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News: Interviews

Mülheim/Essen, 13 July 2018 | Interview by ‘energate messenger’: Part 1: ’Polen ist von den nordwesteuropäischen Märkten abgeschottet’ Part 2: ‘Es fehlt am politischen Willen für gesamteuropäischen Markt‘

Wolfgang was interviewed by ‘energate messenger’ on his main findings in the recently published study on the Polish gas market. In part 1 (’Polen ist von den nordwesteuropäischen Märkten abgeschottet’) he explains the lock-up and price disconnect of the Polish gas market with the Northwest-European markets meanwhile behaving like a single price area. Moreover, he points out the risk of Poland overcharging neighboring countries if it were to become a ‘pivotal hub’.

In part 2 (‘Es fehlt am politischen Willen für gesamteuropäischen Markt‘), Wolfgang explains that lack of political will stands in the way of achieving an integrated European gas market no matter how many interconnectors you build and how diversified you already are. Particularly Poland is driven by ‘ideological physicality’ disregarding the achievements of fungible ‘anonymous molecules’ freely traded on hubs.

News: Interviews

Mülheim/London, 05 July 2018

Wolfgang was quoted by Editor-in-Chief of ‘Natural Gas World’ William Powell in an article titled ‘Poland’s Dystopian Gas Market: Analysis’ published in ‘Natural Gas World’ (https://www.naturalgasworld.com/polands-gas-market-broken-62528). Besides explaining his main findings in the Polish gas market study he commented on the recent partial award of the ICC Arbitration Court in Stockholm in the price dispute between Gazprom export and PGNiG. “If you cannot satisfy the burden of proof that hub-pricing is prevailing in your market and your only argument is that I want to have what my neighbors have, you will most likely fail”, he said.

News: Interviews

Mülheim/London, 29 June 2018

Wolfgang was quoted by ICIS energy expert Alex Thackrah in an article titled ‘European Commission probes Qatari LNG deals’ published in ICIS Gas In Focus, the leading gas industry report with an established audience of executives, analysts and traders since 1994. Wolfgang talks about the legacy of Qatari long-term contracts, which were at the time perceived as a ‘seapipe’, i.e. delivery from ‘A to B’ just like an ordinary pipeline.

Courtesy ICIS, you can download your free copy of ICIS Gas In Focus, including the article, under this link: https://www.icis.com/energy/gas/europe/icis-gas-in-focus/

Publication

Mülheim, June 2018 | New GVC Market Study on the Polish Gas Market: ’Poland, a ‘failed state’ in gas trading – Poland’s deliberate obstruction of European traded gas market integration and its misguided quest for diversity hinging on ‘ideological physicality’

The study has also been published by Natural Gas World (‘NGW’) and is accompanied by an interview on the partial award of the ad-hoc Arbitral Tribunal in Stockholm in the price dispute between Polish incumbent ‘PGNiG’ and Russian Gazprom denying PGNiG Northwest-European hub indexation (https://www.naturalgasworld.com/ggp-poland-a-failed-state-in-gas-trading-62533).

The study on the Polish gas market features findings and recommendations. Read more

Findings:

  • Poland and its state-owned incumbent PGNiG are the loudest when it comes to new gas projects and gas market reforms.
  • By claiming ever increasing dependence on Russia, own diversification projects such as the Baltic pipe and an expansion of the LNG terminal are promoted, whilst other projects such as e.g. Nordstream 2 are fiercely opposed.
  • Beyond the debate about Nordstream 2, it appears useful to look at the real facts prevailing as to the Polish gas market:
    • Poland avails of 5 independent sources of physical supplies and even more interconnection points.
    • The 4 non-Russian sources comprise 117% of total Polish consumption and almost 260% of Russian min-take quantities, which renders alleged exposure to political blackmail groundless.
    • The Polish wholesale gas market features price disconnects of at times 3 to 5 €/MWh (~1 to 1.8 $/MMBtu) vs. the Northwest-European traded markets (which are pricewise strongly correlated and include, noteworthy, the Czech gas market).
    • The only reason for such is that Poland has locked up its market by creating commercially prohibitive entry barriers for international trading companies. The European Commission has, therefore, instigated proceedings against Poland on grounds of anti-competitive practices i.a. hindering free-cross border trade.
    • Also the liberalization of the Polish retail market is poor: A subsidiary of PGNiG supplies houseseholds and small-medium enterprises at regulated tariffs, which are considerably below the sourcing prices offered by PGNiG, essentially the exclusive seller of respective supplies to new entrants.

Recommendations:

  • Consider, beyond the pending EC procedure pertaining to the so-called storage obligation for international trading companies,  scrutinizing further potentially anti-competitive aspects of the Polish gas market at wholesale as well as retail level.
  • Reconcile Poland’s multi-billion diversification projects and respective EU funding as to whether:
    • The high costs (of some of them like e.g. the Baltic pipe) might strengthen Poland’s resolve to continue locking up its market and ‘compensate’ such costs by benefitting from cheap purchases from German and Czech hubs without passing them on to the market.
    • Poland’s aspiration to become the ‘pivotal hub’ for Central Europe, the Baltic states and possibly Ukraine could mean putting ‘the fox in the henhouse’ if this would enable Poland to charge an ‘above market’ premium to these countries as is its present practice in the Polish market.

News: On the Road

Berlin, 20-21 June 2018

Wolfgang attends the ‘C-5 GAS AND LNG Supply Contracts Forum’ in Berlin, on 20-21 June 2018.

It should be noted that C-5 appears to be the first conference organizer combining piped gas and LNG as one conference theme. Given the convergence of global gas markets, this appears more than appropriate.

At the beginning of day 2, Wolfgang conducted a special 2-hour workshop: “Price Formation of Natural Gas”.

The workshop, courtesy IGU featuring the latest findings in a pre-publication version of the ‘IGU Wholesale Gas Price Survey 2018 Edition’ (www.igu.org), covered a wide range of topics, from price formation mechanisms around the world over price revision towards hedging techniques. Moreover, LNG pricing and required price spreads between markets such as the American Henry Hub and the European TTF were included. Read more

Particular emphasis was put on Northwest-European markets, where hub indexation had now reached 92 % in 2017. Particularly noteworthy was a new analysis of the IGU on price formation of all Russian supplies into the German market, which feature 100% TTF correlation. This demonstrates that physical market share alone can be misleading and it is rather important how the receiving market treats volumes as to price formation.

Further on day 2, Wolfgang participated in a panel and delivered a speech: “The Global Context for European Gas Contracts and Pricing’. He picked up once more on the significant share of Russian supplies into Germany entirely correlated to TTF pricing and that it mattered how a receiving market would treat supplies as to price formation. In this context, he also made some critical observations about certain Central-European states, where the lack of political will Read more and not alleged Russian dependency was the real reason for their markets lacking integration into the European traded markets. Poland was mentioned as a particularly striking case of putting up entry barriers hampering free cross-border trade.

News: On the Road

Washington, 6-7 June 2018

Wolfgang attends the ‘4th Washington Oil & Gas Forum 2018’ organized by ‘U.S. Energy Stream’ (www.usenergystream.com) in Washington, on 6-7 June 2018. It should be noted that GVC and U.S. Energy Stream have a cooperation agreement with GVC i.a. supporting U.S. Energy Stream as ‘knowledge partner’.

Wolfgang delivered one of the keynote speeches on day 1:Some (not so) Frequently Asked Questions about the European natural gas market’.

Given the venue of the conference, with a considerable number of speakers and participants from the U.S. including high-ranking members of the U.S. State Department, a central mission of the presentation was to explain and demonstrate the evolution of the European gas markets since the Ukrainian gas crisis in 2009 and clarify potential misperceptions, not least regarding concerns about Russian dependency. Read more

First, he pointed to the significant increase of import needs, which according to the IEA WEO 2017 would reach ~390 bcm/a, in the face of essentially flat demand but declining indigenous production. This should call for as much supplier competition as possible including LNG but also further pipeline gas, e.g. from Russia. Particular emphasis was put on the development of deep and liquid traded markets in Europe. E.g. in the Northwest-European markets hub indexation had reached 92 % in 2017. Noteworthy was a new analysis of the IGU on price formation of all Russian supplies into the German market, which feature 100% TTF correlation. This demonstrates that physical market share alone can be misleading and it is rather important how the receiving market treats volumes as to price formation. He further explained that U.S. LNG supplies needed price spreads between the American Henry Hub and e.g. the European TTF. The role of abundant destination flexible LNG operated like a ‘cap’ on the maximum achievable price of pipeline suppliers to Europe but permanent reliance on LNG would mean competing with Asia at significant higher price levels to the detriment of European consumers.
News: On the Road

Oslo, 31 May 2018

Wolfgang attends the seminar ‘The Ukrainian-Russian gas dispute – Implications for Western Europe’, organized by law firm Wikborg Rein and Ukrainian Naftogaz in Oslo, 31 May 2018:

The seminar, by personal invitation only, featured high level representatives including e.g. the CEO of Naftogaz, Mr. Andriy Kobolyev. Mr. Dag Mjaaland, Lead Counsel for Naftogaz and ‘partner in charge’ at Wikborg Rein, gave Read more a comprehensive summary of the 2 complex arbitrations. Besides further contributions, a panel on the ‘pros and cons’ of Nordstream 2 engaged in partly highly emotional, controversial discussions. Wolfgang made several interventions strictly on gas economical facts only, such as the existence of a global gas market with destination flexible LNG operating essentially as a ‘cap’ on the maximum achievable price of pipeline suppliers, the subsequent re-definition of security of supply away from a regional to a global level and the underestimated future total import requirement of Europe, according to the IEA 390 bcm/a in 2040. He also pointed out that Naftogaz could, in the face of further rising Russian supplies to Europe, expect future transit business irrespective of new-built import pipelines.