Italian piped imports of Algerian gas are on track for their lowest monthly level in more than five years for March, with the first 12 days of the month coming in at just 324mn cfd (see chart). Algeria’s declining gas production, coupled with record domestic demand saw 2019 piped supplies hit their lowest level in four years at 987mn cfd (MEES, 3 January).

While it is nothing out of the ordinary for Italy to take less in March as the winter season draws to a close, the scale of the fall suggests other factors are at play. With global spot LNG prices at record lows, European buyers have looked to maximize LNG purchases at the expense of pricier oil-linked piped gas (MEES, 22 November 2019). (CONTINUED - 150 WORDS)