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Austrian natural gas virtual trading point goes live

02 Jan 2013 17:48:33 | esgm

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Austria's natural gas virtual trading point went into operation on Wednesday, with data recorded by ICIS showing 26 Day-ahead deals recorded during its first session.

In tandem with the transformation of Austria's previously physical hub into a virtual trading platform, the market also switched to the exchange-based Within-Day balancing market.

The balancing market switched from hourly to daily balancing, as planned, with market area manager Gas Connect Austria (GCA) responsible for evening out all imbalanced positions greater than 24MWh (see ESGM 19 November).

GCA had to balance the position of one participant overnight from Monday to Tuesday, having to buy 26MWh/h at €30.20MWh/h on Monday night. The two subsequent deals were for 26MWh/h at €30.50MWh/h and 150MWh/h for €29.00MWh/h.

During the first day's trading, the gas market in general was rather quiet, with most traders adopting a "wait and see" position.

Gottfried Steiner, CEO of Central European Gas Hub (CEGH), told ICIS on Wednesday: "We're quite pleased to see that the start of the new regime went well."

He said the low activity on the balancing market was a sign that market participants were well prepared for the new system as they must have nominated exactly the transport capacities that they needed.

Traders said it was still too early to evaluate the new system, however. "The market's as silent as the grave," one trader said.

But sources expected the virtual trading point to spark into life when more traders resume their work after the festive-period holidays.

In addition, Steiner said, some trading companies were reluctant to start trading at the very beginning of the new system and were therefore not yet fully registered.

He said: "We now have 31 active and 32 passive members at the exchange, three interim balancing group managers and the registrations of 24 companies still pending."

Many traders have been complaining about the complicated registration process in order to become a balancing group manager and balance their own positions in the new system without giving access to their own nominations to a competitor (see ESGM 15 November). MH

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