January-July German Gas Import Costs Rise 164% as Imports Fall 25.5%

Pipes from the landing facilities of the ‘Nord Stream 1’ gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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FRANKFURT, Sept 21 (Reuters) – German natural gas import costs rose 164% in the first seven months of 2022 from a year earlier, even as imports fell 25.5%, according to official monthly data released on Wednesday.

The July statistics from Germany’s foreign trade office BAFA are the fifth to reflect the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, and Western sanctions against what the Kremlin calls a “military operation special”.

Europe’s biggest economy was more dependent than many others in Europe on Russian gas, mainly supplied through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline which Russia shut down, blaming Western sanctions while European politicians say Russia is weaponizing the ‘energy.

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The pipeline from Norway, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Denmark as well as the suppliers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on board ships have started to play a more important role.

Energy traders are watching imports as supply and demand affect wholesale market prices and volumes, while the effects of supply shortages have also rippled through industry and are contributing to inflation and recessionary tendencies.

The gas data also correlates with coal, as the two compete in electricity generation, while also giving clues to the demand for mandatory European Union carbon emissions permits.

BAFA statistics, which are released with a two-month delay, showed imports from January to July at 2,282,849 terajoules (TJ), or 64.9 billion cubic meters (bcm), compared to 3,065,578 TJ a year earlier.

As supply disruptions propelled gas prices to record highs, Germany’s import bill rose to 38.3 billion euros ($37.86 billion) in the period seven months, compared to 14.5 billion euros in the same period of 2021, according to the data.

The average price paid at the border from January to July increased by 254.3% year on year to 16,784.17 euros/TJ, the BAFA said.

The July price alone of 28,811.16 euros, or 10.37 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), was more than five times that of July 2021 at 5,341.58 euros.

($1 = 1.0117 euros)

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Reporting by Vera Eckert; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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