Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money

66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • Updates
  • clean energy

Bank of America turning on the taps for Gazprom and Novatek’s share price

A recent report by Bank of America has helped power up the Gazprom [MCX:GAZP] and Novatek share price, as the investment bank raised its earnings estimates for the two companies on the back of rising gas prices and Russia’s role in alleviating the European energy crisis.

Global gas markets have tightened considerably, according to the bank, in the aftermath of the cold winter at the beginning of this year. This, it added, has been reflected in European spot gas prices, which have quadrupled since the start of the year.

Russia has been accused of deliberately cutting supply and sitting on a stockpile of gas which could if exported lower prices.

Bank of America said in its report: “Depleted storage levels, limited liquefied natural gas (LNG) flows, and Gazprom's reluctance/inability to increase flows are the primary reasons behind the market tightness.”

“Depleted storage levels, limited liquefied natural gas (LNG) flows, and Gazprom's reluctance/inability to increase flows are the primary reasons behind the market tightness” - report by Bank of America

 

Depleted gas storage levels

BofA added that Gazprom had not booked more capacity on Ukraine’s gas pipelines to Europe but there were clear reasons for this. Its production year-to-date was close to a 10-year peak. Depleted storage levels in Russia still needed to inject about 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas into its underground storage facilities in order to return to normal.

“Our examination finds that Gazprom's ability to send additional volumes to Europe is constrained,” said the report.

Gazprom’s share price has climbed steadily this year from 172.46 Roubles at the close on 6 October 2020 to 357.93 Roubles at the close on 28 September when the report was released. It now sits at 376.06 Roubles at the close on 4 October.

 

Rosneft and gas liberalisation

Rosneft share price failed to get a lift from the report. Its stock had climbed from 392.45 Roubles at the close on 6 October 2020 to 626.75 at the close on 28 September. Its share price fell after the report to 616 Roubles.

According to the report last month, Rosneft sent a widely discussed proposal to the Russian government calling for the liberalization of the pipeline gas exports. “We believe gas market liberalization should be beneficial for Russia, while access to export markets could ensure additional market share and compliance with the European Third Energy directive,” the report said.

Russian gas market liberalization had started several years ago with LNG. Since then, Novatek has launched the 20mtpa Yamal LNG project. The company has also attracted over US$10bn of foreign investment in Russian LNG projects. “Fears that Russian LNG flows will compete with Russian pipeline exports have not materialized as Gazprom has actually expanded its European volumes,” the report said.

Novatek’s share price has climbed from 1,113.6 Roubles at the close on 6 October last year to 1,864 at the close on 28 September. It now sits at 1,953.00 Roubles.

“Fears that Russian LNG flows will compete with Russian pipeline exports have not materialized as Gazprom has actually expanded its European volumes” - BofA report

 

Russian Gas Beneficiaries

Bank of America raised its medium-term gas price forecasts and updated Gazprom and Novatek's target prices from 395 Roubles to 413 Roubles and from 1656 Roubles to 1878 Roubles respectively.

It added that should Rosneft's proposal succeed, at an export gas price of US$200-300/mcm, it sees a US$0.3-0.8billion contribution to the company's EBITDA on an annualized basis and up to US$2.1bn at the current 2022 forward Euro TTF price of around US$530/mcm. “Should gas exports in Russia be partially or fully liberalized, Rosneft should be one of the main beneficiaries.”

Bank of America also raised its earnings per share estimates for Gazprom by 4-11% for 2021 to 2022 to reflect higher assumed export gas prices.

 

Macro Trends

European benchmark futures for delivery in January 2022, when heating demand is expected to peak, have hit a record 66 euros ($78) per megawatt-hour, up from 16 euros a year ago.

The drivers have been low gas storage levels, growing demand from Asia particularly China, lower renewables output and nuclear maintenance outages.

BoA said European storage levels are roughly 10% below their five-year average.

Tom Marzec-Manser, Natural Gas analyst at market intelligence firm ICIS, told ABC that Russian production problems over the summer and higher domestic demand had been a factor in lower supplies to Europe. “There are also theories that Moscow is intentionally supplying less than it could to encourage Germany to speed its approvals process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which will transport natural gas directly from Russia into the European Union”.

“There are also theories that Moscow is intentionally supplying less than it could to encourage Germany to speed its approvals process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which will transport natural gas directly from Russia into the European Union” - Tom Marzec-Manser, Natural Gas analyst at ICIS

Goldman Sachs analyst Geydar Mamedov agrees with BoA that Gazprom will benefit recently raising its price target to $12 from $10.50. He said, as reported by The Fly that “a supply crunch and extreme physical tightness in the European gas market have pushed gas prices to record highs with gas inventories at historical lows. Gazprom is a major beneficiary as roughly 60% of its EBITDA is generated from gas sales in Europe”.

 

Outlook

The BofA report quoted Gazprom saying, that approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would allow it to ship 5.6bcm to Europe by the end of 2021.

In the meantime, Norway’s state energy company Equinor which supplies around 20% of the natural gas consumed in Europe, is going to step up exports.

But it is likely that gas prices will remain high.

“We look like we are going to be locked into pretty high prices through the winter. We are going to be quite vulnerable to some sort of big intraday spikes,” Murray Douglas, research director at Wood Mackenzie told CNBC.

An ETF to watch which holds some of the key stocks is the iShares MSCI Russia where Gazprom has a 19.23% weighting, Novatek has 4.75% and Rosneft with 3.42%.

Disclaimer Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.

CMC Markets does not endorse or offer opinion on the trading strategies used by the author. Their trading strategies do not guarantee any return and CMC Markets shall not be held responsible for any loss that you may incur, either directly or indirectly, arising from any investment based on any information contained herein.

*Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and can change or may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.

Continue reading for FREE

  • Includes free newsletter updates, unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy

Free ebook

Tricks of the trade: 7 interviews with the world’s top traders

Get it now

Related articles