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EU energy bills set to push new highs in 2022

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Relevance up to 13:00 2022-01-16 UTC+00

On Friday morning, natural gas futures gained 10%, reaching $1,100 per 1,000 m3. Early into the European session, the price of February NYMEX natural gas futures declined to $4,182 per million Btu.

European natural gas prices began to increase in spring 2021, when TTF neutral gas price index was at $250-300 per 1,000 m3. Spot prices surpassed $600 in August and $1,000 in October, eventually peaking at $2,190 on December 21, 2021, after increasing twofold during the day. Afterwards, January futures declined to $1,020 around New Year’s Eve.

The natural gas crunch sent prices to the highest levels since gas hubs were established in 1996, leading to record high power bills across the EU.

According to Citigroup, using current forward prices, the region’s total primary energy bill will come in at about $1 trillion – the highest bill over the last decade. Previous price spikes were triggered by growing oil prices. This would affect heating and power supply of all consumers, from households to industries trying to reduce their carbon emissions.

The EU’s gas stockpiles are at their lowest levels in 10 years. Europe’s natural gas production is predicted to decline by 50% in 2040 compared to 2010, reaching 130 billion m3 and accounting for only 2.5% of the world’s total supply. Currently, the EU produces about 7% of the world’s natural gas.

Gas production is expected to decline by 50 billion m3 in Norway, which currently produces more than half of Europe’s domestic supply, and by 35 billion m3 in the Netherlands.

European gas imports could rise to more than 430 billion m3 in the next 20 years, as European nations strive to shift away from coal to renewable energy sources. Natural gas remains the most suitable energy source due to low winds limiting the output of wind power plants.

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