RUSSIAN GAS FOR EUROPE UP
PLATTS - Russian gas supplies to Europe and Turkey rebounded in August, according to data released by gas giant Gazprom, after a dip the previous month during the planned outage of the main Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany.
According to preliminary data cited by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Gazprom's sales in the "Far Abroad" -- Europe plus Turkey but not the countries of the former Soviet Union -- are set to amount to 133.3 Bcm in the first eight months of 2018.
Miller, cited by news agency Prime, said supplies in the January-August period were set to rise 5.6% -- or 7 Bcm -- from the same period of 2017.
According to S&P Global Platts calculations, this means August supplies are expected at 16.2 Bcm, or an average of 523 million cu m/d.
This is the highest monthly average since April, meaning Gazprom gas remains in high demand for power generation and for storage injection in Europe.
Gazprom's sales in Europe and Turkey in July averaged 513 million cu m/d, according to Platts' calculations, as the gas giant made up for the two-week Nord Stream outage by selling gas from its European storage facilities and increasing flows via Ukraine.
Gazprom supply data classify volumes sold to customers, including from storage, not just physical export volumes.
Gazprom's supplies to the Far Abroad hit a new record high of 194.4 Bcm last year, and are on track to break through the 200 Bcm level if current supply rates are maintained.
Miller said last month supplies to Europe and Turkey were set to reach the maximum foreseen in all of its contracts combined this year and that total sales could reach "205 Bcm or more."
But pricing will likely be the most significant factor in determining how much Russian gas is sold in Europe and Turkey over the remainder of 2018.
Prices on the main European gas hubs have risen sharply in recent weeks, with the Dutch TTF day-ahead and Q4 prices moving above Eur26/MWh.
This means Russian gas with oil indexation -- which still plays an important role in many long-term European gas supply agreements with Gazprom -- remains competitive versus the hubs despite rising sharply itself, according to Platts estimates and the current forward curve.
The range of 85%-100% oil-indexed contracts is estimated at Eur19.64-23.11/MWh for September, according to Platts Analytics.
The TTF price for September, by comparison, is considerably higher at Eur26/MWh, according to Platts assessments Wednesday, after a European gas price rally in recent weeks triggered by a tight system and high demand.
But oil-indexed contracts are set to become significantly more expensive in the coming months themselves, with the top of the range reaching close to Eur26/MWh in Q1.
This would suggest European buyers of Russian gas should maximize nominations in the short-term as oil-indexed gas becomes more expensive in the coming months.
Oil-indexed contracts are in contango until April 2019 at which point the curve begins to dip again. But the oil-indexed price remains cheaper than the TTF gas for the entire Q4 and Q1, 2019 period.
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