European natural gas prices jump on long Texas plant outage

EUROPEAN gas prices surged on Tuesday after a key natural gas export terminal in Texas said a full restart was months away following a fire this month that shuttered the facility.

Freeport LNG, which experienced a fire and explosion last week, said a partial resumption of activities was targeted for 90 days, but "a return to full plant operations is not expected until late 2022."

The company had previously signaled the plant would resume activities in three weeks. There were no injuries from the June 8 incident.

Europe's reference natural gas price, Dutch TTF, topped 100 euros (S$145.20) per megawatt/hour for the first time in nearly three weeks and was up 13.1 per cent at 99.295 euros near 1630 GMT.

By contrast, US natural gas prices tumbled 18.5 per cent on a glut of supply that will no longer be processed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and exported.

The terminal outage comes as European officials redouble efforts to boost imports from the United States and other market to minimise reliance on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

The loss of US natural gas imports will force European industrial users to increase orders for petroleum products, further straining an already tight market, said Robert Yawger, analyst at Mizuho Securities. "It's a mess," Yawger said. AFP

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