Russian gas supply and the European gas price surge; unlikely to save the day this winter
With global gas markets, particularly in Europe, under intense pressure, observers are looking to Russia to again become the unlimited supplier of last resort. However, Russia faces its own supply, demand, and export pressures.
- Availability of gas for export has been unusually tight recently. Gazprom's typical summer cushion of spare capacity has been significantly lower than normal this year owing to high domestic storage refill requirements after a cold winter.
- Yet spare capacity remained through much of the summer. Apart from August, when Gazprom may have been producing at maximum available capacity after an accident at a gas condensate processing plant, it does seem to have still held some spare capacity.
- Are supply constraints possible this coming winter? This winter, Gazprom's spare productive capacity could fall to low levels or even to zero, depending on weather, raising the prospect of an unusual "involuntary" upstream constraint on Russian piped gas exports.
- Gazprom has supplied its export contractual volumes, but no more. Although Gazprom appears to have met all its contractual commitments throughout 2021, it has not taken advantage of high prices to sell additional gas (for instance, through auctions on its Electronic Sales Platform [ESP]), nor has it been refilling its storage capacity within the European Union.
Gazprom's projected supply and demand balance in December 2021
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