European gas prices continue downward slide despite cold spell, nuclear concerns
European gas prices have continued to decline this week, despite a cold spell across northwest Europe and renewed concerns about French nuclear capacity.
The TTF front-month contract dropped to €42.3/MWh ($475/'000 m3) on March 8, from €43.4/MWh on the previous day. The NBP April contract in the UK meanwhile fell to £1.07/therm ($449/'000 m3). As of 08:26 GMT on March 9, the contracts had fallen further to €40.8/MWh and £1.04/therm respectively.
Prices did jump slightly earlier this week after the French nuclear safety authority told EDF on March 7 to review its programme for reactor checks after discovering another crack at a nuclear power plant. Outages have plagued France's large nuclear power plant fleet for much of the last year, with over half of reactors offline at some point in autumn because of repairs and maintenance. Meanwhile, the UK saw its coldest night this month since 2010.
Gas exports from the UK to Belgium were also temporarily halted this week because of equipment failure.
European gas prices have fallen steadily over the past two months thanks to ample LNG supply and unseasonably warm weather. EU scientists said on March 8 that this winter was Europe's second-warmest on record, exceeded only by the 2019-2020 winter. These factors have helped mitigate the impact of a drastic reduction in Russian gas supply to the continent.