LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Dutch wholesale gas prices rose on Thursday after a French trade union called for extending strikes to the whole energy sector, triggering concerns of disruptions, while the market awaits European Commission regulatory decisions to curb high prices.
Meanwhile, British gas prices eased following a brief rise after Norwegian police said an incident on Thursday at the Nyhamna plant processing gas from the giant Ormen Lange field had been resolved.
The Nordic country is now Europe’s largest gas supplier.
The benchmark front-month Dutch contract was up 2.5 euros at 160.50 euros per megawatt/hour (EUR/MWh) by 0851 GMT. The contract for December delivery rose by 5.6 euros to 178.15 EUR/MWh.
British day-ahead contract fell by 7.20 pence to 168 pence per therm, while the within-day contract was 4.5 pence lower at 172.50 pence/therm.
“The market is responding to some bullish news on Norway responding to some unknown incident and France (trade union) expanding strikes to all energy companies. The question is for how long?,” a European gas trader said.
“We expect the market to remain sideways unless infrastructure is actually in threat.”
The FNME-CGT trade union, in the heart of the weeks-long strike in refineries and depots disrupting petrol supply in France, called on Thursday for the industrial action to be extended to the energy sector as a whole. Alongside ongoing strikes at refineries and petrol storage sites, walkouts were also underway, it said, at five of EDF’s EDF.PA nuclear reactors, while an Engie ENGIE.PA gas storage facility also remained on strike.
Norwegian police said an incident on Thursday at the Nyhamna plant processing gas from the giant Ormen Lange field had been resolved, after responding to what they called an “unclear situation”.
The Norwegian military Home Guard has been guarding the facility since authorities boosted security at Norwegian oil and gas installations in the wake of explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines on Sept. 26.
Engie’s EnergyScan analysts said the market is in a wait-and-see situation, as the European Commission will unveil proposals on Oct. 18 to launch joint gas buying within months and develop an alternative gas price benchmark.
However, it was unclear whether the package would include a gas price cap.
“The fact that the EU can’t agree on anything concrete and we are still seeing threats of blackouts and see more demand reduction needed (means that) when we start to get colder weather and consumption picks up a bit, we will see higher prices again,” the European trader said.
In the UK, the gas system was 21.3 oversupplied, according to National grid Data.
Peak wind generation was forecast at nearly 7 gigawatts (GW) on Thursday and 7.7 GW on Friday, Elexon data showed, out of total metered capacity of around 20 GW.
In the European carbon market, the benchmark contract was 0.49 euro higher at 67.18 euros a tonne.
(Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Neha Arora)