Friday, 31 March, 2023

Germany’s Uniper slashes 2022 loss as gas prices fall

FRANKFURT: Germany's newly nationalised energy giant Uniper said Wednesday its full-year loss for 2022 would be "significantly" smaller than thought, thanks to falling natural gas prices on global markets.
Uniper said it now expected a net loss of 19.1 billion euros ($21 billion) for 2022, according to preliminary results, reports AFP.
In November, the company was still bracing for a record-breaking loss of 40 billion euros after Russia's cut in gas deliveries forced it to buy more expensive gas from other sources.
The figure included about 31 billion euros in "anticipated future losses" from gas replacement costs, Uniper said, and was based on "significantly higher market prices at that point in time".
A recent drop in wholesale gas prices, however, drastically improved the outlook.
"The sum of incurred losses for the financial year 2022 plus anticipated future losses has significantly declined," Uniper said in a statement.
Uniper now sees anticipated losses totalling around 5.9 billion euros, on top of losses already incurred of 13.2 billion.
The company will unveil its full financial results on February 17.
Uniper was left facing bankruptcy after Russia's Gazprom halted exports in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, sending it scrambling to buy gas on spot markets at vastly higher prices.
The German government stepped in to rescue the crucial energy provider in December, fearing its failure could send shockwaves through Europe's top economy.
Berlin initially agreed to an eight-billion-euro cash injection, but the debt-laden company has since said the government will need to spend an additional 25 billion euros.
Uniper on Wednesday said earnings over the coming quarters would continue to be influenced by the development of gas prices.
Mild winter weather, well-filled gas storage sites and government efforts to diversify energy supplies have helped bring down wholesale gas prices in Europe in recent weeks.
Bulgaria launches construction of gas link to Serbia
KOSTINBROD (Bulgaria): Bulgaria launched construction on Wednesday of a long-delayed gas pipeline link to neighbouring Serbia in a bid to boost security of deliveries in the eastern Balkans after Russia invaded Ukraine.
European Union member Bulgaria has sped up several projects to diversify away from its dependence on Russian gas, reports AFP.
The new gas link, whose construction is partially funded by EU money, is to be completed in October.
The new interconnector will have the capacity to pump as much as 1.8 billion cubic metres of gas per year in either direction.
It will link pipeline systems to transport gas from Azerbaijan all the way to western Europe, as well as give Serbia access to liquefied natural gas through ports in Greece.

"It gives new opportunities to the region through real diversification and security of deliveries," Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said at the launch.

His Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic said the pipeline would help "secure the energy future... for the whole region of the western Balkans and southeast Europe."

Construction of the pipeline in Serbia is already under way since February 2022, but the war in Ukraine caused delays of pipe deliveries for the Bulgarian stretch.

The agreement for the 170-kilometre (106-mile) pipeline between the two countries' gas transportation networks was signed back in 2012.

Both Bulgaria and Serbia were among the hardest hit by a price row between Russia and Ukraine in the winter of 2009 that cut deliveries to Europe.

Construction was, however, postponed for over a decade as Russian gas shipments were restored.

Bulgaria remained almost totally dependent on Russia for its annual gas needs of about three billion cubic metres up until Moscow cut it off completely in April 2022 as Sofia refused to pay for its gas in rubles after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, Bulgaria has already moved to receive pipeline gas shipments from Azerbaijan on a new link from Greece and liquefied natural gas from European and US suppliers through terminals in Greece and Turkey.

Serbia, on the other hand, has maintained its friendly ties with Moscow.

Belgrade inked a new three-year contract with the Russian giant Gazprom last year, drawing a rebuke from Brussels as the EU tries to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.