* April temperatures below-average, May-July seen warmer
* Qatargas outages cast doubt over May LNG supply
* Shell's Bacton maintenance to tighten supply
LONDON, April 23 British prompt gas prices rose
on Monday morning as supply lagged demand amid
colder-than-average temperatures forecast until the end of the
month, while curve gas slumped with weakening oil prices.
However, average summer temperatures across Europe will be
higher-than-normal between May and July, with the exception of
southeastern parts of the continent, forecaster Weather Services
International (WSI) said.
May gas prices rose slightly despite warm weather forecasts
on the back of ongoing uncertainty over liquefied natural gas
(LNG) supplies and bullish momentum feeding in from the prompt
UK day-ahead gas rose 0.35 pence to 60.45 pence per therm,
while gas for immediate delivery gained half a penny to 60.75
May gas edged 0.15 pence higher to 58.55 pence.
The market was undersupplied by 10 million cubic meters/day,
due to a sharp cut in storage withdrawals compared with last
week levels. Withdrawals dropped to zero by 1030 GMT versus 23
mcm/day on Friday.
Higher imports from Norway and the Netherlands somewhat
narrowed the supply-demand imbalance.
Offshore gas output is currently 120 mcm/day, slightly up
from Friday's average of 118 mcm/day. That rate should drop on
Sunday as Shell's Bacton terminal starts its scheduled
one-day maintenance, resulting in a forecast supply loss of 11
The current LNG send out rate is 57 mcm/d, roughly in line
with Friday's average of 62 mcm/d and also over the weekend.
Despite five gas tankers expected in Britain between now and
early May, planned maintenance at three Qatargas production
plants at the end of April could trigger a slowdown in arrivals.
"This results in a loss of production capacity of 3.2
million tones per annum per train. As a result, UK terminal
operators could be more careful with their send out rates,"
analysts at Point Carbon said.
Qatar provides the majority of Britain's LNG supply, leaving
it exposed to supply disruptions.
In France, striking workers at GDF Suez LNG terminals on
Friday opted to extend their strike until today, while workers
at the Montoir LNG port resume work last week.
Further out, benchmark front-season prices
slumped as softer oil prices led bearish trading activity on the
Winter 2012 gas prices traded down 0.65 pence at 69.35 pence
Spot baseload power fell 1.75 pounds to 43.60 pounds per
(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by Mark Potter)