The promising prospects for sustained gas price reductions are in jeopardy. The weekend attack on Israel, combined with the unexplained gas pipeline accident between Finland and Estonia, is pushing the price up again for Europe.
Compared to last year’s extremes, this is still only a small fluctuation. However, the upward jump compared to last week is clearly visible. Gas on the Dutch TTF exchange, considered the main guide for the European market, rose by a third during Monday and Tuesday to a level close to 50 euros per megawatt hour. This is the highest price since April.
In line with gas, the price indices for electricity also turned around, although not so significantly yet. According to the Prague stock exchange PXE, electricity with delivery next year for the Czech market has become more expensive since last week from 117 to 126 euros per megawatt hour.
After Saturday’s events in Israel, the Israeli government ordered Chevron to close the Tamar subsea deposit. It is located 80 kilometers from the port of Haifa and is one of the two largest in Israeli waters. The reason for the closure is security concerns, i.e. the threat of an attack on the mining platform as an important element of the energy infrastructure.
Israel exports gas to Europe via Egypt. The outage of one of its two bearings is not fatal for the large European market, but there is a lack of clear news about how the conflict in Israel will continue to develop. According to the Bloomberg agency, the current situation was already marked by the fact that one of the ships transporting gas to Europe was delayed in Egypt.
At the same time, there is a lack of clear information about what happened to the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia. On Sunday, it experienced an unusual drop in pressure and a gas leak. Initial reports speak of intentional damage. Even a telecommunications cable laid in the sea parallel to the gas pipeline is not in order.
“It is likely that the damage to both the gas pipeline and the cable is the result of external activity,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in a press statement on Tuesday. Finland is a new member of NATO, and the statement also included the disturbing-sounding note that Niinistö had discussed the incident with the Alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, and that “NATO stands ready with an aid investigation.”
The Balticconnector is four years old and makes it possible to supply Finland from bearings in Latvia. But Finland also has backup routes, including new ports for the import of liquefied gas. For now, it is not clear how much repair the gas pipeline will need and how long the work will take. However, according to the Finnish authorities, the safety of the deliveries is ensured.