HomeNewsEurope’s Energy Disaster Overtaking Fuel Disaster – Watts Up With That?

Europe’s Energy Disaster Overtaking Fuel Disaster – Watts Up With That?



By Paul Homewood

This newest evaluation from Timera dovetails with my piece on the damaged electrical energy market yesterday:

Europe’s energy disaster overtaking gasoline disaster

Europe is now dealing with a parallel gasoline & energy disaster. The affect of the rising value of gasoline driving up energy costs is effectively understood.  What’s receiving much less consideration is a quickly accelerating energy disaster which is driving a renewed surge in gasoline costs.

The geopolitics of Russian provide dynamics is at the moment dominating world headlines. The present battle has uncovered the extent of Europe’s dependence on low-cost hydrocarbons from a hostile neighbour. Russia slicing provide to Europe has been the first driver of the surge in gasoline costs throughout Europe in H1 2022.

Europe’s parallel energy disaster has gathered tempo throughout the summer season. That is being pushed by nuclear availability points, depleted hydro ranges & declining thermal output (each as a result of gas entry points & plant closures). Energy costs throughout Europe are surging to file ranges, now materially outstripping the rise in gasoline costs.

The value of TTF gasoline for 2023 supply closed final week above 237 €/MWh (70 $/mmbtu), up 120% for the reason that starting of July!  Energy costs rises throughout the identical interval had been far more aggressive. We’ve run out of adjectives to explain the tempo of this value surge.

Acute energy market tightness throughout Europe has been a key issue dragging up ahead gasoline costs throughout the final 6 weeks. Europe wants extra technology output to maintain the lights on and the one remaining choice is gasoline.

In right now’s article we have a look at the round pricing dynamics which are driving an upwards spiral of demand destruction in European gasoline & energy costs.

Ahead gasoline curve surge

We not often publish the identical chart in consecutive characteristic articles. Nonetheless to emphasize the size of the transfer up in gasoline costs throughout the summer season, Chart 1 is an replace of the chart we confirmed in July.

Chart 1: The surge in TTF ahead costs since early July

There may be numerous media consideration on the entrance of the TTF curve. Costs for Sep 22 supply are up round 35% since we printed this chart (inexperienced line vs darkish blue line).

Of far better consequence is the truth that the value for supply of gasoline throughout Calendar 2023 has risen 120% for the reason that begin of July. A pause to let that sink in… the already extraordinarily elevated value for supply of gasoline subsequent 12 months has greater than doubled within the final 6 weeks. And it’s the identical for Calendar 2024 (additionally greater than doubled).

These are seismic shifts within the power value base of the European financial system. They level to impending broad-based industrial demand destruction and a considerable enhance within the chance of administered gasoline rationing.

Europe’s rising energy disaster

The first issue driving rising European energy costs throughout the primary half of 2022 has been the surge in gasoline costs. CCGTs dominate marginal energy value setting throughout European energy markets. Because of this gasoline value rises circulate instantly into greater energy costs.

A separate European energy disaster has been gathering steam into the summer season. The drivers of behind this are:

  1. Very low French nuclear availability (EDF just lately scaled again its output steerage for 2023 to 300-330TWh and is now dealing with cooling points which are impacting an already weak 2022 availability)
  2. Traditionally low hydro storage ranges from Scandinavia to Iberia (given widespread drought circumstances)
  3. Thermal plant closures throughout Western Europe (throughout ageing coal, nuclear & gasoline crops)
  4. Gas provide logistics pushed by a mix of very low Rhine water ranges (e.g. impacting barge coal supply to German energy stations) & logistical points pushed by the Russian battle
  5. Durations of low wind & photo voltaic output the place the components above are driving a deficit in residual technology.

The mix of those components is pushing the facility disaster onto centre stage.

Energy disaster now driving the gasoline disaster

Europe is brief molecules of gasoline throughout the subsequent 3 years. Given lack of any materials provide response throughout this era (within the absence of a return to greater Russian flows), there are three demand facet discount choices to stability the market:

  1. Industrial demand (already dealing with destruction of ~15% up to now in 2022 as a result of greater costs)
  2. Energy sector demand
  3. Residential & business demand (the sector that governments are most certainly to attempt to shield in case of rationing).

Usually very excessive gasoline costs would incentivise lowered demand from the facility sector. However going ahead Europe is now brief electrons as effectively a molecules.  And the marginal supply of incremental electrons comes from burning molecules.

In different phrases to be able to preserve the lights on, Europe has no different however to burn extra gasoline, except for intervention to cut back energy demand which can even be coming.

A barometer for energy vs gasoline disaster influence

The market pricing barometer that greatest displays the severity of the facility vs gasoline disaster is the Clear Spark Unfold (CSS).  That is the unfold between energy costs and the variable technology value of CCGT crops (i.e. CCGT technology margins).  Chart 2 exhibits how a lot French CSS has exploded for the reason that begin of 2022 (a lot of this in latest weeks).

Chart 2: French ahead Baseload CSS in Jan 22 vs Aug 22

Supply: Timera Vitality, ICE

If CSS is rising it implies that energy value will increase are outstripping the fee move by way of of rising gasoline costs. This has been taking place in spades this summer season. It’s most acute within the French market however ahead CSS can be surging to file ranges throughout most European markets. Chart 3 exhibits CSS in France versus two different key markets: UK & Germany.

Chart 2: Ahead Baseload CSS in France vs UK vs Germany (18Aug22)

The UK & German ahead CSS ranges might look small relative to the French ones. Don’t be fooled… these are additionally at file ranges. For instance German Baseload CSS usually ranges from unfavourable ranges to low single digits vs greater than 80 €/MWh at the moment for Winter 2023.

CSS transmission and the liquidity problem

Ahead CSS is a key transmission mechanism that’s seeing rising energy costs drag up the TTF gasoline curve. As ahead CSS surges, it will increase the motivation for gasoline turbines to hedge ahead technology. This entails ahead promoting of energy and shopping for of gasoline (& carbon).

In different phrases fully rational technology hedging is bidding up the price of ahead gasoline in response to greater energy costs (& CSS).

Actions in each gasoline & energy costs are at the moment being exacerbated by very poor market liquidity. It is a operate of:

  1. Margin & collateral points that are constraining the flexibility of market gamers to commerce ahead
  2. Threat capability (e.g. VaR / restrict) points limiting ahead exposures.

In a market with bids spiralling greater, there’s little or no supply liquidity to dampen value rises. These circumstances are set to proceed to assist excessive value volatility. Market strikes are usually not solely in a single course. For instance any enhance in Russian provide would seemingly trigger ahead markets to hole decrease.

One key piece of data the market is trying to find is a few readability on the construction of coverage intervention e.g. within the type of rationing or auctioning industrial volumes.  This info is a key enter into making an attempt to quantify the volumes & pricing of required demand destruction to clear markets.

A good portion of present ahead energy & gasoline value ranges is pushed by threat premium reflecting this uncertainty. Markets are used to pricing electrons & molecules primarily based on provide facet flexibility, not demand facet destruction & intervention.

Excessive costs create excessive incentives for all power customers to chop demand. No matter type rationing takes, let’s hope it embraces market value indicators reasonably than making an attempt to dampen or cancel them.

There are a few take residence messages:

1) Lack of energy capability is driving up demand for gasoline, and due to this fact gasoline costs, which in fact drives up energy costs in flip.

2) Excessive gasoline costs look set to proceed for at the very least the subsequent three years.


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