No one knows the future, but, to answer the question in the title, it is pretty safe to say that the second half of gas summer 2022 would be nothing like the first one.
And given the developments under way on the European market, the coming months do not compare favourably with what happened across the region in Q2, in terms of volumes available to players.
Amid the influx of LNG supply to Europe together with mild weather conditions on the continent, record volumes of gas were accumulated in the storages between April and mid-June.
While at the beginning of injection season the region’s underground facilities were just 26.5pc full, this figure rose to 53.4pc as on 17 June.
In the second decade of June 2022, injection rates still exceeded previous averages for the time of year, but compared to the period May-early June 2022, the amount of gas pumped into the region’s underground facilities markedly decreased.
Due to a more than twofold decline in Nord Stream 1 flows, shippers injected less than 200 mcm/d between 13 and 17 June, a fall of about 20pc from 1 May-12 June levels.
With the reduction in Russian gas exports, seaborne cargoes can now be regarded as the key tool for balancing supply and demand in Europe.
It is LNG that will mainly determine how much gas is stored in the region’s reservoirs ahead of another winter heating season.
The number of LNG carriers arriving at European import terminals in turn will depend on Asia’s appetite for spot cargoes as well as on the availability of supply in the global market.
And it is not that these factors are currently playing in favour of Europe.
Additional LNG demand can be generated by Asian importers in Q3 as they need both to be prepared for the period of peak summer demand for electricity and to restock for the winter.
On the supply side, the shutdown of the Freeport LNG plant has resulted in a decrease of around 1.5 bcm per month in LNG global production.
What also lies ahead for the LNG market is the Atlantic hurricane season, which is expected to be an active one.
Source: Yakov Grabar (LinkedIn)