European storage operators were almost exclusively in injection mode in the first week of May as almost 1.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas were sent to storage.
This is the largest weekly net volume of gas injections seen in mainland Europe since the week to 22 August 2011. European storage facilities are over 47% full, climbing higher by 2 percentage points week on week, according to GSE data.
Almost identical net storage injections were recorded in the same week of 2011. However, at that juncture, sites were significantly fuller, at 53%.
Sizable injections were recorded on mainland Europe as shippers were influenced by mild weather, which helped to suppress prompt prices and incentivise storage injections. This, in turn, offered support to prompt prices at the NCG and TTF hubs as spot products firmed.
Fullness at German storage facilities increased by 2 percentage points after net injections of 411 million cubic metres (Mm³) were registered. Only Italy, at 464Mm³, recorded greater injections.
Italian facilities have not registered any gas withdrawals since 28 March last as shippers continue to focus on the discount from the PSV prompt to its near curve. PSV June and July contracts held E0.25/MWh premiums over PSV Day-ahead gas last Friday.
A similar situation exists at the Baumgarten hub, where almost 280Mm³ of gas was put into storage. The hub recorded net injections in four of the five countries which it encompasses. Minor net withdrawals were recorded at Slovakian sites.
Britain's NBP hub recorded net injections of 95Mm³ last week. The hub registered individual withdrawals at the beginning of May as some system shortness and near-term supply concerns forced traders to dip into stored reserves. However, injections of 68Mm³ on Sunday and Monday allowed site fullness to tick higher to 54%.
British injections have ramped up in recent days as the previously firm spot has receded and dipped below the front month, affording traders the opportunity to send some gas to storage. At 11:00 London time on Tuesday, ICIS assessed NBP Day-ahead gas at 58.15p/th, which was almost 3.50p/th BELOW its Friday close.
It is trading at a 0.40p/th discount to the front month, having traded at a 3.85p/th premium on Friday.
Iberian storage facilities remain the fullest in Europe, at 69%, followed by Dutch facilities, at 64%. Despite net injections of 214Mm³, French facilities are still the emptiest in Europe at 23% fullness. JE
Copyright 2012 Heren Energy Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published May 8, 2012, in European Spot Gas Markets.)