It’s As If the Craziest Week in European Gas Never Happened

The blast at the Baumgarten compressor station killed at least one person and injured at least 21 people.

Photographer: Tomas Hulik/AFP via Getty Images

It’s like the craziest week in European gas markets for as long as anyone can remember never happened.

U.K. prices are almost back where they ended last week as a halt to the most important pipeline cluster in the North Sea, an explosion at a key facility for Russian gas in Austria and the unexpected shutdown of Europe’s biggest offshore field sent rates surging as much as 46 percent on Tuesday.

But as the fire after the blast at the Baumgarten site was extinguished, gas flows restored and Norway’s Troll field began pumping again, rates are now down more than 20 percent in the past two days.

The whipsaw of prices in one of Europe’s key markets show just how much the loss of Centrica Plc’s Rough gas store means at times of peak demand. The depleted oil and gas field off England east coast kept more than 70 percent of the nation’s gas stockpiled fuel for more than three decades and would most certainly have damped the volatility.

“We anticipate prices will move lower from here as the supply situation stabilizes and temperatures potentially moderate,” Barclays Plc analysts led by Michael Cohen said in a report on Thursday. “However, these recent events show the U.K. gas vulnerabilities following the decommissioning of its largest storage facility, Rough.”

— With assistance by Andrew Reierson

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