Gazprom Likely to Lose Clients

Natural gas spot prices on European trading platforms started to fall, going further and further away from the prices in Gazprom long-term contracts. At present the spread already exceeds 80 dollars per 1 thousand cubic meters and it is entirely possible that it will be increasing till the end of the year. In such situation the Russian monopolist can be forced to bring down the prices, the experts say.

Beginning from the end of July gas spot prices in Europe started to go down considerably. On Thursday, August 11, the gas spot price on the most liquid trading platform – the British National Balancing Point (NBP) – fell to 308 dollars for 1 cubic meter. In the continental Europe on the French PEG Nord the gas price made up 323 dollars for 1 thousand cubic meter, on the Dutch TTF – 312 dollars.

A drop of gas prices is first and foremost connected with slumping demand. As RBC daily reported earlier, in the first half of the year looking forward to the rise of Gazprom contract prices European consumers increased gas purchase volumes considerably, as a result of which the filling level of their gas storages is now very high. Besides, there is a season factor – as a rule, in summer the demand on gas falls.

At the same time Gazprom prices are — on the contrary — steadily rising. According to the company’s estimate the weighted average gas price for export to non-CIS countries this year may comprise 402 dollars (according to the previous forecast it was 352 dollars for 1 thousand cubic meters). The company’s CEO Alexey Miller said earlier that by the end of the year the price in long-term contracts may reach 500 dollars for 1 thousand cubic meters.

It stands to reason that recently the European customers of Gazprom became more active in their demands to the company to bring down the gas price. As RBC daily reported earlier, after long attempts to come to an agreement RWE filed a request for arbitration in relation to the Russian monopolist to reconsider the gas price formula. Earlier Gazprom was sued by another German energy concern — E.ON.

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