The other day Platts reported a "pre-alert" for natural gas withdrawals in Italy. Curious about what's going on, a google search led me to this from Bloomberg, posted today (full story is archived if link breaks):
Natural gas flows were set to recover in Europe after an explosion at an Austrian hub threatened supplies already pinched by a closed pipeline in the North Sea and a cold snap across the continent.
Oil company OMV AG, which controls the Baumgarten gas hub, managed to divert international transit pipelines so that flows to Italy, Germany and Hungary can resume before midnight local time, according to an emailed statement.
Natural gas and power prices earlier jumped in Europe after the explosion, and Brent crude oil futures rose above $65 a barrel for the first time since June 2015, extending their premium over the U.S. benchmark. Britain, which is struggling to absorb the impact of a crack that shut down a key North Sea pipeline network, saw some of the biggest increases.
A blast about 9 a.m. at the Baumgarten compressor station killed at least one person and injured at least 21 people, interrupting flows at one of the main points where Russian natural gas enters Europe.
That followed two days of snow in London and cooler-than-normal temperatures spread from the Alps to Scandinavia, which is raising demand for heating fuels.
“The European gas market seems to be going through a perfect storm,” Massimo Di-Odoardo, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in London.
Britain lacks the gas storage sites and web of interconnections that make most continental European markets better able to cope with disruption. Reduced pipeline gas flows may increase competition with Asia for liquefied natural gas cargoes this winter, according to WoodMac.
Front-month gas in Britain jumped as much as 23 percent to 73.7 pence a therm ($9.86 a million British thermal units) on ICE Futures Europe, the highest since December 2013.
The comparable U.K. power contract rose as much as 15 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. Same-day gas soared as much as 46 percent.The article continues with an update on Italian supply:
Baumgarten, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Vienna, transports the equivalent of a 10th of Europe’s gas demand.
Flows on the Trans Austria Gas pipeline, which carries Russian gas to Italy, are set to resume by midnight, Marco Alvera, the chief executive officer of gas transmission company Snam SpA, said in an emailed statement.
Italy, which relies on Russian flows for 30 percent of its demand, earlier declared a state of emergency for gas. OMV had initially said it would take “days” to fully restore the facility, roiling power and gas markets across the continent.Meanwhile, a global warming conference is being held in Paris. It turns out the international community can't "exist" without global warming money from the US. I can't make this stuff up.