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European natural gas prices jump for the 4th week running as the continent's energy crisis intensifies

·2-min read
A sign with the words "Nord Stream" stands in front of the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and the transfer station of the OPAL long-distance gas pipeline.
Russia has slashed supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.Stefan Sauer/Picture Alliance/Getty Images
  • European natural gas prices were on track for their fourth straight weekly rise on Friday.

  • Russia has squeezed supplies to the continent and countries are rushing to fill storage before winter.

  • Dutch TTF natural gas futures are up over 600% from a year earlier, according to ICE Exchange data.

European natural gas prices have surged for the fourth week in a row as an energy crisis grips the continent, after Russia slashed supplies and as countries rush to fill storage tanks before winter.

Dutch TTF natural gas futures, the benchmark European price, were on track for a weekly gain of more than 5% on Friday, although prices were slightly lower on the day. Futures were up more than 20% from a month earlier, according to ICE Exchange data, and around 600% higher than the year before.

Russia has slashed the flow of natural gas to Europe in recent months, in what Western governments say is retaliation for sanctions put in place over President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Gazprom, the state-owned energy giant, cut the flow of natural gas to Germany and Western Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to just 20% of capacity last month.

Before the war, Russia supplied more than 40% of the European Union's natural gas imports, and the squeeze on supplies has sent prices soaring as governments scramble to find other sources.

Meanwhile, the River Rhine — a crucial commodities artery that runs through Germany — has dropped to dangerously low water levels after an extended period of drought. That threatens the supply of coal and diesel.

Lu Ming Pang, analyst at Rystad Energy, said there are question marks over Norwegian gas supplies, as maintenance is expected to soon start at two facilities in that country.

"TTF prices will continue at high levels so long as gas supply from Russia appears to remain tight in the foreseeable future," he said.

Natural gas is widely used in Europe to heat homes and to generate power for industry. In 2020, natural gas made up 24% of the EU's energy mix, according to the European Commission.

The surge in natural gas prices has sent power prices soaring across Europe, intensifying the energy crunch. German baseload power futures, the benchmark price, have hit record highs in recent days and are up roughly 450% from a year earlier.

Read the original article on Business Insider