Europe’s rally in natural gas futures took a breather, with traders awaiting clarity on talks between Chevron Corp. and its liquefied natural gas workers in Australia.
(Bloomberg) — Europe’s rally in natural gas futures took a breather, with traders awaiting clarity on talks between Chevron Corp. and its liquefied natural gas workers in Australia.
Benchmark futures slipped 6.9% after gaining more than 30% in the previous three sessions. Earlier, the Dutch contract briefly hit €50 per megawatt-hour, for the first time since April. The cool down also tracked declining crude oil prices on signs that the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on flows will remain limited.
Prices jumped this week amid heightened anxiety over supplies, with the region on the cusp of the heating season as it faces its first cold snap in the next few days. While European storage sites are almost full and will provide a cushion for potential supply pinches, the region needs continuous deliveries to satisfy demand after losing most of its pipeline gas shipments from Russia last year.
Gas markets were already on edge after workers at LNG plants in Australia said last week they plan to resume strikes unless a deal on pay and conditions is concluded with operator Chevron. Both sides met on Wednesday, and discussions are scheduled to continue on Thursday.
Dutch front-month gas, Europe’s benchmark, settled at €46.07 a megawatt-hour in Amsterdam. The contract closed Tuesday above its upper Bollinger band, a technical indicator that signals that it may be overbought. UK month-ahead futures were down 6.5%.
Still, prompt prices were little changed as temperatures are expected to be 5C and 6C below normal in Paris and London, respectively, by the weekend and into early next week, according to forecaster Maxar Technologies.
The supply outlook remains dimmed after Israel ordered the shutdown of a major gas field, citing safety concerns as fighting between its military and Hamas escalates. That puts exports of liquefied natural gas from Egypt at risk as the North African nation deals with a drop in shipments from Israel.
Separately, the market is on alert after a leak was found in an undersea gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, with an investigation under way. Repairs to the interconnector may take at least five months.
–With assistance from Stephen Stapczynski.
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