Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Natural gas flow between Germany and Poland through the Yamal-Europe pipeline has been and remains reversed since 21 December last year.
According to German operator Gascade, the flow remained reversed today, with gas flowing from Germany to Poland, a situation that has been stable throughout this week, Reuters reports.
Reversed flow adds to the pressure for increased natural gas prices in Europe.
The flow from Germany to Poland exceeded 1.5 million kWh/h on Friday morning as measured at the Mallnow metering station, with Gascade pointing out that it expects demand and therefore bids to stay above 1.5 million kWh/h through Friday.
The Yamal-Europe pipeline usually accounts for roughly 15% of Russia’s natural gas export to Europe.
The Russian energy giant Gazprom has not booked any transit capacity for February, although it can book capacity at daily auctions. Moreover, the company did not book any pipeline capacity for Q2 and Q3 at the quarterly auction held earlier this week.
Prices peaked in December
Benchmark gas prices in Europe reached a record-high of 184.95 euro per MWh at the end of December last year, which was when gas flow through the Yamal-Europe pipeline reversed.
Some Western countries have accused Moscow of abusing its position as Europe’s largest supplier, claiming that Russia is driving up prices by withholding gas and that the move is aimed at pressuring the EU and Germany to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The completed but as yet unapproved pipeline connects Russia and Germany, and would double Russia’s export capacity under the Baltic Sea.
Pointing out that Gazprom is fulfilling all of its long-term contracts, Moscow steadfastly rejects the accusations. It asserted that reversed flow through the pipeline goes to show that buyers prefer natural gas from storages in Germany and elsewhere to the more expensive Russian gas supplied via the pipeline.
This preference is reflected in the fact that natural gas storage levels in Europe have dropped below the five-year average as a result.
Gas flow from Ukraine to Slovakia dropped at the Veľké Kapušany border point from 326,605 MWh on Thursday to 282,761 MWh on Friday, reaching the lowest level since January 3. Flow via that route reached its highest level this year of 850,143 MWh in early February.