(Corrects APRIL 1 story to show ENI sees low (not high) risk of
supply cuts, paragraph 7)
* Mild weather expected for most of April
* Producers adjust supplies to lower spring demand
* Russia-Ukraine crisis seen to have little impact on EU
* Power markets rise on 2 nuclear reactor outages
LONDON, April 1 British wholesale natural gas
prices dropped on Tuesday morning despite reduced flows from
Norway as mild springtime weather sapped demand.
Gas prices for delivery the next day were trading at 51.15
pence per therm at 1020 BST (0920 GMT) on Tuesday, down 0.15
pence since the opening. Prices for delivery within the day were
at 51.50 pence, down 2.25 pence a therm.
Traders said the price drops were a result of mild weather,
which outweighed a reduction in flows from Norway. April marked
the official end of the high-demand winter heating season,
resulting in adjustments of supplies by major gas producers.
Meteorologists said they expected average temperatures in
Britain to remain above the seasonal norm until at least the
middle of April, resulting in weak energy demand.
"For the coming week, most of western Europe is expected to
have significantly warmer weather than the seasonal norms - 31
percent fewer HDDs (heating demand days) than the five-year
norm. With no weather support and geopolitical risk (Ukraine
crisis) seemingly already faded out of the market, prices could
very well weaken," Energy Aspects said in a research note on
Regarding political risks to western Europe's gas supplies,
Russia's Gazprom announced on Tuesday a more than 40
percent increase in the price Ukraine must pay for gas, stepping
up economic pressure on Kiev in its political standoff with
The head of trading at Italy's ENI said that he saw
a low risk of gas disruptions because of the Ukraine crisis.
Most analysts said that even if Russia cut its gas supplies
this spring, western Europe would be little affected despite
Ukraine's important role as a transit route, and that should
exports to the European Union be affected, it would also be well
prepared after a mild winter has left gas inventories well
"Any supply disruption (to the EU) would likely be brief and
limited," Eurasia Group said on Monday.
In Britain's power markets, prices for baseload (24 hours)
delivery rose 0.3 pounds ($0.50) per megawatt-hour (MWh) to
42.30 pounds a MWh as nuclear power outages, one planned and one
unplanned, took over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity out of the
market between Monday and Tuesday.
EDF Energy's 550 MW Dungeness B-22 went off the
grid for planned maintenance on Monday afternoon, while the
company's 500 MW Hunterston B-7 unit shut down in an unplanned
outage on Monday evening.
($1 = 0.5998 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Jane Baird)