Min­istry: lib­er­al­iza­tion of the gas mar­ket has in­creased com­pe­ti­tion among traders

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An open gas mar­ket has in­creased safety for sup­plies, en­ergy in­de­pen­dence and com­pe­ti­tion among traders, as noted by Econ­omy Min­istry.

Tues­day, 3 April, marked one year since the open­ing of Latvia’s gas mar­ket for free com­pe­ti­tion.

«Look­ing back at the de­vel­op­ment of Latvia’s nat­u­ral gas mar­ket, I be­lieve the most im­por­tant fac­tor of suc­cess was the whole­sale trade price of gas. Lat­est sta­tis­tics from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion shows that Latvia con­cluded 2017 with one of the low­est whole­sale gas price in the Euro­pean Union – 17.11 EUR/MWh. This price is also the low­est in the Baltic Sea re­gion, and even lower than the price in Ger­many,» com­ments Latvia’s Econ­omy Min­is­ter Arvils Ašer­adens.

It is also men­tioned that the change has also cre­ated con­di­tions for de­vel­op­ment of com­pe­ti­tion among traders. It has also helped in­crease se­cu­rity of gas sup­plies and Latvia’s en­ergy in­de­pen­dence. It has also helped strengthen Europe’s gas mar­ket, said the min­is­ter.

«To pre­serve com­pet­i­tive­ness of nat­u­ral gas, it is nec­es­sary to con­tinue mov­ing to­wards a uni­fied Baltic and Fin­nish gas mar­ket,» says Ašer­adens.

The min­istry re­ports that com­pe­ti­tion has in­creased among gas traders over the course of the year. Their num­bers now reach 35 in Latvia.

«We have also sep­a­rated gas trans­mis­sion and stor­age func­tions from Latvia’s gas mo­nop­o­list Latvi­jas Gāze. Those func­tions are now per­formed by Conexus Baltic Grid. The trans­mis­sion sys­tem is now man­aged by Gaso,» the min­istry notes.

BNN had pre­vi­ously re­ported that the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to al­low Augst­s­prieguma tīkls to pur­chase 34.36% of cap­i­tal shares from In­cukalns gas stor­age fa­cil­ity’s op­er­a­tor Conexus Baltic Grid.

«The pur­chase of shares from Conexus is an im­por­tant mat­ter re­gard­ing the coun­try’s en­ergy in­de­pen­dence and se­cu­rity. At the same time, by pur­chas­ing shares from In­cukalns gas stor­age fa­cil­ity the state en­sured con­tin­ued move­ment to­wards suc­cess­ful for­ma­tion of a Baltic and Fin­nish gas mar­ket by 2020,» the min­istry ex­plains.

«Ever since 2016 we have been work­ing hard to en­sure suc­cess­ful cre­ation of a Baltic re­gional gas mar­ket by 2020, which will pro­vide us with much greater se­cu­rity of sup­plies and en­ergy in­de­pen­dence in the fu­ture. Mov­ing to­wards this goal this year’s most im­por­tant ob­jec­tives in­clude reach­ing a com­pro­mise on a joint gas tar­iff sys­tem, rules for use of re­gional in­fra­struc­ture and re­duc­tion of costs. We plan to con­tinue ac­tive work on de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture in the next three years,» says the min­is­ter.

Latvia’s gov­ern­ment plans to fin­ish work on the project aimed at con­nect­ing Baltic and Fin­nish mar­kets by cre­at­ing an in­ter-con­nec­tion be­tween Es­to­nia and Fin­land, Baltic and Euro­pean net­works. There are also plans to in­crease the role of In­cukalns gas stor­age fa­cil­ity in the re­gion, the min­istry notes.

Ieva Leiniša/LETA

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