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 September 9, 2015 - 12:22 PM EDT
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Platts: Continental Power Retreats from July's Heatwave Highs

Natural Gas Prices Dip on Healthy LNG Supply

LONDON, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Continental European power prices eased in August on cooler temperatures and reduced industrial demand following July's heatwave, according to data released by Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information.

European power prices, according to the Platts Continental Power Index (CONTI)*, fell 11.5% to €33.06 per megawatt hour (MWh) compared to the July level of €37.35/MWh – but remained well above year-lows seen in May of €27.37/MWh, and of year-ago levels of €27.54/MWh.

Platts' regional analysis of European power and gas markets in August showed the following:

  • Germany: Improved nuclear availability and falling demand due to the summer holidays and lower temperatures more than offset a drop in wind output. Day-ahead prices averaged €31.59/MWh, down 11% on July but 10% above the August 2014 average. While wind output was down month over month, combined wind and solar production was still 18% above last year's level. Averaging 11.5 gigawatts (GW) each hour this August, wind and solar output has now surpassed that of nuclear production in Germany for eight straight months.
  • France: At €31.59/MWh, average day-ahead power prices in August were 16% down on July's €37.58/MWh as demand fell away on cooler temperatures and reduced industrial activity. Nuclear output was down on the month in August to 31.9 terawatt hours (TWh) from 33.2 TWh in July, partly due to environmental concerns at river-cooled nuclear reactors. Nuclear operator EDF announced outages at its Bugey, Saint-Alban and Tricastin nuclear power stations.
  • U.K.: The decline in prices in the U.K. was less marked with the average day-ahead price falling to GBP40.40/MWh in August, down from July's GBP41.83/MWh, on healthy renewables production, a bearish gas market and a slight drop in power demand. Year over year, U.K. day-ahead prices were 9% up in August.
  • U.K. gas: National Balancing Point (NBP) day-ahead gas prices averaged 39.778 pence per therm this August, more than 2% down on year. Continued strong liquefied natural gas sendout from the South Hook liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and an oil-driven sell off on the curve drove bearish momentum across the U.K. and other northwest European gas markets.
  • European gas: The amount of natural gas imports from the U.K. into continental Europe via the IUK gas link to Belgium neared a four-year high in August as NBP day-ahead prices fell at a faster rate than both the Belgian (ZEE) and Dutch (TTF) equivalents. Belgium imported a total of 1.240 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of gas from the U.K. through the Interconnector in August compared to 901 million cubic meters (cu m) from July and 527 million cu m from August 2014.

"Imports from the U.K. were the highest for a calendar month since October 2011 and were almost 50% higher than the five-year average of 843 million cubic meters," said Gary Hornby, Platts associate editor of gas.

"Further, gas deliveries from the Norwegian continental shelf to the Netherlands have been at record highs so far in Q3 with a reduction in production at the giant Groningen gas field in the Netherlands leading to more high-to-low calorific value gas conversion demand," Hornby said.

Production at the Groningen gas field in August fell 20.5% year on year to 1.75 Bcm. The fall was even more marked on a month-over-month basis, down 23.6%, in sharp contrast to the 3.8% output rise between July and August in 2014.

The August downturn came after a re-assessment of Groningen's output profile by operator NAM in the light of economic affairs minister Henk Kamp's decision in June to lower the 2015 Groningen field quota to 30 Bcm from 39.4 Bcm.

Platts Continental Europe and U.K. Day-Ahead Monthly Averages


Aug-15

Jul-15

Aug-14


CONTI (€/MWh)

33.06

37.35

27.54


TTF (€/MWh)

19.62

20.82

17.40


U.K. Power (£/MWh)

40.40

41.83

37.20


U.K. Gas (pence/therm)

39.78

43.35

40.64


Source: Platts





NOTE: All figures are monthly averages of daily day-ahead contract prices as assessed by Platts.

For more information on electric power or the methodology used by Platts in its power assessments, visit the Platts website www.platts.com.

* The Platts CONTI is a demand-weighted baseload average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Platts U.K. assessments reflect day-ahead contracts assessed for firm delivery of power on the high voltage network of England, Wales and Scotland, and at the National Balancing Point (NBP) for gas. The Platts assessments reflect prices as determined between buyer and seller in the open physical markets.

CONTACT
Global, Americas, Asia: Kathleen Tanzy, + 1 917 331 4607, kathleen.tanzy@platts.com

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets.  Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency.  Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the biofuels, carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, shipping and sugar markets.  A division of McGraw Hill Financial, Platts is based in London with more than 1000 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI) is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

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SOURCE Platts


Source: PR Newswire (September 9, 2015 - 12:22 PM EDT)

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