(Bloomberg) -- European natural gas prices declined amid growing stockpiles and imports of liquefied natural gas, while leaders from the region continue to seek ways to ease an unprecedented energy crisis.
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Gas storage levels on the continent are now about 90% full -- higher than last year, but still below inventories in October of 2019 and 2020 -- data from Gas Infrastructure Europe show.
Meanwhile, the European Union is considering a temporary limit on gas prices to ward off a potential recession, though it's not yet clear what kind of mechanism they'll consider. Industry is concerned that such intervention may hinder supplies to Europe at a time when it needs to replace flows that would ordinarily come from Russia.
European imports of liquefied natural gas may jump by 45-50% this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. However, LNG may only be able to replace about 30% of pipeline shipments from Russia, BI analysts Talon Custer and Patricio Alvarez said in a research note.
Also See: Four EU Nations Propose Gas Price 'Corridor' to Cool Market
Russian gas exports to the region have diminished to a fraction of their levels in the fallout of the country's invasion of Ukraine in February. While volumes are still passing through Ukraine, other routes have been halted, including the key Nord Stream link to Germany.
A cooler-than-expected winter would accelerate draw-down at gas storage facilities, leaving the continent more vulnerable. Temperatures across northwest Europe are expected to drop in the second half of October, forecaster Maxar said in a report.
Dutch front-month gas, a European benchmark, traded 8.4% lower at 161 euros a megawatt-hour by 9:50 a.m. in Amsterdam. The UK equivalent traded 3% higher.
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