Skyrocketing natural gas prices in Europe are now hitting factories, and supply chain shortages and layoffs are expected this winter.
Gas prices have already doubled since June, when Russia first reduced supply via Nord Stream, the key pipeline carrying gas to Europe’s biggest economy, Germany.
The European gas benchmark now trades at what would be an equivalent of $410 per barrel of crude oil, which highlights “the debilitating economic impact on the region,” Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank, said this week.
Such record gas prices are hitting industries in Germany and the rest of Europe, with companies announcing production halts or curtailments “until further notice” amid soaring energy costs.
Industries have warned that reduced production and operations could lead to a collapse of supply and production chains. Governments are scrambling to secure enough gas for the winter while walking a tight rope between alleviating the cost burdens on households and avoiding an industrial collapse and a wave of bankrupt energy companies.
As a result of the gas crunch and a heatwave constraining supply and output from other fuel sources, year-ahead electricity prices continue to soar in Europe, with German power prices, the European benchmark, jumping to over $508 (500 euro) per megawatt-hour on Tuesday—a new record.
Despite faster storage builds than usual, Germany will only have enough natural gas to cover two and a half months of consumption this winter if Russia completely suspends deliveries, Klaus Müller, the president of Germany’s energy regulator, told Bloomberg this week.
“The burden of high gas and oil prices will actually mean that we are going to see some steep contraction in the European economies next year,” Amrita Sen, director of research at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg on Wednesday. [Oil price]