Europe's outlook for gas supply is looking good for the coming winter given high gas reserves and plentiful access to supplies, Equinor CEO Anders Opedal told Reuters, but could tighten next summer due to lower reserves.
With European gas storages currently 85% full and rising, as well as good access to supplies of piped and shipped gas, the continent should be able to cope through the winter, said the head of Europe's largest gas provider.
"Europe will manage in terms of gas with through the winter. The big question is at what level will gas reserves end up in spring," Opedal said in an interview. Last winter they ended at about 60% of storage capacity due to warmer-than-normal weather in Europe and a mild winter in Asia, he added.
"If we get a normal winter in Europe and the need from industry does not change, and that there is good access to liquefied natural gas, then Europe gas storage will end up at 40% at the end of next winter - lower than this spring.
"This means that this will be a little tighter in terms of supply from next summer," he said, adding that that 40% could be even lower should Europe and Asia experience a colder-than-usual winter. Despite plentiful supply this winter, there could still be periods of price volatility if, for instance, there are disruptions in LNG supplies, which has tended to set the price for European gas, he said.
"There could be supply disruption, we have seen that with LNG and we could see high volatility (in prices)," he said. "It is a very nervous market out there." In coming years, the natural gas market would remain tight until the continent is ready to receive larger LNG volumes, Opedal told a news conference earlier.
(Reuters - Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)