Europe's natural gas crisis is going from 'bad' to 'ugly', according to Bank of America

·2-min read
gas flare from oil well tower in north dakota hills at sunset
Europe is facing a major energy crisis as Russia chokes off gas supply to the region.Andrew Cullen/Reuters
  • Europe's natural gas crisis is moving from a "bad" to "ugly" scenario, according to BofA.

  • A shortage of gas as Russia slashes flows could mean winter stockpiles could be insufficient.

  • Natural gas prices are likely to rise even higher, the bank added.

The European natural gas crisis is getting even worse, according to Bank of America.

In a Monday research note, the investment bank highlighted Russia's actions to limit supply to the region, adding that winter stockpiles could run low.

"The European gas situation is quickly moving from our 'bad' to our 'ugly' scenario in the past month," the bank said.

Russia has shaken energy markets since it invaded Ukraine and more recently jolted Europe after cutting supply of natural gas to the region. In July, Russia's state-run energy giant Gazprom slashed flows to just 20% along the Nord Stream pipeline, a week after it cut flows completely for a 10-day maintenance period.

Russia is Europe's largest individual energy supplier, and accounts for 40% of the region's natural gas consumption.

It's subsequently led countries such as Germany and France to find ways to plan on rationing gas supplies to build up inventory ahead of the colder months. Some cities in Germany for example, have been turning off spotlights on historic monuments and buildings to save energy.

"With Nord Stream 1 pipeline flows at 20% of capacity, storage builds into winter could be insufficient and the EU is now planning for widespread demand rationing. How did this happen?" Bank of America said.

Tensions between Russia and Europe have affected the wider energy market with natural gas futures prices near the 200 euro-per-megawatt-hour mark ($204), not far from 300 euros it reached in March. "As pessimism on Russian supplies grows, European nat gas spot and forward prices are settling into a higher range," Bank of America said.

It added: "Yet Russia's gas leverage is waning, so the country may decide to use it before it loses it. Key risks to TTF include weather, a ceasefire, and a reduction of subsidies to consumers."

Dutch TTF natural gas futures, the regional benchmark, have risen by almost 200% so far this year, compared with a doubling in UK and US prices in the same time.

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