Salient Gasses Up Energy Forecast Engine for European Winter 2021-22
Dr. Ray Schmitt
November 23, 2021
While fuel costs are up all over the world (due to a mix of factors, including rebounding market demand tied to the easing of Covid restrictions), the situation in Europe appears to be particularly fraught, given geopolitical disputes with Russia and Belarus and regulatory challenges with new pipelines. Putin's leverage over western Europe lies in Russia's regional natural gas dominance - and any escalation of tensions could markedly cut supply and increase prices. Of course, the severity of the coming winter’s weather will also have a large impact on the demand for natural gas. Here, we offer Salient’s world's-most-accurate forecasts for temperatures in Europe over the course of the coming winter. Or, put another way: how much energy leverage will Putin and Russia have this winter?
Overall, it appears that temperatures will be modestly above average during the December, January and February winter season in the west, but colder than normal in the east. That is, the UK, Norway, France, Spain and Portugal should have an overall mild winter, while Germany, Italy and Sweden will be near normal, and eastern Europe will experience cooler-than-normal conditions (Figure 1).
Let’s further break down this overall winter pattern for these three months. We expect generally warmer-than-normal conditions to prevail everywhere through mid-December (Figure 2).
Then, over the holidays into early January we predict a cold spell covering most of central Europe, with only Spain, Portugal, the UK and Scandinavia staying mild.
However, the cold wave will progress to the east in mid-January, so that from mid-January into February most of western Europe returns to slightly above-normal temperatures while there is cooling in the east (Figure 4).
To conclude: we predict initially warm conditions into December, a cold air outbreak for central Europe in late December into January, then a return to near-normal conditions in late winter, with the cold wave moving into eastern Europe. We believe that these insights into expected European winter temperatures can help those trading and purchasing in the energy markets to better anticipate the spatial and temporal patterns in the demand for natural gas.