The price of natural gas in Europe fell Friday to below 50 Euros for the first time in about a year and a half, while mild winter weather leads to a decline in heating demand.

The Dutch TTF reference index for natural gas in Europe reached 48,775 Euros, a level recorded for the last time in August 2021, which makes it about seven times lower than the highest level recorded after Russia, the main gas producer, invaded Ukraine about a year ago.

“European gas prices have fallen by 50% since November thanks to unusually warm weather and subdued competition with China when its zero-Covid pandemic strategy was still in effect,” an analyst at Unicredit Eduardo Campanella said.

China ended its policy in December, but that has not yet raised its demand for gas.

The heavy reliance on Russian gas led to an energy crisis on the continent last year.

At the height of the crisis, prices of over 300 Euros per MWh were being paid.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western countries were forced to secure gas supplies from outside Russia, and Norway became the main supplier to Europe.

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