Europe is set to get its first cold spell of the winter season, putting the continent’s already scant energy supplies under pressure.
Temperatures are set to drop starting this week, with parts of Italy forecast to experience weather as much as 2 degrees Celsius below normal. Southern France, Spain and Germany are also forecast to be colder-than-usual, according to The Weather Company. Centrica, the UK’s top energy supplier, warned its 9 million customers to prepare for an icy blast that could last as long as six weeks.
The region will be particularly sensitive to cold snaps in the coming months, with gas prices up for a second week after surging to records in October. Extra supplies promised by Russia have so far been negligible and Norwegian flows have been reduced because of heavy maintenance.
“This is going to test the energy supplies across Europe,” said Tyler Roys, lead European forecaster at AccuWeather.
A high pressure system could also bring more northerly and colder air flows over central and southern Europe by the end of the month, said Carlo Cafaro, a senior research analyst and meteorologist at Marex.
Benchmark gas prices are still almost four times higher than normal for this time of year sending electricity and European emission permits surging. Dutch month-ahead gas futures, the benchmark for Europe, rose 1.4% this week after climbing 14% last week.
The cooler temperatures in the south will coincide with stormy weather over the Mediterranean with threats of flooding and mudslides, Roys said. This will bring big swings in wind generation, likely to drive price volatility even higher.
November temperatures, on the whole, could end up being close to normal, but may still be cooler than the above-average levels for the past four years, according to Accuweather data. That could also impact gas storage levels as companies withdraw supplies to meet higher demand, already roaring bac