Russia's Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse flow mode for 4th day

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MOSCOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Russia's Yamal-Europe pipeline, which normally sends gas westwards across Poland to Germany, was working in reverse mode for a fourth straight day on Tuesday and expected to stay that way until Wednesday, according to data from German operator Gascade.

Flows into Germany at the Mallnow metering point, which lies on the Polish border, stopped early on Saturday and have not resumed, according to the data. Instead, gas is heading back east across Poland.

The reversal, which neither Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM), Poland nor Germany have fully explained, has added to market nerves at a time when gas prices have skyrocketed in Europe.

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"Gas is still not flowing towards Germany today, which means that there is no demand for transmission via the Yamal pipeline in this direction," Polish operator Gaz-System said on Tuesday.

Polish gas monopoly PGNiG (PGN.WA) said that as of Nov. 1 it had increased imports from Germany "as planned" and that further supplies from Germany would depend on "gas demand as well as market conditions".

Gaz-System said that the needs of Polish consumers were being met from the Yamal pipeline "in accordance with the submitted demand".

A Gascade spokesperson has said separately that it was "not unusual for shippers to use the eastwards direction."

A gas transit deal between Russia and Poland expired last year, but Gazprom can book transit capacity via the pipeline at auctions: it took a third of total additional capacity offered by the Polish operator Gaz-System for transit via the Kondratki transit point for November.

Asked why Yamal-Europe was in reverse-flow mode, the Kremlin repeated on Tuesday that Russia was fulfilling or even exceeding its obligations. read more

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, reiterated that Russia remains committed to start pumping additional gas to Europe once domestic storage is replenished, in line with an order given to Gazprom last week by President Vladimir Putin.

The front-month Dutch benchmark gas contract jumped by over 11% on Monday to 74 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), with traders saying the reversed flows had taken the market by surprise. It was 2% down on Tuesday at 66.65 euros.

Russia has reached the target level of its domestic gas reserves of around 73 bcm last week, but Gazprom plans to continue building them until Nov. 8.

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Reporting by Katya Golubkova; additional reporting by Dmitry Antonov, Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Alan Charlish Editing by Kim Coghill and Susan Fenton

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