"Gazprom" is confidently moving to a new absolute export record - according to Kommersant's information, the monopoly expects to export 185 billion cubic meters of gas abroad by the end of the year. The main competitors of Gazprom in the European market - Norway, Algeria and suppliers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) - are also increasing their supplies, but at a slower pace. As a result, in the first half of the year, according to Kommersant estimates, the share of Russian gas in EU consumption increased to 30.7%. Nevertheless, a sharp reduction in the "Asian premium" may lead to the redirection of part of LNG from Asia to Europe, which will complicate Gazprom's holding of market share.
Gazprom again reported on the growth of exports - supplies to non-CIS countries (EU minus the Baltic States plus Turkey) from the beginning of the year to August 15 increased by 12.7 billion cubic meters (12%), reaching 118.3 billion cubic meters. According to Kommersant sources, now the forecast for exports to non-CIS countries by the end of the year is 185 billion cubic meters of gas (up to now, Gazprom has spoken about 180 billion cubic meters). This is a new historical record of the monopoly after last year's also, incidentally, an unprecedented 179.3 billion cubic meters.
The reason for the rapid growth in supply is the weather factor (cold winter and hot summer), which led to increased use of gas both directly and in electricity generation, and in some economic growth in Europe. So, according to Gazprom Export estimates, in the first half of the year, gas demand in the far-abroad countries grew by 5.4%, to 296.3 billion cubic meters. Including because of the weather demand increased by 4.7 billion cubic meters, and in the energy sector - by 5.3 billion cubic meters. Gas continues to win competition with coal, particularly in the UK due to additional payments for CO2 emissions in the first half of the year, the share of gas in the production of electricity from fossil fuels reached a record 94.1%.
In Germany, where there are no additional payments for emissions, coal is still more efficient, because of which only the most efficient gas thermal power plants are loaded.
Almost all the key competitors of Gazprom - Norway, Algeria and LNG suppliers - are also increasing their supplies, but at a slower pace. So, Norway, producing record volumes of gas for itself, increased deliveries in the first half of the year by 2%, to 65.8 billion cubic meters. Algeria increased its supplies to Europe by 6.9%, to 26.3 billion cubic meters. In general, LNG imports to Europe increased by 11.3%, to 32 billion cubic meters, including 1.1 billion cubic meters from the US. In the first half of the year, Gazprom delivered 95.8 billion cubic meters of gas to the European market (including Turkey) (an increase of 12.5%). The company's share in gas consumption in the EU as a result increased by 1.9 percentage points, to 30.7%.
At the same time, some major suppliers have reduced supply. So, the largest on the LNG Qatar market redirected volumes to Asia, due to which shipments to Europe decreased by 10.2%, to 12 billion cubic meters. The Netherlands, in turn, continues to suffer from a restriction of production at Groningen, because of which supplies from this country fell by 11%, to 21.5 billion cubic meters.
The low level of stocks in European storage facilities, caused by the cold winter, leaves Gazprom with opportunities to maintain high export rates. Nevertheless, competition is gradually escalating - LNG supplies to Europe in the first half of the year exceeded the level of the last three years and are approaching the indicators of 2012. This is due to the reduction in the "Asian premium" (the excess of gas prices in Asia over prices in Europe), which has been on the market for the last ten years, but has now fallen to less than $ 1 per MMBTU.
Traditionally, the presence of the award led to the redirection of LNG to Asia, but now it is already unprofitable for suppliers from the Atlantic basin. The increase in LNG production in the USA, as well as the further reduction of the "Asian premium" (for example, as a result of the introduction of a part of nuclear reactors in Japan, disconnected in 2011 after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant), may lead to the return of some LNG volumes to Europe and aggravation of competition With Russian gas at the beginning of next year.