By TARA PATEL
France urgently needs to import liquefied natural gas
to the southern port
of Fos after prices in the region rose to a record, the
energy regulator and gas distributor said.
As heating demand climbs amid cold weather, the difference in
gas prices between the southern and northern French markets
has widened to a record, the regulator Commission de
Regulation de lEnergie said in a statement. The gap is
a result of lower LNG supplies from Algeria and traders
preferring to send shipments to Asia, where prices have
risen, it said.
Frances energy regulator has warned of risks of tight
supply in the south of the country, where prices were already
pushed higher last year due to lower LNG
imports and bottlenecks in
getting piped gas from the north.
GRTgaz SA, the French gas pipeline operator controlled by GDF
Suez SA, was to raise capacity on its north-south link in a
bid to prevent price surges and volatility under a plan
announced earlier this year.
The gas market in southern France is facing major
tension at the start of winter, CRE said in its
statement. High volatility and low visibility
about how or when supply constraints will end are affecting
the southern market, it said.
Supply shortages in the southern French market, known as
Point dEchange de Gaz Sud, or PEG Sud, pushed the
difference in day-ahead gas prices with its northern
counterpart PEG Nord to a record 12.29 euros ($16.80) a
megawatt-hour on Dec. 3, the regulator said in its latest
statement. The month-ahead differential was 6.24 euros a
megawatt-hour, it said.
LNG imports to the Fos ports must be increased
quickly to limit use of stored natural gas
that may be needed
later in the season, GRTgaz said on its website last month.
More imports are also needed at Montoir in western France to
prevent trade imbalances with eastern regions supplied by
ports such as Dunkirk.
Gas storage in the PEG Sud hub was 76% full, down from 82% a
week earlier, according to data from Gas Infrastructure
Europe compiled by Bloomberg.
LNG prices have risen significantly in the past
weeks in Asia to the detriment of imports coming to the
European market, the regulator said in its latest statement.
for delivery to northeast Asia
was unchanged at $19/MMBtu this week after 12 weeks of gains,
according to assessments by World Gas Intelligence of cargoes
for delivery in four to eight weeks. That compares with
$13.80 in southwest Europe.
at the Algerian Port
of Skikda has also lowered imports to Mediterranean ports in
France and Spain, including Fos Cavaou and Fos Tonkin near
Marseille, the CRE said. Its unknown when
the infrastructure will function normally.