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German gas imports fell 7% in Jan-Nov, bill jumped 78.5%

Germany imported 7% less natural gas in the period from January to November 2021 than a year earlier, but its bill rose 78.5% as prices surged, official data from trade statistics office BAFA showed.

Tight global supply sent prices spiralling last year, though they have recently come down due to the arrival of more seaborne cargoes and a relatively mild winter.

However, there is concern over when flows will arrive through the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, and about escalating tensions on the Russia/Ukraine border, which could disrupt or curtail shipments.

Traders of fuels and carbon monitor import statistics because the supply-and-demand balance can affect prices and traded volumes in related wholesale markets.

Gas statistics are also relevant to coal, which competes with gas in electricity generation, while also giving clues about demand for mandatory European carbon emissions permits.

BAFA’s monthly figures showed Germany’s imports in the first eleven months of last year totalled 4.546 million terajoules (TJ), equivalent to 129.3 billion cubic metres (bcm), compared with 4.888 million TJ a year earlier.

Importers’ bills over the 11 months came to 29.1 billion euros ($33 billion), versus 16.3 billion euros in the same period of 2020.

The average price paid per TJ on the border in the period was up 92% year-on-year at 6,392.53 euros, BAFA said.

In November alone, the price per TJ was 12,905.5 euros, equivalent to 4.65 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), up 217.5% year-on-year.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, mainly imports gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.

German gas stocks, which can hold three to four months’ worth of annual consumption, were at 45% of available capacity this week, down 9% on the year, gas infrastructure group GIE’s data showed.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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