German, Polish regulators to decide over capacity platform

02 November 2017 15:20 Source:ICIS

With German and Polish transmission system operators (TSOs) unable to agree on a shared capacity allocation platform, the matter has now been forwarded to the countries’ regulators that have to make a decision within the next six months.

The German regulator BNetzA has now reached out to the market, asking for feedback on which platform to use. Market participants were given until 24 November to submit their responses.

The Polish regulator URE said in an earlier interview with ICIS that it was scheduling meetings with its German counterpart to discuss the matter. URE could not be reached to clarify whether or not it was also planning to consult market participants.

In line with the EU’s capacity allocation mechanism, physical and virtual capacity offered at cross-border nodes must be made available online on a joint platform.

The two German TSOs GASCADE and ONTRAS operating in the GASPOOL market area, as well as its Polish counterpart GAZ-SYSTEM, failed to reach an agreement within six months starting in April 2017.

“Despite intense efforts, we were not able to reach a conclusion with the polish transmission system operator GAZ-SYSTEM as to which platform to use […]. That is why we deferred the decision to the [German regulator],” an ONTRAS spokesman told ICIS.

The crucial physical Mallnow border point that forwards an average 80 million cubic metres (mcm)/day of Russian gas via the Yamal pipeline is operated by GASCADE on the German side. The virtual point GCP is operated by ONTRAS.

Both German operators are currently using the pan-European capacity allocation platform PRISMA and proposed its use at those two points. A total 41 TSOs are registered on PRISMA and use it on a regular basis for the 1584 nodes registered. PRISMA hosts auctions in all key timeframes ranging from Within-day to annual auctions.

“Our organisation suggested PRISMA as a shared platform because GASCADE has been using this platform for many years and PRISMA has proven itself in hosting capacity auctions,” a GASCADE spokesperson told ICIS.

GAZ-SYSTEM is overseeing the Polish side of the two points and proposed to use its own platform called GSA. The only two other TSOs registered on it are the Czech NET4GAS and the Slovak Eustream that together oversee 27 network points. Each month, GSA hosts around one quarterly and two monthly capacity auctions for its various network points, as well as numerous auctions for prompt capacity.

“PRISMA is the German standard and simply the leading operator,” one trader active on the German market said.

GAZ-SYSTEM did not respond to an ICIS request to clarify its platform’s advantages.

“I think the whole discussion is silly. I understand why both sides want to use their own platforms but I can also see that all market participants would simply accept whatever is decided,” a trader active in both markets said.

By Marcello Kolax