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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 (

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


’Implications of a global gas market for traditional gas economical paradigms’, in February 2018

The article is the – updated and expanded – English version of the ‘Gastkommentar’ (guest commentary) in GVS’s  monthly ‘Gasmarkt-Telegramm’ ( published in January 2018. I.a., Wolfgang additionally documents the destinations of US American LNG cargoes since February 2017, underpinning that deliveries would go where the highest net-backs could be achieved (‘money talks…’). Moreover, Read more Wolfgang demonstrates by means of the January 2018 price spreads between East Asian M+1 vs. TTF that a permanent (as opposed to an occasional, e.g. in case of market tightness) reliance on LNG supplies would have required a TTF price of 31.60 €/MWh instead of the settled January price of 20.29 €/MWh, i.e. more than 50% higher, to compete for LNG. The pipeline gas volume pressure on the European traded markets ensures low prices to the benefit of European end consumers, whilst the marginal quantity of LNG supply sets the maximum price achievable. This ‘end-user welfare benefit’ has convincingly been demonstrated by the renowned ewi Institut in its report ‘Impacts of Nord Stream 2 on the EU Natural Gas Market’ (ewi Energy Research & Scenarios gGmbH;


’Gastkommentar: Implikationen eines globalen Gasmarktes für überkommene gaswirtschaftiche Paradigmen’, in ‚GVS Gasmarkt-Telegramm‘ in January 2017

GVS had asked Wolfgang to write a ‘Gastkommentar’ (guest commentary) in its monthly ‘Gasmarkt-Telegramm’ ( The article puts in writing the messages from the most recent presentations, e.g. at the ’23. Euroforum-Jahrestagung (Erd-)Gas 2017’ in Berlin, on 15 November 2017 and the 5th Frankfurt Gas Forum’ in Frankfurt on 13 December 2017: Read more The emergence of a global gas market, with destination flexible LNG supply able to respond to price signals, liquid European hubs capable of sending price signals and ample unutilized LNG regasification capacity to receive LNG thus attracted, has transformed previous bi-lateral physical dependencies into a functionality of price signals. Hence, the previous ‘Putin-phobia’ (an expression coined by Jonathan Stern: ‘The future of gas in decarbonizing European energy markets: the need for a new approach’, by Jonathan Stern, January 2017, OIES Paper NG 116, was no longer warranted and the traditional gas-economical paradigm of security of supply needed to be re-visited.


“Interview with Dr. Heiko Lohmann in ‚ener|gate gasmarkt‘“ in September 2016

The renowned expert on gas markets, Dr. Heiko Lohmann, conducted an interview with Wolfgang (available both in German and English) on a long list of subjects, Read more straddling long-term contracts in the face of oil- and gas price decoupling, the emergence of hubs, but also the reasons for the failure of Nabucco and, last but not least, Nordstream 2 and, in this context, the need to apply the rule of law in Europe instead of politicizing.


“THE CASE FOR GAS POST COP21: Natural gas is the ‚low hanging fruit‘ for material and immediate reduction of greenhouse gases“, in September 2016

The article, which received wide attention and distribution, including the posting on various websites, is a further refined and elaborated version of the previous article published for the Euroforum Newsletter in August 2016. Read more

Wolfgang explains in more detail that, absent grid parity of renewables, an “affordable subsidy constraint” exists which is reflected in the individual pledges of the countries being party to the COP21 treaty. He backs this up by reference to respective analysis of the IEA in its WEO 2015. He demonstrates that immediate and material effects for the carbon budget can be achieved by expanding the role of gas in the fuel mix. Furthermore, he points out the – frequently forgotten – positive effect of natural gas on clean air, not only in the power generation space, but also in the heat and transport sectors. Last but not least he proposes ‘gas advocacy reloaded’, namely to claim more assertively the rightful place for natural gas in the fuel mix.

“Erdgas – eine ‘low hanging fruit’ für die zeitnahe Reduzierung der Treibhausgase” in August 2016

As a contribution to the Euroforum Newsletter published along the ‘22nd Euroforum Jahrestagung “Erdgas 2016’, Wolfgang discusses the implications of COP21 Read more , namely what he qualifies as the “affordable subsidy constraint” for countries absent grid parity of renewables. He demonstrates that immediate and material effects for the carbon budget can be achieved by expanding the role of gas in the fuel mix.


“Ölpreisverfall – Auswirkungen auf die Gaspreise und Relevanz für den Energiemix ” in July 2015

As a contribution to the Euroforum Newsletter published along the 19th Handelsblatt Jahrestagung – Energiewirtschaft Österreich 2015‘ in Vienna, on 12 November 2015, Wolfgang discusses the various ‘cycles’ that have been seen around price revisions in the context of oil and gas price decoupling. Read more

Whilst first, because of the enormous cash drain, importers were accepting temporary base price reductions, almost all long-term contracts now contained “structural solutions”, namely indexation to hub pricing. Whilst in theory, producers could now dispose of their volumes themselves, this offered a new business model for midstreamers as service providers to dispose of bulk volumes in the traded markets against a service fee.