European shippers were firmly in injection mode in Week 33 with facility fullness swelling by a further two percentage points as the incentive to buy natural gas for storage purposes remained strong.
More than 1.7 billion cubic metres (Gm³) of gas had been sent to storage since the previous Wednesday, according to Gas Storage Europe (GSE).
It says German sites recorded the highest volume of injections during the period. More than 774 million cubic metres (Mm³) were sent to storage in the country, comfortably outstripping injections in all other countries.
This was the highest level of German injections since the week ending 2 May 2011, according to ICIS data. The country holds the largest volumes of outright stored gas, at 16.6Gm³, and its sites are now 83% full.
While German prompt prices have been bullish in recent weeks, they have still traded at a discount to the near curve, incentivising shippers to buy gas for storage purposes.
NCG Day-ahead traded at a E0.25/MWh discount to the front month on Monday while on the same day it traded at a discount of more than E3.00/MWh to Winter '12.
France's large facilities registered 265Mm³ of injections, with about half of this figure clocked at the country's PEG Nord sites. A total of 95Mm³ was injected at the TIGF sites, swelling their fullness by 6%. This made TIGF the largest per-capita injector during the period. However, French sites remain the emptiest in Europe, at 62% fullness.
A total of 225Mm³ was injected in Italy, bringing PSV site fullness to 85%. Italian Day-ahead was last assessed by ICIS at a E4.15/MWh discount to Winter '12.
Baumgarten facilities, which encompass Austria and four neighbouring countries, registered injections of 214Mm³.
Average site fullness at the hub was 71%, although Polish storage facilities were 93% full, while the Hungarian sites' facilities were just 53% full.
At 93% fullness, NBP sites are the fullest in Europe. Withdrawals from medium range storage sites Aldbrough and Holford have been curbed recently as LNG send-out from the South Hook terminal has flooded the UK system, allowing shippers to seize the opportunity to buy gas for injections.
At 89%, Iberia's small facilities have been surpassed as the fullest in Europe, while injections of 22Mm³ at Belgium's Zeebrugge have brought its site fullness just shy of this level.
Aggregate site fullness measures 78%, five percentage points below the corresponding period in 2011.
The latest figures refer to a six-day window, rather than the usual week-long period. A technical issue that caused the GSE website to crash on Tuesday 7 August meant that ICIS was unable to publish storage data until Wednesday.
In addition, some of the previous week's data was estimated based on trends for shippers that failed to submit data on time. However, GSE data is now accurate and up to date. JE
Copyright 2012 Heren Energy Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published August 14, 2012, in European Spot Gas Markets.)