Tuesday, March 21

East-bound gas flows via Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline steady this week

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MOSCOW — Gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which usually travel west from Russia to Europe, remained reversed on Friday, with low supply to Poland from Germany broadly unchanged since Monday, data from German network operator Gascade showed.

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

Flows to Poland from Germany via the Mallnow metering point stood at more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h) on Friday morning.

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The operator said that renominations, or bids, are expected to remain above 1.5 million kWh/h until Saturday morning.

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

Russian gas export 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 hour (MWh) on Dec. 21 when the Yamal-Europe system reversed flow.

The West has accused Russia of withholding gas to drive up 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 the 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 via the pipeline in favor of gas from Germany in underground storage or sourced from elsewhere.

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 Friday eased to 282,761 MWh, down from 326,605 MWh on Thursday and the lowest since Jan. 3.

Nominations via this route hit a 2022 high of 850,143 MWh at the start of February. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Additional reporting by Robert Muller in Prague Editing by David Goodman )