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