Europe energy crisis to last more than a winter amid tight supply: Analyst

Europe’s crippling energy crisis could extend through the end of 2023 as the region grapples with robust demand and a squeeze in supply exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to Energy Aspects Ltd.

“This is not a one winter story,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at the industry consultant, said in a Bloomberg television interview with Shery Ahn and Haidi Lun. Russia is needed to balance the market, not just for the upcoming winter, but potentially the following cold spell at the end of next year, she added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended energy flows and rippled through global markets, driving up natural gas prices in Europe and forcing drastic measures such as Germany nationalizing its biggest importer of the fuel. Oil is expected to see further volatility in the fourth quarter, whipsawed by factors including concerns over a possible recession and China’s Covid lockdowns, Sen said.

Crude will likely trade in the $90s in the short-term before rising to around $120 a barrel by the end of this year, she said. Global benchmark Brent oil was near $90 on Friday, with prices almost 30% lower than their June high.

Key market developments investors are watching is the proposed price cap on Russian crude, and how much additional oil from the OPEC+ producer can be absorbed by China and India once a European Union ban on imports takes effect in December. Sen says the top Asian consumers have the capacity to take extra barrels, but potential banking sanctions may limit flows.

“We are expecting a lot more Russian oil floating to Asia, relabeling and finding homes,” she said. “But it does mean you are going to tie up an awful lot of oil on ships.”

–With assistance from Anand Menon.