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Europe’s benchmark natural gas prices fell on Thursday as signs emerged that supply risks from Australia and Norway have eased.
The front-month futures at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark for Europe’s gas trading, dropped by 2.7% to $38.58 (36.28 euros) per megawatt (MWh) as of 11:25 a.m. GMT on Thursday after a massive Norwegian gas field started ramping up production after maintenance, and after the labor dispute at Chevron’s LNG export facilities in Australia could be nearing its end.
Chevron and the trade unions that have announced strikes at its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG facilities could be close to an agreement, Australia’s labor market regulator, the Fair Work Commission, said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the latest talks between the U.S. supermajor and trade unions failed, which left the Fair Work Commission to decide on Friday whether to halt the strikes.
But on Thursday, FWC said in a statement that “The parties are on the precipice of achieving historical first enterprise agreements for these Chevron LNG facilities in Western Australia.”
The commission issued new recommendations in the bargaining process and encouraged the parties to adopt those recommendations.
“In my view, the parties are close to achieving their desired outcome of registered enterprise agreements to cover the wages and employment conditions for employees working for Chevron,” commissioner Riordan said.
Despite the industrial action and a fault at the Wheatstone facility last week, LNG exports out of Australia remain unaffected, vessel tracking data shows.
A settlement of the dispute would further ease supply concerns in Europe, and globally.
Separately, European gas prices also weakened after the huge Troll gas field in Norway resumed production on Wednesday after a long period of maintenance.
Norway is now Europe’s single largest gas supplier after Russia cut off pipeline supply to most of its EU customers after the invasion of Ukraine.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.