MOSCOW (Reuters) – Already high natural gas prices in Europe could reach new highs due to low levels of gas storage, Alexei Miller, boss of Russian supplier Gazprom, said on Friday.
Miller also told an online conference that demand was increasing for natural gas, which he described as a “clean fuel” that could help the transition to greener energy.
He said gas stored in Europe is currently 22.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) below normal levels.
“It’s very big … All the experts say that Europe will not be able to catch up with the delay in pumping (in storage).
“Europe will enter the autumn / winter period with shortages of underground storage,” he said.
“Of course, the situation has an impact on prices and we see that prices in Europe have broken all possible records. It is even possible that they are breaking the records they had already achieved.”
Day-ahead gas prices at the Dutch hub TTF, a European benchmark, have more than tripled this year to reach record levels and have pushed up electricity prices. [NG/GB]
NORD STREAM 2 Miller reaffirmed that Gazprom is fully adhering to its supply obligations and that the company is ready to pump more gas if necessary.
Gazprom is preparing to double its gas export capacity to Europe via the Baltic Sea after announcing last week the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany.
However, it still needs operating approval from Germany, a process expected to take up to four months.
Nord Stream 2 has faced sanctions from the United States and criticism from other countries wary of the European Union increasing its dependence on imported energy from Russia. .
However, some analysts believe that Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to help cool high gas prices in Europe anytime soon. Gazprom kept its gas export forecast unchanged on Thursday.
“Nord Stream 2 remains a point of uncertainty but also, in isolation, is unlikely to make a sufficient difference to gas balances,” Barclays analysts wrote on Friday.
Gazprom CEO Miller also said Asian markets are more attractive for gas supply despite record prices in Europe.
Gazprom has delivered more than 10 billion cubic meters of gas to China since deliveries began in December 2019 via the Power of Siberia pipeline, the company chief said.
He also said he expected China to import a total of 160 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from various sources in 2021.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Olesya Astakhova; additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London; writing by Alexander Marrow and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)