European gas storages centres are full, meaning the coming cold snap should not affect prices too much EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW


European gas prices edge higher as outlook for cold snap deepens


European natural gas prices have edged higher as the intensity of a looming cold snap deepened, lifting demand for the heating fuel.

Benchmark futures added as much as 3.4 per cent on January 3, halting three days of declines. Sub-zero temperatures are forecast from Paris to Berlin next week, and colder conditions will linger until at least the middle of January, according to Maxar Technologies Inc. The forecaster increased its projection for the number of heating days.

Still, the impact of the freezing temperatures on gas balances will be limited as storage facilities are still fuller than usual and ample supplies are being delivered by both pipelines and tankers. Europe is widely expected to comfortably navigate through its second winter without much of Russian gas.

“In the absence of any supply shocks or demand surge, it is looking likely that European storage will finish the 2023/24 heating season around 50 per cent full, which suggests limited upside for prices,” ING Groep NV said in a note.

Dutch front-month futures, Europe’s gas benchmark, were up 2.6 per cent to €31.36 a megawatt-hour at 9:12 a.m. in Amsterdam.