Higher OPAL flows leading to increased Austrian gas supply

04 August 2017 14:42 Source:ICIS

Additional gas flows through the OPAL pipeline following day-ahead capacity auctions have largely supplied Austria and other centraleast European (CEE) countries rather than Germany, ICIS flow analysis shows.

German regulator BNetzA lifted a ban on utilising full capacity on OPAL on Monday, following a decision previously made by German and European courts, and the pipeline operator resumed day-ahead capacity auctions on Tuesday.

Three day-ahead auctions have now taken place on the PRISMA allocation platform. So far, 16 million cubic metres (mcm)/day of the 35mcm/day on offer were sold on Tuesday for Wednesday’s gas day, followed by around 13mcm/day on Wednesday and 14mcm/day on Thursday.

According to data collated by ICIS, deliveries into the OPAL pipeline at Greifswald approximately mirrored the capacities sold in the day-ahead auctions, rising by 16.5mcm/day session on session on Wednesday before slumping back slightly on Thursday and ramping up again on Friday.

However, this did not leave Germany better supplied as flows through the NEL pipe, which also connects to Russia’s Nord Stream at Greifswald, dropped by a rate of almost 10mcm/day on Wednesday and retained this lower level for the rest of the week.

Much of the additional gas flowing through OPAL was also sent on to the Czech Republic, with flows at the Brandov point rising by around 9mcm/day on Wednesday and gaining a further 2mcm/day on Thursday.

Although a small proportion of this gas remained in the Czech Republic, flows through the Lanzhot point between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Baumgarten point between Slovakia and Austria increased by a rate of around 8mcm/day on Wednesday and then continued to ramp up at a more moderate pace in the following sessions.

Flow increases through the Arnoldstein point towards Italy were minimal, suggesting that much of the gas was being retained in Austria.

Austrian storage sites hold around 2 billion cubic metres less gas than at the same time last summer and the additional gas may be used to replenish stocks. However, this situation is similar across European storage.

It seems more likely that Russian flows via Ukraine will decline to compensate for the increased OPAL flows. This was not the case in the first two sessions of increased OPAL flows, but on Friday flows through Velke Kapusany where Russian gas enters Slovakia from Ukraine dropped by a rate of almost 15mcm/day session on session. julie.fisher@icis.com

By Julie Fisher