European energy prices soared on Friday as concerns about France’s nuclear fleet and disruptions caused by strikes make front-page headlines. In addition, a late winter cold front has also triggered supply concerns.
Benchmark natural gas futures surged by 21%; the biggest rise since June last year. French year-ahead power spiked by 16%; its largest increase over six months.
A net power exporter on Friday, France’s energy supply was largely disrupted by strikes at Electricite de France SA’s facilities, resulting in a decline in production capacity by 11.2 gigawatts in the morning. TotalEnergies has also been affected by strike action, with its internal strikes being extended until the evening of March 16.
In addition to internal company disputes, France’s energy supply is also being disrupted by issues with its nuclear capabilities. Earlier this week, EDF discovered new defects at two nuclear reactors during scheduled maintenance and repairs.
Further concerns are being caused by reports of colder weather in northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia and the UK. “This enduring winter is giving us one last frosty bite,” Zenergi Group observed in a statement. “The week is proving a major test for the markets, with evidence of volatility starting to build back in.”