Brent and West Texas Intermediate rose to their highest levels in almost 14 months

26 February 2021

UK gas system remained well balanced with demand still well below the seasonal norm

Thursday was the last day of trading for the March futures contract on ICE and the focus was on that product in the market. After a slow start, March opened softer and the losses extended through the day as the product settled at 40.29p. Contracts at the front of the curve, including the summer ended the session an average of 0.90p lower, while longer futures recorded more modest declines. After opening a touch firmer, prompt prices then retreated on Thursday, but losses were marginal. Reports of an unplanned outage at the Troll Field had given some early support to prompt prices but the UK gas system remained well balanced with demand still well below the seasonal norm.  

  Early gains to baseload futures were reversed

Early gains to baseload futures were reversed for the most part on Thursday as lower gas and Carbon EUAs weighed. Near futures had ticked up in the morning due to forecasts for lower wind generation but the early gains could not be sustained against the falling gas and carbon. All baseload futures save for the front month declined on the day. Baseload for the day ahead bucked the trend of the session with support from forecasts for lower wind generation providing the upward momentum. At the close the product was up by £6.87/MWh and settled at £53.45/MWh.

 Brent declined later in the session

Crude oil prices rose early on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised to keep interest rates at the current low levels. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate rose to their highest levels in almost 14 months, however, Brent declined later in the session and settled 16 cents per barrel below the previous day’s close. Fears the higher prices would encourage a boost in production curbed the run up in prices while there are also concerns that OPEC, who are due to meet next Thursday, will relax their production cuts from April. The U.S. benchmark firmed late in the session after data showed more refineries in Texas have restarted after last weeks severe cold snap.  

 Last day of trading for the April Brent contract and early trades dipped

A requirement for more gas fired generators has increased gas demand by 16MCM this morning with the National Grid forecasting todays demand at 269MCM. Supplies are keeping pace as Norwegian imports have ramped up to 88MCM and storage withdrawals are 9MCM, having been at 80MCM and 2MCM yesterday. The prompt has yet to record a trade and this is probably due to the wide bid/ offer spreads on the spot and day ahead products. April has taken on the front month status on ICE and this contract is flat as is most of the other futures that have traded. It’s the last day of trading for the April Brent contract and early trades dipped to a low of $65.85 a barrel but latest exchanges are around $66.23 a barrel.