Price of natural gas sets new record

The Estonian end of the Balticconnector gas pipeline in Paldiski.
The Estonian end of the Balticconnector gas pipeline in Paldiski. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The price of natural gas hit €339 per megawatt-hour last Friday, which is a new record, Eesti Energia said in its energy market overview.

The previous record of €261/MWh was broken this Friday when the market price hit €339/MWh.

The high price of gas will hike the price of electricity generated by gas-powered plants that will affect peak prices, as gas power plants are utilized on the exchange once cheaper alternatives have been exhausted, Olavi Miller, Eesti Energia market analysis strategist, said.

Not all gas-powered plants participate in daily generation, partly because it is expensive and partly to save gas for the winter, he added.

On top of this, several power plants in Estonia and elsewhere are undergoing maintenance work.

The Baltic Power Plant's 11th block underwent scheduled maintenance last week and will come back online on September 6. Blocks 3, 4, and 6 of the Estonia Power Plant were also out of commission, as was the new Auvere plant that came back up on Sunday.

Scheduled work will be completed this week in blocks 4 and 8 of the Estonia Power Plant, with block 5 coming online next week. Block 3 of the Estonia Power Plant will undergo scheduled maintenance from the end of this week until October.

Price of gas to go up even more

Miller said that market experts forecast even higher prices for the fall as Gazprom will be halting Nord Stream 1 deliveries between August 31 and September 2. Even though Gazprom has promised to restore deliveries provided there are no technical issues, the markets perceive the risk of further supply disruptions. The NS1 is currently working at just 20 percent capacity, delivering 33 million cubic meters a day.

At the same time, the Russian gas giant is burning colossal amounts of gas in a compressor station in Portovaya near the Finnish border as all Russian gas tanks are full.

Miller said that market participants fear NS1 failing to bring gas to Europe would spell serious trouble for electricity generation in Europe. German power futures for 2023 hit €985/MWh on Friday, with the French futures closing at €1,130/MWh.

"These are extreme prices that could affect the price in our region if they remain high," Miller suggested.

Gas stockpiles are the most critical in the Baltic region, with the Incukalns storage facility in Latvia, used to store gas for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, holding just 55 percent of its capacity.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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