Gas companies will lower their prices for consumers in January and expect prices to stay stable for the first few months of 2024.
Eesti Gaas and Alexela are currently charging customers 75 cents per cubic meter, but the price will drop to 60 and 59.5 cents respectively at the start of the new year. This is the same level as at the start of November.
Margus Kaasik, Eesti Gaas board chairman, said the gas market experienced some turbulence in October after Hamas attacked Israel, which caused prices to rise. "Now in November, energy market concerns have eased and prices have normalized," he said.
TTF futures prices on the Dutch gas exchange have fallen to around €40 per megawatt hour, which is approximately €10 lower than in October. Kaasik said this allows prices to drop.
He said winter prices were expected to be approximately €50 per megawatt-hour. But mild weather has been forecast for Europe this winter and countries stockpiled gas in advance.
"It looks like this winter will be rather more favorable than previously predicted," he said.
Kalvi Nõu, portfolio manager of Alexela's energy trade, said, broadly speaking, the drop in domestic prices has been caused by the global market and low demand in Europe.
LNG supplies are on track, gas storage centers are still full, and previous risks have not materialized. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not led to any major disruptions in gas supplies to date, he said.
Nõu said prices may remain steady throughout the winter. "Again, this is very dependent on price and other market factors," he said.
Prices are already significantly lower than last year, Kaasik said.
Consumption slowly recovering
Due to last year's high gas prices, consumers sought alternatives to gas. In the Baltics and Finland, consumption decreased by approximately a third.
Kaasik said gas was partially replaced with other fuels or customers turned the heating down.
So far, consumption has only partially recovered. Finns have switched back to gas faster than the Baltics.
"The weather is relatively cool at the moment, which in itself increases gas consumption. In comparable terms, it is still lower than before," said Kaasik.
If the TTF price remains at the current level, the price for home consumers may remain at approximately 60 cents.
Kaasik said prices could fall further if world market prices also drop.
Nõu said that there are no concerns about the security of supply in the Baltics, as Latvia's gas storage is approximately 90 percent full. This is enough to survive the winter regardless of how cold the temperature falls.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright