Tuesday, March 21

East-bound gas flows via Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline remain low

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MOSCOW — Gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline which usually travel west from Russia to Europe remained reversed on Tuesday, sending supply to Poland from Germany, data from German network operator Gascade showed.

The link between Poland and Germany has been operating in reverse since December 21, putting upward pressure on European gas prices.

Flows to Poland from Germany via the Mallnow metering point stood at over 1.5 million kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h) on Tuesday morning, unchanged for the past 24 hours.

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The operator said renominations, or bids, stood at the same level over 1.5 million kWh/h until Wednesday morning.

The pipeline usually accounts for about 15% of Russia’s annual westbound supply of gas to Europe and Turkey.

Russian gas exporting monopoly Gazprom, which can book pipeline capacity at daily auctions, had not ordered any transit capacity for February.

It also did not book capacity for the second and third quarters of the year at a quarterly auction on Monday.

European benchmark gas prices jumped to a record 184.95 euros per megawatt hours (MWh) on Dec. 21 when the Yamal-Europe system reversed flow.

The West has accused Russia of withholding gas to help drive prices and pressure EU and German regulators to approve the new Nord Stream 2 link that will double Moscow’s piped export capacity via the Baltic Sea.

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Russia denies these allegations and Gazprom says it fulfills all long-term contracts. Instead, they say the reversed flows reflect buyers shunning high spot prices for new Russian supply in favor of stored gas from Germany.

The switch has also meant European storage levels have fallen below their five-year average.

On another major route for Russian deliveries to Europe, for supply to Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point, capacity nominations for Tuesday stood at 602,494 MWh, down from a re-nominated 738,076 MWh on Monday but still above levels registered throughout January.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; editing by Jason Neely)