On Friday, natural gas prices declined as European countries replenished their stockpiles, easing concerns over tight supply.
Futures tied to the commodity edged down 4.01% or 0.34 points to $7.97 per metric million British thermal units.
Accordingly, companies increased their fuel reserves to guard against any potential disruption from Russia, the continent’s top supplier. As a result, gas inventories have accelerated to near their seasonal levels after skidding to record lows over the winter.
Moreover, storage sites were almost 41.00% full, close to the 44.00% five-year average. The current level represented a gain of 33.00% at the beginning of the month. Then, ports anticipated ten more liquefied natural gas tankers at the end of the month.
Previously, European Union lawmakers and nations reached a deal to set a minimum LNG level before winter. In line with this, storage operators will have to retain a minimum 80.00% level before November. This policy would lead to a 90.00% jump for subsequent winters.
Meanwhile, the natural gas market remained worried as payment deadlines for Russian gas are fast approaching. Buyers now plan on how to pay for the fuel without breaching sanctions.
Initially, the Kremlin has already stopped supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. But then, Finland still rejected the order to pay in rubles.
Alternative supplies from Russian gas
Furthermore, firms currently make alternative arrangements to obtain natural gas supplies. For instance, Uniper, one of the largest Moscow gas importers, expanded its LNG portfolio. In addition, it procured additional volumes from various countries.
At the same time, Italian oil company Eni has secured supplies from Africa.
Eventually, experts anticipated Russian gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine to climb on orders. Nevertheless, the level is still lower than usual. Supplies from Nord Stream, the most extensive gas pipeline in Europe, remained stable.
Likewise, the US natural gas working stocks strengthened by 89.00 billion per cubic foot in the week ended May 13. This upturn resulted in 1.73 trillion per cubic foot, slightly narrowing the deficit.