LNG prices hit record high as Russia’s supplies to Europe stop

LNG prices hit record high as Russia’s supplies to Europe stop

Asian liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices hit a record high of more than $59 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), after Russia’s main gas pipeline to Europe stops supplies.

Price agency S&P Global Commodity Insights‘ Japan-Korea-Marker (JKM), which is widely used as a spot benchmark in the region, climbed to $59.672 per mmBtu, data showed. Its previous record was set in October 2021 when it hit $56.326/MMBtu. Prices for spot LNG cargoes delivered in the same period last year were around $6 per mmbtu.

The benchmark Dutch front-month gas price hit a new record high near 199 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), equivalent to $64.5/mmBtu, on Thursday. It traded at an equivalent of $56.4/mmBtu on Friday.

Russia provides about 40 percent of Europe’s gas supplies, while Ukraine is a major transit country for Russian gas. With the conflict now in its ninth day, supply shortage concerns are pushing prices ever higher.

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The April futures at the TTF hub in the Netherlands soared to around $2,279 per 1,000 cubic meters, or over €200 per megawatt-hour in household terms, hitting a record high, according to data from London’s ICE exchange.

Westbound gas flows from Russia to Germany via the Yamal-Europe pipeline stopped on Thursday, while bids remained for supplies in both directions, according to data tracked by the pipeline operator Gascade.

According to the operator, westbound gas supplies had been mostly at about 17.5 million kWh/h at Mallnow metering point for some 10 hours before the stoppage. The data also showed preliminary bids of 6.4 million kWh/h for the next 24 hours for westbound supplies, with bids for eastbound flows of 6.1 million kWh/h.

Gazprom said on Thursday it was shipping gas to Europe via Ukraine in line with customers’ requests.

In December, the German-Polish section of the pipeline switched into reverse – eastbound – mode as buyers in Poland drew on stored supplies from Germany rather than buying more Russian gas at the spot market where the prices recorded all-time highs nearly every day. Western media at the time accused Russia’s Gazprom of deliberately cutting European supplies.

The Russian state-controlled energy giant has intermittently sent gas westward via the link in recent days amid high demand in Europe. The company has also increased supplies to the continent via Ukraine.

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