European gas prices surged above €100 per megawatt hour on Thursday because of fresh uncertainties over the flow of gas from Russia to Europe.
The concerns reflected Moscow’s imposition of sanctions on key gas companies of which Berlin has seized control and disruption to a gas pipeline through Ukraine.
Future contracts linked to TTF, the European wholesale gas price benchmark, jumped more than 12 per cent to €106 per megawatt hour, up from about €90 per megawatt hour earlier in the week as Russian gas supply to the continent came under a host of new threats.
Late on Wednesday, the Kremlin put sanctions on Gazprom Germania, a set of companies formerly held by Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas company, that Berlin took over last month. The new legislation prevents Russian entities from selling gas or transacting with a number of Gazprom Germania companies.
Astora, one of its subsidiaries, is one of the biggest holders of underground gas storage in Germany and Wingas, WIEH and WIEE, which also fall under Moscow’s sanctions, are distributors of gas in Germany that make large transactions with Gazprom.
The German government is yet to outline the impact that the sanctions may have on gas supplies. Andrei Belyi, a gas consultant at Estonia-based Balesene, said that the Russian state had “increased the level of uncertainty for European buyers and consumers”.
That came after the Ukrainian pipeline operator a day earlier shut down the flow of gas through one of the two major pipelines that bring Russian gas across the country to Europe.
Gas traders have been focused for weeks on a new rouble payment mechanism demanded by Russia, which has led Poland and Bulgaria to be cut off from Russian gas. The row could flare up again later in May when payments are due from more European buyers.
As a result of the uncertainty over Russian gas supplies, prices for German power next year on Thursday hit their highest level in the year to date at €227.75 per megawatt hour, according to Refinitiv. Electricity prices tend to follow gas prices higher.