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Dutch industrial gas use down by nearly 100 GWh/d

25 Jan 2022 16:25 GMT
Dutch industrial gas use down by nearly 100 GWh/d

Hamburg, 25 January (Argus) — The Netherlands' industrial gas demand in the first two weeks of 2022 was almost 100 GWh/d lower than a year earlier, as companies may have continued to limit production in response to high prices.

Combined industrial gas use was about 874TJ — equivalent to about 243 GWh/d — on 3-16 January, the first two full weeks of the new year, data from statistics office CBS Statline show. This was down from 339 GWh/d in weeks 1 and 2 of 2021.

The data include consumption from large industrial consumers connected directly to the national transmission system but excludes power plants.

Industrial demand fell to just 229 GWh/d on 27 December-2 January, the lowest for any week since at least the start of 2019. This may have been partly because of reduced economic activity following the Christmas holidays and over the New Year holiday period. But the decline at the end of 2021 compared with earlier in December was much more pronounced than in previous years.

A renewed rally in European gas hub prices in mid-December may have resulted in some companies continuing to minimise or again turning down production.

Some firms, such as fertilizer producers Yara and OCI, turned down production at their Dutch sites in autumn in response to high gas prices. Yara in early December said most of its ammonia production, including that in the Netherlands, was "back on stream or preparing to start up". But this was before gas hub prices climbed to fresh historic highs in mid-December in response to low storage inventories, slow Russian deliveries to Europe and French nuclear shutdowns.

Gas prices slipped considerably in late December-early January because of a flurry of LNG tankers turning towards Europe where prices had opened wide premiums to traditional LNG premium markets in northeast Asia. But OCI was still running only one of its two ammonia units at Geleen in mid-January because of high gas prices and other producers may have also reduced output.

And while gas use in the chemicals industry — the sector with by far the largest gas consumption — showed signs of recovery in early December, this has stalled in recent weeks.

The sector's gas consumption of 125 GWh/d in the first two weeks of this year was still well above the lows of just over 100 GWh/d that it reached in mid-October, but was considerably below the 137 GWh/d it had reached by mid-December. And it was 35 GWh/d lower than the 160 GWh/d registered in weeks 1 and 2 last year.

Gas use by the petroleum industry — which in recent months has fallen the most in percentage terms — has continued to slide. The sector's consumption of 16 GWh/d in the first two weeks of this year was only just over a third of the 47 GWh/d in weeks 1 and 2 last year.

Dutch industrial gas use by week GWh/d