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European Power Prices Dip, but Maintenance Season Offers Support
LONDON, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Day-ahead natural gas prices in the U.K. and continental Europe fell to multi-year lows in May as demand slumped by 12%, according to data just released by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider.
U.K. day-ahead natural gas prices were down 9% month over month and down 31% year over year. Day-ahead natural gas prices on the Dutch TTF – continental Europe's most liquid natural gas trading hub – were down 6% month over month and 29% year over year.
European natural gas demand in Platts' sample of the U.K., Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and France fell 9% from April's 16.3 billion cubic meters (Bcm) to May's 14.9 Bcm. On a yearly comparison, demand for the sample markets in May was down 12% from 16.9 Bcm in May 2013.
"Demand continues to trend lower this year due to mild temperatures, the growth in renewable energy production and low levels of gas storage injection," said Alex Froley, Platts energy analyst.
At the U.K.'s National Balancing Point hub, contracts for prompt delivery were at their lowest since September 2010 given steady Qatari liquefied natural gas deliveries and no discernible price impact from Norwegian gas infrastructure maintenance and on-going talks between Russia and Ukraine on unpaid gas bills."
Elsewhere, in the electricity markets, Platts Continental Europe Power Index* (CONTI) fell 4.47% in May to €32.72 per megawatt hour (/MWh) on weak demand and excess renewables' production, which is given priority access to networks ahead of conventional generation. This compared to €34.25/MWh in April and was down nearly 8% from the same period a year ago.
Bucking the trend was Germany, where day-ahead power prices averaged €31.26/MWh in May as nuclear output dropped. This was the first month-over-month price increase in 2014.
"The significance of a small price rise in May should not be over-estimated," said Platts Markets Editor of European Power DailyDarren Stetzel. The price of German power for prompt delivery fell almost 20% in the first quarter of 2014, the Platts data showed, and European generators continue to book economic losses as a result of sub-cost wholesale markets, he explained.
"An indication of today's excess supply can be found in Belgium," Stetzel said. "Last year the unexpected outage of 2 gigawatts of nuclear capacity triggered a spike in Belgian prices, but this year, after a similar outage, prices fell in May, by 8% versus April and by 24% year over year."
In the U.K., the average price of day-ahead baseload power in May was down 3% from April and down 17% from year-ago prices on the back of lower natural gas prices. The price of power in the U.K. has a close correlation with that of natural gas because of the multitude of combined cycle gas turbine power stations in the country.
Platts Continental Europe and U.K. Day-Ahead Monthly Averages
U.K. Power (£/MWh)
U.K. Gas (pence/therm)
NOTE: All figures are monthly averages of daily day-ahead contract prices as assessed by Platts.
*Platts Continental Europe Power Index (CONTI) is a demand-weighted baseload average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Platts U.K. assessments reflect day-ahead contracts assessed for firm delivery of power on the high voltage network of England, Wales and Scotland, and at the National Balancing Point for gas. The Platts assessments reflect prices as determined between buyer and seller in the open physical markets.
About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 180 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the biofuels, carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, shipping and sugar markets. A division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), Platts is based in London with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.
About McGraw Hill Financial: McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI), a financial intelligence company, is a leader in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. Iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power and McGraw Hill Construction. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 29 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.