours earlier. Much of this fall, however, was driven by higher intra-day Langeled flows to Britain on Monday, which fell in the early evening.

Dutch production was nominated lower again on Tuesday, at 70mcm, down from Monday’s 72mcm, according to GTS data. Last year, output in the Netherlands dipped to similar lows ahead of the Interconnector maintenance, before jumping again during the two-week closure.

Russian flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipe, and via Slovakia, were little changed day on day, data from NEL, OPAL and Eustream showed. tom.marzec-manser@icis.com

By Tom Marzec-Manser