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Europe’s mild winter leaves gas stocks at record high

(EurActiv, 8 Mar 2024) Europe is on track to end the winter with a record volume of gas in storage, which has pushed futures prices back to pre-crisis levels once inflation is taken into account.

The supply picture has been transformed from two years ago, when traders and policymakers were worried about possible gas shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Storage facilities across the European Union and the United Kingdom were 62% full on 5 March compared with an average of 41% full on the same date between 2011 and 2020.

Inventories amounted to 707 terawatt-hours (TWh), which was 277 TWh (+64% or +2.14 standard deviations) above the prior ten-year seasonal average.

The surplus had swelled from 167 TWh (+18% or +1.70 standard deviations) at the start of the winter heating season on 1 October.

Winter 2023/24 has mostly been characterised by a strong positive North Atlantic Oscillation, directing strong westerly winds from across the Atlantic into Northwest Europe.

Pressure differentials between the Greenland-Iceland low-pressure area and the Bermuda-Azores high-pressure area have been greater than normal, accelerating warm, moist air into Northwest Europe.

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EurActiv, 8 Mar 2024: Europe’s mild winter leaves gas stocks at record high