British gas prices edged mostly higher early on Wednesday in response to a surge in heating demand coupled with an undersupplied transmission system and higher crude oil prices.
Gas for next-day delivery rose 0.20 pence per therm to 29.70 p/therm by 0854 GMT, while the month-ahead gas contract jumped 0.28 p/therm higher at 29.30 p/therm.
Britain’s transmission network faced a 2.4 million cubic metre/day (mcm/day) supply shortfall as people used more gas to stay warm, with demand estimated at 215.4 mcm/day and supply at 213 mcm/day, according to National Grid data.
Only the within-day gas contract bucked the trend and eased lower, trading down 0.25 p/therm at 29.90 p/therm.
Britain’s biggest gas storage site, Rough, ceased restocking reserves on Wednesday in line with a planned maintenance outage due to last until May 30 which dented demand on wholesale gas markets.
“Demand from gas fired generation has risen however, with an additional 10 mcm of (residential) consumption keeping total demand largely steady,” Marcel Boonaert, head of trading and portfolio at Wingas UK, said.
Norwegian imports through Langeled, a major gas import route for the UK, dipped slightly to 32 mcm/day and the South Hook liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal pumped around 37 mcm/day – roughly in line with Tuesday’s levels.
Domestic gas output rose on the back of high flows from the Teesside PX terminal after it resumed operations fully following a possible outage on Tuesday when output dropped to zero.
Teesside PX pumped 7 mcm after hitting highs of 9 mcm earlier.
The Winter ’16 gas contract was up 0.45 pence at 35.35 pence per therm.
Brent futures rose towards $50 a barrel for the first time in seven months driven by expectations that shrinking supply will help to reduce any supply overhang.
In the Netherlands, the day-ahead gas price at the TTF hub gained 0.06 euro to 13.08 euros per megawatt-hour.
In Europe’s carbon market, the front-year EU allowance rose 3 cents to 5.83 euros per tonne.