August 20, 2019 / 1:07 PM / a month ago

German H1 natural gas imports rise 20%, bill rises 14.8%

FRANKFURT, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Germany imported 20.0% more gas in the first half of 2019 than a year earlier and its import bill rose by 14.8%, official data showed on Friday.

The volume of imports in January through June was 2,659,775 terajoules (TJ), amounting to 75.6 billion cubic metres (bcm), according to trade statistics office BAFA.

German importers paid 13.2 billion euros ($14.6 billion) for gas during the period, up from 11.5 billion a year earlier, although the price of oil in 2019, to which gas is linked, has been well below 2018.

The higher bill reflected sharp increases in volumes received in May and June. Imports in June alone of 405,781 TJ were 30% higher than in the same month in 2018.

Gas, power and carbon traders watch gas imports because possible imbalances in supply and demand can change prices and traded volumes in all three markets.

There is currently abundant gas supply in Europe.

German gas stocks were at 93% of available storage capacity this week, European gas infrastructure group GIE’s website showed. That compared with 68% a year earlier.

Germany mainly imports gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.

Europe’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are also increasing.

The average BAFA-quoted price for pipeline gas on the German border in June was 3,930.59 euros/TJ, equivalent to 1.42 euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), down 25.2% from a year earlier.

$1 = 0.9025 euros Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Mark Potter

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