© ICIS HEREN - Balkans face power shortages for longer than expected

The Balkan region is set to be short of electricity until Sunday (19th February), as cold weather and plant outages are persisting longer than expected. The supply balance is now not expected to ease until next week, when warmer temperatures are forecast, rather than this week, as predicted earlier.
Traded prices are sliding from the record highs reached earlier during the cold snap, but electricity remains much more expensive than at the start of the winter.

Bulgarian cross-border electricity links will be closed until next week, as coal reserves fuelling power plants in the country have not yet been restored.
Supply has been further curbed by an emergency outage at the 670MW AES Galabovo thermal power station, Bulgarian energy minister Traycho Traykov told Bulgarian National Television on Wednesday (15th February).
One of the units at the plant was off line and the second worked at only 50% capacity, according to Traykov.
"Until the weather improves and/or all coal reserves are restored, the borders will remain closed. However, I think some time next week, Bulgaria will resume [electricity] exports," he said.
Earlier this week, Traykov had said electricity interconnections could reopen this week if coal extraction from the Maritsa East mines rose to 100% capacity, but this has not yet happened (see EDEM 13 February 2012).
Balkan power traders reported some activity on Bulgarian broker screens on Wednesday (15th February), with separate offers appearing for March `12, Q2 `12 and Q3 `12 Baseload deliveries.
Bids and offers have sporadically appeared on brokers` screens since the start of the year − an encouraging sign for this highly illiquid market, according to market sources.

Romania continued to experience severe weather conditions and electricity export capacity was cut during most of the day, according to one Romanian trader.
With all domestic production locked into the home market, Day-ahead Baseload prices on the country`s electricity exchange OPCOM fell to Romania New Lei 355.13/MWh (€81.55/MWh) on Wednesday (15th February) - down 7% day on day, but still above the record-high hit on the exchange before the current cold snap inflated prices.

The Serbian electricity market has been undersupplied, but the government said on Tuesday (14th February) that the situation had been brought under control. Electricity supplies should go back to normal next Monday, when weather conditions are expected to improve.
However, the public is still advised to save as much electricity as possible, as it will take time to restore energy reserves.
On Tuesday (14th February), Serbian electricity consumption fell below 150GWh for the first time since last week, and coal supply from the Kolubara mines has been restored, state-owned power incumbent EPS said on Wednesday (15th February).
However, hydroelectricity stocks have not risen, so the reservoirs will have to be used strategically.
The ongoing shortages were reflected in Serbian Day-ahead trading. Thursday (16th February) Baseload last dealt at €135.00/MWh and Friday (17th February) Baseload at €143.00/MWh.
Balkan traders agreed that, until milder temperatures have stabilised, prices would remain very high compared with the winter-to-date average.
On Monday (13th February), EPS received priority access to all cross-border transmission capacity under a government order, in response to the ongoing state of energy emergency (see EDEM 13 February 2012).

Measures to cut Macedonian electricity consumption remain in place, but the system is stable, and there has been a 4% decrease in demand since Sunday, the government said on Tuesday (14th February).
The state is considering switching on the 210MW Negotino thermal power plant in order to meet domestic consumption needs.
The country was forced to cut its export capacity on Monday (13th February) until the end of the month because of the freezing weather (see 13 February 2012).

Greece will stop electricity exports on Thursday (16th February) for an unlimited period following shortages in its natural gas system.
ICIS Heren understands that up to 900MW of gas-fired capacity owned by incumbent PPC and private outfits are off line, as the country is actively seeking to buy LNG in order to balance the currently tight system.

(THE ICIS HEREN REPORTS - EDEM 16032 / 15 February 2012)

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