Natural gas prices hit record highs on strong European winter demands

Natural gas prices hit record highs on strong European winter demands

/ Oil & Gas / Wednesday, 22 December 2021 11:02

European and UK gas prices shot up to record highs owing to strong winter demand and palpable geopolitical tensions between key supplier Russia and consumer nations.

Europe's reference Dutch TTF gas price hit 162.775 euros per megawatt hour in late morning deals, up more than 10% from Monday, while UK prices leapt to 408.30 pence per therm.

Both markets beat previous records from October, also struck on demand concerns for the winter months. They are currently about seven times greater than at the start of 2021.

Runaway spot gas prices, alongside other buoyant commodities including crude oil, have fuelled mounting concern about spiking inflation worldwide.

Analysts have predicted continued “inexorable rise” of European gas price rise.

Additionally, the news of Russian energy giant Gazprom not booking any extra capacity in January for gas flowing through Ukraine could prove detrimental to the European growth.

Europe's gas stocks had already been depleted by a prolonged winter last year.

Some analysts blame the market spike on ongoing controversy surrounding Russia's planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

German economic affairs minister Robert Habeck has warned of "severe consequences" for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany if Moscow attacked Ukraine.

The Baltic Sea pipeline is set to double supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany, which the European Union's top economy says is needed to help it transition from coal and nuclear energy.

But the 10-billion-euro ($12 billion) project has for years been dogged by delays and drawn fierce criticism from both Germany's eastern EU allies like Poland and the United States.

One third of Europe is dependant on total gas supplies from Russia.

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