European gas prices fall as Nord Stream restart brings relief

European natural gas prices fell after Russia resumed supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline, its largest link to Europe, after 10 days of maintenance.

Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. local time, Russian gas was flowing to Germany at about 40% of the pipeline’s capacity, about the same as before the annual works began. Orders indicate that the link will operate at the same level for at least one day.

The resumption of flow eases fears that Russia will cut supplies and offers some relief to Europe as it races to stockpile fuel ahead of winter. European Union policymakers have prepared for the worst with a plan to cut gas consumption by 15 percent. Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn even said he doesn’t expect the pipeline to come back.

“The resumption of flows along the Nord Stream this morning is likely to prompt a collective sigh of relief not only in the European gas market but also across the economy,” said Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at ICIS in London. Physical flows arriving in Germany are a declining indicator for gas, even if the pipeline is operating at a fraction of its total capacity, he said.

Dutch front-month futures, the European benchmark, fell 6.5 percent to 145 euros per megawatt-hour and were trading 4.1 percent lower as of 9:05 am in Amsterdam.

Traders have been seeking clarity on plans to restart the pipeline for days. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday warned that Nord Stream could return from maintenance at lower rates if a dispute over a key piece of equipment is not resolved. One of the pipeline’s turbines became stuck in Canada due to Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but has since been released.

Putin said delays in receiving the turbine could result in the volume being reduced to just 20 percent of capacity by the end of this month when another part is due for maintenance. Flows over the pipeline have been limited to 40 percent capacity since June 16. European gas prices fall as Nord Stream restart brings relief

Fry Electronics Team

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