This section encompasses a wide range of GVC related information:
- ‘Events’ captures activities such as speeches and moderations at conferences and symposiae and, moreover, the appearance at/participation in any such events.
- ‘News’ captures all occurences relevant in the context of GVC’s business not qualifying as an ‘Event’ but worth sharing.
Brussels/Friedrichskoog, 21 September 2021
Wolfgang participated in the “Expert Talks on Global Energy Markets” (Zoom Meeting), organized by ‘Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik’ (‘ SWP’). The zoom-conference took place on 21 September 2021.
Since Chatham House rules apply, the contents of the lively online debate cannot be shared. It appears fair to say (without violating the rules) that, never mind the agenda, the dominating subject was the spike in gas prices, the reasons why and the assertion of some that Gazprom was withholding volumes to accelerate the certification of Nord Stream 2.
Wolfgang, in one of his interventions, pointed out that the very same people, who continued to assert rising dependence on Russia in conjunction with Nord Stream2, had ignored the existence of a global traded gas market, but were now the ones accusing Russia of influencing the traded market price level.
He counseled though that the observed Russian ‘gleefulness’ on the EU having implemented a traded gas market was politically unwise. It would only fuel further the (erroneous) conspiracy assertions by Nord Stream 2 opponents that Russia was holding back gas to accelerate Nord Stream 2 operability.
Brussels/Friedrichskoog, May 2021
Wolfgang participated in the Online Expert Exchange: »Nord Stream 2 – a German Dilemma and a Tight Spot for European Energy Security« organized by ‘Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik’ (‘ SWP’). The zoom-conference took place on 6 May and at times featured up to 90 participants. Speakers were Kirsten Westphal, Global Issues Division, SWP, Berlin and Brenda Shaffer, Energy Academic Group, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA. The moderation was done by Dusan Reljic, Brussels Office, SWP.
Since Chatham House rules applied, the contents of the lively online debate cannot be shared. It appears fair to say (without violating the rules) that a general insight prevailed that, in the face of sky-high Asian prices for LNG once more, Europe would be ill-advised to rely on LNG imports only, in price-competition with Asia.
Wolfgang was able to lodge one intervention in which he emphasized that: (i) the concerns about Ukraine are totally overblown in that gas transit (~USD 2 billion) comprises less than 2% of its budget, the more valuable crude transit (Druzsba) continues and full value chain emissions via NS2 are far better than those via Ukrainian transit; (ii) the sanctions of the Reagan administration in the 80ies against the Russian/German ‘Röhrendeal’ were an ‘honest difference of opinion’, while today’s sanctions are a hidden U.S. LNG marketing campaign and hence an even less tolerable interference in European energy autonomie. Moreover, Wolfgang recommended that Secretary of State Mr. Blinken should speak to U.S. LNG exporters: they do neither need nor want political support.
Vienna/Friedrichskoog (virtual), 26-28 January 2021
Wolfgang attended the European Gas Conference Virtual (EGCV) on 26-28 January 2021. He moderated the panel ‘Assessing the Challenges of Trading and Infrastructure in Southern & Eastern Europe’. The panelists comprised Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice President, SOCAR, Luca Schieppati, Managing Director, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Pierre Vergerio, Director of Gas Midstream, Energy Management & Optimization, Edison and David Viduna, Head of Origination, CEZ.
Due to the virtual set-up, individual presentations of each panelist were not possible. Instead, a jointly developed presentation on the subjects to be discussed amongst the panelists was given by Wolfgang as the moderator.
Noteworthy was the commencement of Azerbaijani gas supplies through the so-called Southern Corridor. While small in size, the collapse of the historical price spread between the TTF and the Italian PSV (previously ~2 €/MWh) could be observed, resulting – for the first time ever – into South-North reverse flows from Italy towards Switzerland and Austria. Read moreThe panelists also addressed the circumstance that the Southern Corridor, albeit initially comparatively small (10 bcm/a to Europe), offered potential for opening the route to market for further supply sources, e.g. the significant discoveries in the Eastmed via the Poseidon pipeline and the Black Sea discoveries offshore Romania and Bulgaria tied-in via the planned BRUHA pipeline. Last but not least, the recent LNG price spike was discussed, underpinning once more that exclusive reliance on global LNG (while shutting out pipeline suppliers including Russia) would mean permanent competition with Asia with potentially high welfare losses for European consumers.
London/Amsterdam/Friedrichskoog (virtual), 12-13 October 2020
Wolfgang attended the FLAME Virtual Gas Conference on 12-13 October 2020.
On Day One, 12 October 2020, he moderated the panel ‘French & German market merger update’. The panelists comprised Pierre Cotin – Chief Commercial Officer, GRTgaz, Benoit Esnault – Head of Department, Interconnections and European Affairs Department, CRE and Ankit Kasliwal – Senior Gas Analyst, EnBW. One of the main themes was that it was clearly desirable to further merge market areas on Europe’s way towards a ‘European Henry Hub’. Read moreHowever, where market areas were not sufficiently hydraulically connected, the investment cost to achieve such could be prohibitively high and other (e.g. trading instruments) were preferable to achieve the same result. The French example for such (successful) market merger was discussed. The impending merger of the German NCG and Gaspool hubs, facing similar challenges, was pointing in the same direction. All participants agreed that, at the end of the day, there would be a large European market area, in other words a ‘European Henry Hub’. Most likely, the TTF would further strengthen its role as a universal pricing benchmark beyond the Northwest-European markets as it presently already does, besides also increasingly featuring as a global price benchmark e.g. for hedging global LNG supplies.
Moreover, Wolfgang delivered a presentation titled ‘Gas Pricing Updates – Developments past & present – Outlook going forward’. Wolfgang updated the audience on further progress of European price convergence as assessed by ACER in its latest Gas Market Monitoring Report. He illustrated that the TTF was transacting the bulk of all European trades and that the monthly turn-over equaled ~75% of the total annual European consumption. The European market was thus capable of sending out global price signals. He recalled that a global gas market had evolved, due to the ever increasing quantity of destination-free or destination-flexible LNG quantity capable of responding to price signals. Read moreHe guided the audience through the roller-coaster of fluctuating price spreads between European and Asian markets with at times Asia attracting essentially all LNG and at other times massive influx of LNG into Europe as market of last resort. In conclusion, he reiterated that Europe would be ill-advised to shun pipeline suppliers (including Russian supplies e.g. through Nord Stream 2) and exclusively relying on LNG in permanent competition with Asia. Rather, Europe should continue to foster supplier competition hinging on its hugely redundant import capacities both pipeline and LNG and a powerful liquid traded market, rendering any supplier a ‘price taker’. He illustrated that also Gazprom had meanwhile bowed to the traded markets and had turned price taker. In turn, LNG, as the marginal source of supply, would act as ‘policeman’ setting the maximum achievable price for pipeline suppliers, thereby also rendering the frequently alleged ‘dependency’ on Russia yesterday’s news.
Prague/Friedrichkoog, October 2020
In September 2019, Wolfgang had been appointed chairman of the supervisory board of innogy Česká republika a.s. in Prague. The retail business of the Czech innogy subsidiary had become, in the context of the asset swaps between RWE and E.ON, a so-called remedy. According to the requirements of the European competition authority, it had to be sold to a third party. In this context it was also necessary to staff the supervisory board with knowledgeable and independent people, choice of which fell on Wolfgang, having served in the Czech Republic for 8 years. In October 2020, the acquisition of innogy Česká republika a.s. by a Hungarian entity was sanctioned by the European Commission and thus could be closed. Consequently, Wolfgang resigned from this interesting interim management assignment.
Vienna, 27-29 January 2020
Wolfgang attended the European Gas Conference in Vienna on 27-29 January 2020. He moderated the panel ‘A Trader’s Viewpoint: Gas Pricing in the Face of Global Oversupply & Regional Shortage Concerns’. As usual, Wolfgang used slides as illustrative optical support for the audience and to guide the panel discussion through the various topics. The impressive European and global price action underpinned impressively that supplier competition in Europe is working.
Prague/Friedrichskoog, in September 2019
Wolfgang was appointed chairman of the supervisory board of innogy Česká republika a.s. in Prague. The retail business of the Czech innogy subsidiary became, in the context of the asset swaps between RWE and E.ON, a so-called remedy. According to the requirements of the European competition authority, it must be sold to a third party. In this context it was also necessary to staff the supervisory board with knowledgeable and independent people. Read moreWolfgang had served as CCO from 2008 to 2012 and as CEO from 2012 to 2016 of the RWE subsidiary Transgaz a.s. in Prague. I.a., he conducted, during this period, two multibillion USD arbitrations against Gazprom (achieving the first arbitration award against Gazprom with hub indexation). He avails thus of intricate knowledge of the Czech market and so qualified for the position. The task is delicate, since management board as well as supervisory Board no longer report to the shareholder, but rather to the European Commission and its appointed trustees. innogy Česká republika delivered, in 2019, over 17 TWh of natural gas and over 2 TWh of electricity to household-, commercial- and industrial customers. Moreover, the company operates an extended network of CNG stations and offers innovative solutions i. a. in the e-mobility space. Wolfgang: “ innogy enjoys an excellent reputation with customers as well as authorities as an innovative and ‘clean’ competitor. I know from a reliable source that the Czech government is keen to retain innogy as a ‘going concern’ in the Czech market.”