TSOs, exchanges meet to shape SEEGAS market integration project

Aura Sabadus

21-Sep-2021

LONDON (ICIS)–Exchanges and gas transmission system operators in seven central and south-east European countries are taking the first concrete steps towards the integration of markets with the SEEGAS natural gas market integration initiative spearheaded by the Energy Community.

Senior officials from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine held their first steering committee at the Energy Community headquarters in Vienna last week to thrash out the next steps of the initiative.

Robert Szoke, head of operations and surveillance at the Hungarian CEEGEX bourse said immediate objectives included providing assistance, sharing knowledge and best practices, conducting market research in support of the project, and working with local regulators to harmonise rules to facilitate market integration.

Gabriel Purice, president and general director at the Romanian exchange BRM said the bourse was also proposing to analyse the status of implementation of the EU’s network codes regionally, establish a common tariff policy and synchronise capacity allocation with spot transactions for cross-border allocation.

Magdalena Kopijkowska-Gozuch, gas expert at the Polish gas transmission system operator, stressed the importance of supporting Energy Community contracting parties such as Ukraine and Moldova as part of the SEEGAS project.

The initiative was launched last year by the Energy Community, an international institution designed to extend free market principles to the non-EU member states.

SEEGAS aims to:

– Develop cross-border trading.
– Introduce transparent, competitive and non-discriminatory interregional market-based pricing mechanisms.
– Set up efficient cross-border gas transmission and interoperability.
– Facilitate the implementation of an effective commodity clearing system for gas trades in line with European best practices.

LARGE PARTICIPATION

Even companies, such as the Romanian gas transmission system operator, Transgaz, which had been reluctant regional players, expressed an interest, and joined the steering committee last week, several sources told ICIS.

Speaking to ICIS, gas expert Gregor Weinzettel, who has been coordinating the project on behalf of the Energy Community, said that regional stakeholders were seeking market interoperability and integration.

He also pointed out that the Trans-Balkan pipeline, the historic route which linked Russia to Turkey and the Balkans via Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, could prove the backbone of a regionally integrated market.

Lisse Geert van Vliet, business developer at the Ukrainian exchange UEEX said the SEEGAS initiative was an “excellent opportunity to increase liquidity, and ensure transparent pricing.”

He said it would also ensure that Ukraine would not be isolated if its role as a transit country for Russian gas to Europe is lost as a result of the rerouting of flows to Nord Stream 2.

To reach these goals, UEEX aims to “open gas trading with a transfer point at the border to enable non-residents to trade gas on the exchange, work together on opening information windows to view the trading spaces (markets) of other exchanges in one interface and collaborate on the unification of products and processes of exchanges,” van Vliet said.

He said UEEX would also be working on the standardisation of products and contracts and the launch of clearing services in Ukraine.

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