Regulators want integrated EU approach to gas
By Dafydd ab Iago | Monday 14 June 2010
Regulators want a more integrated EU approach to assessing gas infrastructure gaps. At a workshop organised on 14 June, regulators called for the ten-year gas network development plan to be more than just the sum of national plans
(1). According to the European Regulators Group for Electricity and Gas (ERGEG), the gas network plan should be a “shared vision of long-term EU gas dynamics”.
“The EU-wide ten-year development plan should be built on an assessment of the obstacles to gas transit across Europe and address priority developments as well as the capacity of the European gas system to cope with emergency procedures and solidarity mechanisms,” said ERGEG Vice-Chair Walter Boltz. ERGEG is the European Commission’s formal advisory group of energy regulators on internal energy market issues.
Aside from calling for the EU-wide gas network plan to be more than the sum of national plans, regulators want ‘top-down’ modelling to identify gas infrastructure gaps. Investment needs, say regulators, are not a major barrier because most bottlenecks are contractual, not physical. “There is some congestion but most of it is contractual and not physical. This means that to ensure security of supply the investment needs are not a big barrier,” explained Boltz. He noted that if the planned infrastructure projects are realised then there will be only few cases of physical congestion. The regulator promises to publish “good” solutions for contractual congestions very soon. “Without such solutions there is more need for investments,” he concluded.(1) The third energy liberalisation package, of 2009, requires the European Network Transmission System Operators in Gas (ENTSOG) to develop an EU-wide ten-year gas network development plan.