French North-South Gas Spread Rises on Asia LNG, Algeria Limits

Natural gas prices in southern France rose to almost 20 percent above those in the north of the country as liquefied natural gas costs climbed and supply from Algeria and Nigeria was cut, according to the regulator.

Prices on the Point d’Echange de Gaz Sud, or PEG Sud, have repeatedly climbed above 32 euros ($42.79) a megawatt-hour while those on PEG Nord were relatively stable at 27 euros, the Commission de Regulation de l’Energie said today in a statement. The spread has widened since Feb. 9, it said.

The findings are part of a probe started by the regulator in July that concluded gas transport links between the northern and southern French markets are “saturated,” making the latter more exposed to LNG price increases in Asia, according to the CRE. Supply restrictions from Algeria, which is limiting exports, and canceled LNG deliveries from Nigeria have also contributed to the rising prices in southern France, it said.

“In the broader context of its investigation, the CRE is also examining the behavior of individual participants in the market and the use of infrastructure,” the CRE said.

LNG for delivery to northeast Asia rose to a record $19.40 a million British thermal units on Feb. 4, according to assessments by World Gas Intelligence. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the biggest provider of natural gas to Nigeria LNG, declared a force majeure on supplies as of Feb. 5 after a leak on a pipeline serving two processing plants, it said Feb. 8.

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