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How will Nord Stream pipeline leaks affect gas bills in Denmark?

Gas prices increased on Wednesday morning in the wake of gas leaks from the Baltic Sea Nord Stream pipelines and Russian threats to close off remaining gas supplies to Europe.

How will Nord Stream pipeline leaks affect gas bills in Denmark?
A frame from a video released by the Swedish coast guard showing gas from the damaged Nord Stream pipeline emerging at the surface of the Baltic Sea. Gas prices increased by around 20 percent in Denmark between Tuesday and Wednesday. Photo: Den Svenske Kystvagt/Ritzau Scanpix

The stock market price of gas rose from 15 kroner per cubic metre on Tuesday morning to 18 kroner per cubic metre on Wednesday, according to energy analyst Kristian Rune Poulsen of Green Power Denmark.

“The gas leaks in the Baltic Sea have made the market nervous and prices increase by 5-10 percent in the wake of that,” Poulsen told news wire Ritzau.

“But on top of that, [Russian state gas monopoly] Gazprom has threatened to shut off supplies to Europe through Ukraine and that has made the price of gas go up even more,” he said.

The two Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia and Europe were hit by unexplained leaks, Scandinavian authorities said on Tuesday, raising suspicions of sabotage.

The three gas leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were visible Tuesday in waters off Denmark with huge areas of bubbling spreading from 200 to 1,000 metres in diameter, the Danish military said.

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The leaks occurred off the Danish island of Bornholm in Danish and Swedish economic zones, but in international waters.

“The Nord Stream pipelines were already inoperative for an indefinite amount of time, so the reaction on the market has been limited,” Poulsen said.

Russia is still sending some gas to Europe – around one-fifth of pre-war levels, the analyst said.

If Gazprom follows up on its threat to shut off another pipeline – which travels through Ukraine – the remaining amount would be halved, he said.

“That would hit the sparse supplies we actually have,” he said.

Gas prices are still some way from a peak on August 26th, when the price reached 30 kroner per cubic metre.

“Since August 26th, the trend has in fact been downwards, and the price was roughly halved [compared to the August peak] up to yesterday,” Poulsen said.

Consumers who use gas to heat their homes in Denmark will nevertheless feel the impact of Wednesday’s price hike, however.

“Consumers cannot follow gas prices hour by hour like with electricity prices,” Poulsen said.

“If the price is high, their gas bills will also go up. But they will not see that until three months from now when the next heating bill comes,” he said.

The analyst said he expects gas prices to remain high at around 20 kroner per cubic metre throughout the winter, and even during the following winter.

“The next two winters look like they will be very expensive if you use gas,” he said.

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ENERGY

Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Although the price of electricity has recently fallen back from recent recent sky-high levels, it’s important that Danish consumers don’t return their usage habits to normal, energy experts say.

Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Energy prices in Denmark are currently lower than they were in the late summer and early autumn, but experts say that turning heating up to full blast – and generally scrapping measures to reduce consumption – will still result in costly bills.

While prices were high, many people in Denmark adapted their consumption habits in an effort to preserve stores and avoid high costs.

Public buildings and many businesses meanwhile implemented lower temperatures on thermostats, and power-hungry activities such as outdoor ice rinks or Christmas lighting were cancelled or cut back.

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With the weather now colder, energy prices are currently low.

That is partly because Denmark’s gas reserves that serve as an emergency backup are full, while issues at European power plants that exacerbated the crisis have been largely resolved. 

The cold weather and lower prices may tempt many to return to former habits and turn heating up as usual. But this could still see energy bills eventually hit record levels, experts have warned.

“We will have to think about what we use our electricity and gas for and make savings where we can,” Jim Vilsson, senior economist at state-owned energy company Energinet told broadcaster TV2.

“Otherwise, we could end up in a situation where we again risk being short of energy,” he said.

Data from Nordic energy stock market Nord Pool, reported by TV2, show the unit price of electricity hitting 4.36 kroner per kilowatt hour (not including fees and taxes) in late August.

The price was 0.9 kroner per kilowatt hour as of November 20th.

Gas prices similarly peaked in late August and before falling, but are higher than they were in November 2021.

READ ALSO: At what time of the day is electricity cheapest in Denmark?

“Supply wise we are well stocked at the moment. We have got the European gas strores filled well up and they are actually completely full in Denmark,” Vilsson told TV2.

Gas stocks remained full further into the late autumn than usual, according to raw material analyst Ole Sloth Hansen of Saxo Bank.

“We have only just seen gas stocks be reduced and this was three weeks later than normal. So we have lots of gas, but we’re not home and dry yet,” Hansen told TV2.

Consumers in Denmark have meanwhile reduced their consumption by an average of around 10 percent.

“The market is a little better than it was before. But I’m putting extra emphasis on ‘little’, because it’s based on a situation where we expect a relatively normal or mild winter,” Vilsson said.

Increased consumption could help to push current lower prices back up as well as deplete stocks, he warned.

“We have been able to keep prices down because we have stood together and been good at saving. If we go back to normal, we could be in a situation again where we will lack gas, coal or electricity,” he said.

READ ALSO: How do I check my Danish electricity plan and decide whether to change?

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