Electricians raise the spectrum of a “Lehman Brothers” energy.

Electricians raise the spectrum of a “Lehman Brothers” energy.

Electricians raise the spectrum of a “Lehman Brothers” energy.

What if the electricity and gas sector was on the eve of a crisis as severe as that of the Lehman Brothers bank in September 2008, the failure of which had led to an unprecedented financial debacle since the 1929 crisis? Companies and governments no longer hesitate to raise this specter in the face of energy sector players who are sometimes short of cash. More and more European countries must come to the aid of these companies shaken by a surge in prices further accentuated by the recent closure of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which supplies Russian gas to Northern Europe.

To buy electricity on futures markets, and to continue supplying their customers in the months to come, energy companies must go through clearing houses, such as Nasdaq Clearing AB in Stockholm, which guarantee the successful completion of the default transactions of a seller unable to supply or a buyer unable to pay. However, the cost of this financial coverage in the form of a cash advance (repaid upon physical delivery of the electricity), which fluctuates from day to day according to market prices, has become exorbitant.

Read also: Article reserved for our members Electricity market: “Let’s not reform the wrong way”

“This is a serious concern for energy companies”Kristian Ruby, secretary general of Eurelectric, which brings together 3,500 European utility companies, said in an interview with Financial Times. Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, seeks billions of pounds to secure its future coverage, the British newspaper said. All major groups are affected, such as the French EDF or the Finnish Fortum. Even the strongest companies face “enormous pressure” in terms of payment of financial guarantees, RBC Capital Markets points out. Finnish Economy Minister Mika Lintilä raised the specter of“a ‘Lehman Brothers’ moment in the energy sector” ; his Swedish financial colleague, Mikael Damberg, spoke on Sunday about “Effects of contagion on the rest of the financial market”.

Rescue policy

States play firefighters. The German group Uniper, 70% controlled by Fortum, has just asked Berlin “Extension of the credit line”, an extension of 4 billion euros in addition to the 9 billion granted at the end of July by the public bank KfW. The largest importer of Russian gas across the Rhine and hit by Gazprom’s 80% drop in exports to Germany, the state even had to enter its capital (30%). For his boss, Klaus-Dieter Maubach, he will have to continue helping him. The company, which supplies hundreds of communities and energy suppliers, is “of capital importance for the economic development of the country”stressed the Social Democratic Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to justify the intervention of the state.

You still have 44.63% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.