Into the Maelstrom – LNG and European Natural Gas Outlook for the Week Ahead

Natural gas prices fell sharply again in Europe and the UK declining from the two-month high of €42 touched on June 15th but well above the two-year low Eur23.25/MWh on June 1. TTF closed the week at €33.48, a loss of 9.77%% for the week. UK gas prices also closed lower at 81.00 GBp/thm to close the week down 11.22%. LNG futures traded lower as did the US HH benchmark. Europe NG storage is at 78.8% of capacity. That is +25.1% vs 5yr avg. Surveys from Rystad Energy show Europe is likely to reach its target of 90% full gas storage by the start of November, easing concerns of shortages ahead of winter without Russian supplies.

Maintenance outages at Norwegian Nyhamna gas fields are expected to end halfway through July. Hot weather underpins demand and supported prices. Energy prices continue to be at the fore as Europe prepares by winter as we saw mentioned in both Bank of England and ECB meetings over the past weeks.

Norwegian Nyhamna processing facility

We have settled back after the move the prior week after the Netherlands talk it will close Groningen gas field, Europe’s biggest gas site a month earlier than expected. At the same time maintenance at the key Nyhamna gas processing facility was extended by more than three weeks until July 15. With that record trading on ICE added to the gas price volatility.

Other price catalysts are warm weather in much of Europe leading to higher demand for electricity and signs of increasing competition from Asia for liquefied natural gas (LNG) due to a heat wave in parts of Asia.

Power-sector gas demand has been weak. Strong renewable generation and weak overall power demand have weighed on gas-fired output, even with gas ahead of coal in the merit order Argus reported.

Dutch TTF Futures

Prices have bounced higher at month end with the first of two periods of heavy maintenance at Norwegian fields and processing facilities this summer begun, curtailing Norwegian production.

Dutch TTE Futures


June 2023 TTE futures were 91.94 on Aug 26, 2022. They are now 9.421. @Ronh999

Record TTF Futures and Options Volume

Commodity exchange operator ICE saw a new record number of TTF gas futures and options traded for a single day on June 15, an ICE spokesperson said June 16. A record 660,504 TTF futures and options contracts were traded June 15, including an all-time daily high for TTF futures of 575,970 contracts.

“TTF had another record volume day yesterday [June 15],” the spokesperson said.

The record trading on ICE comes amid renewed European gas price volatility. The TTF month-ahead price rose by more than 30% intraday on June 15, hitting a peak of almost Eur50/MWh before falling back.

Open interest in TTF futures and options is currently 2.88 million contracts, up by 48% year on year and by 79% since the start of 2023.

ICE announced that a record number of TTF natural gas futures and options traded during May 2023 as the market manages natural gas price risk exposure. A record 5.7 million TTF futures and options traded during May 2023, equivalent to a record 4,158 Terawatt hours.

Liquidity in ICE’s benchmark TTF market has grown strongly in 2023 with open interest up 37% year-over-year (y/y) at 2.6 million contracts, the highest level since January 2022. In addition, ICE is seeing record market participation in its TTF futures and options markets, with hedging out to December 2031.

“ICE TTF is the global benchmark for natural gas. The TTF futures market sends price signals which market participants rely upon to manage their global natural gas price exposure, as well as pricing the flow of natural gas in Europe,” said Gordon Bennett, Managing Director of Utility Markets at ICE. “The success of the TTF derivatives market in sending these critical price signals has helped Europe balance supply and demand for natural gas, as well as identifying and clearing infrastructure bottlenecks that were created due to the changing flows of natural gas caused by the material reduction of gas flowing from Russia.”

TTF to Northeast Asian (ANEA) LNG

As the TTF front-month price has fallen, it has moved to a discount to Argus’ northeast Asian (ANEA) LNG-delivered price for the same period, although the discount was still too small to cover the additional transport costs associated with sending an Atlantic-basin LNG cargo the longer journey to northeast Asia rather than Europe. The TTF front-month market first moved to a discount to the ANEA contract on 16 May, and has closed below it in the three most recent assessments.

Oscar Mahony – Argus

European Natural Gas Quick Look

LNG gas flow to NWE hits a record 356.7 mcm/d, with Norway supplying 341mcm/d and Russia in a distant third with just 64 mcm/d compared with 284mcm/d this time last year. via @ole_S_Hansen

Norway Gas to Europe

Concerns over Norwegian supply affect price movements in TFF futures.


  • Nyhamna processes gas from the Ormen Lange and Aasta Hansteen fields, which also remain shut in while the extended maintenance at the processing plant takes place.
  • Shell serves as the technical service provider for the Nyhamna plant, while Gassco is operator for the facility.
  • Nyhamna became operational in 2007 initially to process gas from Ormen Lange, with gas from Aasta Hansteen now also delivered via the Polarled pipeline into the facility.

Nyhamna was taken offline on May 19 for annual maintenance impacting all of its 80 million cu m/d of capacity. Maintenance at the key Nyhamna gas processing facility was extended by more than three weeks until July 15. It had been expected back on June 14, but the restart was pushed back first to June 21 and then to July 15.

Shell said that during the planned maintenance work at Nyhamna, gas formation with hydrogen was discovered during cleaning of a water-based cooling system in the process plant. All non-critical work at the facility was stopped and an investigation group established, Shell said.

Gas from the Dvalin field, currently also shut in will also feed into Nyhamna.

European Energy Crisis Watch

Natural gas prices had been held hostage to the restricted flow of Nord Stream from Russia and the hot weather sweeping the USA. The energy crisis pounding the world with unheard of prices was impacting the domestic pricing. In Europe we saw record highs again but since then prices collapsed from newly sourced supply and less severe weather coupled with collapsing industrial demand.

Threats to Europe “include potential outages in gas-exporting Norway, an economic rebound in China, and renewed competition for cargoes from southeast Asia if LNG prices keep falling could deplete Europe’s inventories, said Eugene Kim, a research director at energy-consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. In that scenario, “the onus to refill will be even higher,” he said.

Catalysts to watch:

  • Hotter or colder weather hitting demand.
  • Russia halting transfer.
  • German rationing
  • French nuclear power
  • Freeport LNG
  • Norway supply
  • Putin constant threats

Norwegian exports to Europe were nominated at just 226mn m³ for today, the lowest for any day since 8 June last year.

Daily Europe Natural Gas Inventory Watch

The European Union wants utilities to refill stockpiles during the summer injection season to 90% of capacity by Nov. 1. Gas stockpiles in northwestern Europe (Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands) were currently about 56% of capacity, about 63% above its five-year (2018-2022) average for this time of year, Refinitiv said.

Argus said this has lifted aggregate EU stocks to 745TWh, equating to 66pc of capacity, and well above the 473TWh a year earlier. The European stock build has picked up over the course of May, with net EU injections averaging 3.83 TWh/d on 13-21 May, up from 3.05 TWh/d earlier in the month and 1.58 TWh/d in April, according to the latest GIE transparency platform data.

Gas Infrastructure Europe – AGSI (

Daily EU NG inventory by year. Europe NG storage is at 78.8% of capacity. That is +25.1% vs 5yr avg.

Europe NG storage is at 76.9% of capacity. That is +27.3% vs 5yr avg. Since the turmoil after the Russian invasion prices have come down with storage build, warmer weather, wrecked economy meaning less energy demand.

Global LNG

In 2023, 4 new liquefied natural gas export projects will likely come online worldwide, with a combined capacity of 1.0 billion cubic feet per day, which will be the lowest since 2013.

Global liquefied natural gas trade volumes set a new record in 2022 – EIA

In 2022, global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) set a record high, averaging 51.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), a 5% increase compared with 2021, according to data by CEDIGAZ. Liquefaction capacity additions, primarily in the United States, drove growth in global LNG trade. At the same time, increased LNG demand in Europe also contributed to trade growth as LNG continued to displace pipeline natural gas imports from Russia. – EIA

LNG Exports

U.S. LNG exports in 2022 increased by 16% (1.4 Bcf/d) to 10.2 Bcf/d compared with 2021, the largest increase of all LNG-exporting countries. In the first half of 2022, after the new Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility was commissioned, the United States became the world’s top LNG exporter for the first time. However, because the Freeport LNG export terminal shut down, U.S. LNG exports declined in the second half of the year. In 2022, Qatar and Australia remained the top two global LNG exporters; Qatar’s exports averaged 10.5 Bcf/d, and Australia’s exports averaged 10.4 Bcf/d.

LNG exports increased by a combined 1.3 Bcf/d from Malaysia, Norway (after Hammerfest LNG returned to service in May), Trinidad and Tobago, Russia, Oman, and Equatorial Guinea. LNG exports from Algeria and Nigeria decreased by a combined 0.5 Bcf/d as both countries continued to experience issues with domestic natural gas production, which is used as a feedstock at LNG export facilities. – EIA

LNG Imports

In 2022 among LNG-importing regions, Europe (including Türkiye) had the largest increase in LNG imports globally, increasing by 65% (6.5 Bcf/d) compared with 2021. LNG imports declined by 9% (3.2 Bcf/d) in Asia and by 34% (0.8 Bcf/d) in Latin America compared with 2021.

Japan was the top LNG importer for 50 years, until China surpassed Japan in 2021. The following year, in 2022, Japan resumed its position as top LNG importer. The decline in China was due, in part, to its zero-COVID policies, increased imports by pipeline from Russia, and higher use of coal. Other Asian countries, particularly those that rely more on global LNG spot markets, reduced spot purchases because of record-high LNG prices last year. LNG imports into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh declined by a combined 18% (0.9 Bcf/d) in 2022 compared with 2021.

mong LNG-importing regions, Europe (including Türkiye) had the largest increase in LNG imports globally, increasing by 65% (6.5 Bcf/d) compared with 2021. LNG imports declined by 9% (3.2 Bcf/d) in Asia and by 34% (0.8 Bcf/d) in Latin America compared with 2021.

In Latin America, Brazil had the largest decrease in LNG imports—70% (0.6 Bcf/d)—mainly because the higher availability of electricity from hydropower generation reduced demand for natural gas-fired electricity generation in 2022 compared with 2021. – EIA

European LNG Imports

  • LNG plus Norwegian, Algerian, Azerbaijani pipeline imports compensate for Russian supply shortfall
  • Europe LNG processing operating at full capacity
  • Record shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe so far in 2022/23
  • LNG imports into EU-27 countries and the UK increased substantially in 2022—by 73% (6.3 Bcf/d) compared with 2021—replacing imports by pipeline from Russia.
  • Five countries—France, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium—increased LNG imports by a combined 5.4 Bcf/d, accounting for 85% of the total increase.

Sustained brisk LNG send out has bolstered available supply for injections. Aggregate European send out, including the UK was 4.89 TWh/d on 1-21 May, up from a three-year average of 3.61 TWh/d.

US LNG Exports

US natural gas exports (pipeline and LNG) in billion cubic feet per day (EIA) @staunovo

Natural Gas Feed to US Facilities

Sabine Pass, Cameron, Elba Island, Cove Point, Freeport & Corpus Christi combined.

Daily NG inflow to Freeport LNG.
EIA: Natural gas demand from the seven operating U.S. LNG export projects and three more that have reached FID and under construction

Biden Promises

On Friday March 25, 2022, from a EU/NATO meeting in Poland, the Biden administration and European Union (EU) leaders announced a new effort to ensure Western supplies of natural gas to the continent through 2022 and beyond. The United States and the EU now have a joint goal to send an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to EU countries in 2022, about 1.5 Bcf/d, with “expected increases going forward,” according to the White House.

U.S. exporters have little room to ramp up more in the near term, and Western governments do not have the power to order private companies in the LNG market to direct shipments to Europe.


European Natural Gas Demand

EU’s largest gas consumption:

  • Households 37% of total demand,
  • Electricity and heat generation around 30%
  • Industrial consumption around 30%

Demand switching and destruction across Europe, overall gas demand down more than 19% in May on 5-yr avg @ICISOfficial data show.

EU implements voluntary 15% cut to consumption.

Products which are most exposed to energy and gas prices in Europe as a feedstock or utility via ICIS Margin Analytics

In April, savings were 10% below ave. @ICISOfficial data show.

  • EU only -18%
  • DE -21%
  • GB -24%
  • IT -11%
  • NL -29%
  • FR -23%
  • ES -5%

Not temp adjusted.

With Germany the epicenter of Russian gas bans the real threat of demand destruction is plain for all to see. Germany’s trade balance came in at minus €1bn in May 2022, which is the first negative print since 1991 due to its energy problems & weakness in manufacturing.

Energy Price Matrice Performance

Weekly Energy Markets Performance

The volatility of natural gas prices is legendary in the future’s world. Henry Hub was the worst performing future in the first quarter of 2023. In the second quarter of 2023 it was the best performing future.

  • Natural-gas prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 53% in the first three months of the year and fell to their lowest finish in about two-and-a-half years earlier in March.
  • Natural-gas prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 31.89% in the second three months of the year.
  • For the first six months of the year it is still the worse performing future for 2023, down 37.99%.

Moving forward weather, ETF speculation and the strength of LNG demand will determine U.S. natural-gas prices. Remember natural gas prices are majority affected by domestic actions, for the US the variance is exports, that is Mexican pipelines, Canadian imports and LNG exports.

Russian Gas

  • All that is left of Russian gas flows to Europe is one operating point in Ukraine via Sudzha.
  • TurkStream the only other pipeline still in operation supplies gas to Russia ‘friendly’ nations
  • Nord Stream I and II pipelines damaged by explosions, zero flows to Europe
  • LNG plus Norwegian, Algerian, Azerbaijani pipeline imports compensate for Russian supply shortfall

Europe has historically depended for close to 40% of its annual gas consumption on Russian supplies, imported via four routes – Ukraine, Belarus-Poland as well as the Nord Stream 1 and TurkStream corridors linking Russia to Germany and Turkey via the Baltic and Black Sea, respectively.

Overall Russian pipeline supplies were limited throughout 2021 and further reduced in 2022. By the end of last year Russian pipeline supplies fell to less than 10% of Europe’s total gas imports compared to 40% in the previous year.

Russian volumes shipped through Ukraine to Europe are now at third of what they should be as part of a five-year transit agreement

Russia has banned exports of gas to several EU countries, and the Nord Stream I and II pipelines have been damaged. In 2022 flows via Yamal and Nord Stream 1 stopped completely.

European petrochemicals players faced even higher gas prices as a result, though these have since collapsed to pre-war levels. Fertilizer companies – where gas can account for 80% of costs – have been forced to curtail production. Chemicals were affected, especially those with high exposure to gas prices through utilities or feedstocks. Via ICIS

Europe’s dependence on Russia’s gas in one map via @michaeltanchum

Russia stopped publishing total gas production numbers in August. At that point, YTD output was down 171 Mcm/d. However, in Q3 it was down a whopping 380 Mcm/d. By comparison, Gazprom alone is down 214 Mcm/d YTD, which hints at smaller producers having more trouble @ira_joseph

  ++Charts via KnovaWave @knovawave RonH @RonH999 – Visit Ron for daily updates 

Sources: TradersCommunity, EIA, RonH Energy, KnovaWave, Argus, ICIS

From The TradersCommunity US Research Desk