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Withdrawals from EU UGS facilities rise by 25% in November, Ukrainian transit - 42.1 mcm

European underground gas storage facilities received 1.2 bln cubic meters in November, which is 2.2-fold lower than last year’s figures

MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Gas withdrawals from European underground storage facilities (UGS) in November 2023 were 25% higher than last year, and the rate of withdrawals in the current heating season is significantly higher than the average of the previous five years, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE). The total accumulated gas reserves in the EU reached a historical maximum of 99.63% in early November, after which they began to rapidly decline amid cold weather. At the same time, LNG injections from terminals into the European gas transportation system last month increased by 16% compared to October. Gazprom supplies gas to Europe in transit through Ukraine in the amount of 42.1 mln cubic meters per day through the Sudzha station.

European underground gas storage facilities received 1.2 bln cubic meters in November, which is 2.2-fold lower than last year’s figures. Gas withdrawal from storage facilities amounted to 5.6 bln cubic meters - 25% more than the previous year.

The heating season in Europe began on November 7, 2023 (a week earlier than in the last fall-winter season), and since that moment, EU countries have withdrawn 5.4 bln cubic meters from storage of gas. At the same time, the total gas withdrawal from underground gas storage facilities on the 24th day after reaching their maximum volume is already 11% higher than the average value for this day over the previous five years. The last season of gas withdrawal from European underground storage facilities ended on April 7, 2023, with 55.47% of reserves.

Gas inventories in European storage facilities fell to 95.33% as of November 30, which is 10.74 percentage points higher than the average for that date over the past five years. They now contain 105.1 bln cubic meters of gas. European countries filled their underground storage facilities with gas to the target 90% for the heating season back in mid-August, and by the beginning of the withdrawal season they had accumulated a record 99.63%.

The weather this week in Central and Western Europe will be slightly warmer than in the previous seven days. The share of wind power in EU electricity generation rose to 22% in November.

The price of gas in Europe fell by 10% in November. If on October 31, gas futures were trading at about $524 per 1,000 cubic meters, then on November 30, 2023, trading closed at $470. At the same time, the average price for November decreased by 0.2% to $512.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. 

Russian gas supplies via Ukraine

Gazprom supplies Russian gas for transit through the territory of Ukraine in the volume confirmed by the Ukrainian side through the Sudzha station at 42.1 mln cubic meters on December 4. The application for the Sokhranovka GIS was rejected, a Gazprom representative told reporters. Earlier, the GTS Operator of Ukraine confirmed the application for pumping this volume. The day before, the pumping volume amounted to 42 mln cubic meters.

The transit route through Ukraine remains the only route for Russian gas supplies to the countries of Western and Central Europe after the destruction at Nord Stream pipeline. Russian gas supplies have been going through Ukraine in a reduced volume since May 2022, when the GTS Operator of Ukraine announced the cessation of transit to Europe through the Sokhranovka station due to force majeure: the company allegedly cannot exercise control over the Novopskov compressor station in the Lugansk People’s Republic. However, the Russian gas holding did not see any reason to stop pumping.

In the fall of 2022, Naftogaz of Ukraine petitioned the International Court of Arbitration against Gazprom for allegedly late payment for gas transportation services across Ukrainian territory. CEO of Gazprom Alexey Miller stated that the arbitration case is unlawful and that the Russian holding's participation in the process is meaningless. At the same time, Russia may apply penalties on Naftogaz if the Ukrainian company continues to engage in dishonest behavior, rendering any future relations with it impossible.

LNG supplies to Europe

LNG volumes from terminals into the European gas transmission system increased significantly in November after falling a month earlier. At the end of November, they amounted to 11.61 bln cubic meters, being 16% higher than in October and 2% lower than last year. This figure was the second for November in history. The previous high was set in November 2022.

In total over 11 months of 2023, LNG supplies from terminals to the European gas transportation system amount to about 118.5 bln cubic meters - 1.5% more than in the same period last year.