European energy infrastructure - NETS project
Gas Transmission Companies meet to discuss further steps towards creating a more easily flowing gas market in Central and South East Europe
Representatives of the NETS project initiative (the New Europe Transmission System) coming from South-Central. European gas transmission companies concluded a workstream meeting in Budapest on the 20th November at which further steps towards creating a more liquid gas market in Central and South East Europe were discussed. The workstream meeting was hosted by FGSZ, MOL Group Plc (Hungary) with representatives from Transgaz (Romania), Plinacro (Croatia) and the Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA) present, represented at the NETS workstream meeting by Commissioner Gabriel Sirbu from the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority, ANRE. Representatives from BH-GAS (Bosnia-Herzegovina) also attended as an observer.
This discussion follows a round-table meeting of gas transmission system operators (TSOs) in Budapest on 26 September 2008, at which senior representatives from FGSZ, Transgaz and Plinacro signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a study company to take forward work on the NETS (New European Transmission System) initiative, aimed at achieving greater inter-connectivity between the various national gas pipeline systems across Central and South East Europe. The meeting also follows the recent publication by the European Commission of its Second Strategic Energy Review, which proposed a number of initiatives to address Europe's energy supply security, including improved gas interconnections in Central and South East Europe.
The workstream groups meeting discussed a number of issues, including:
- the future organizational structure of the NETS study company
- regulatory issues, including the role of the Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA) in the future work of the NETS study company
- regional supply-demand balance projection and planned infrastructure developments
- an intended application by the NETS study company to the European Commission for the granting of Priority Project Status for the NETS initiative
Support and co-operation for the NETS project has been offered by the Energy Regulators Regional Association, based on a decision by the ERRA Presidium taken on 21 October. According to this, assistance will be provided through the establishment of a Working Group by ERRA aimed to addressing the regulatory issues of potential regional gas markets, primarily focusing on the NETS project. The Working Group will include representatives from all relevant energy regulatory authorities. The task of the Working Group will be to analyze the regulatory preconditions of creating a regional gas market and to develop the elements that need to be harmonized in this respect.
At present there is threat to the gas supply in Hungary, and the supply of all Hungarian gas consumers is appropriately secured as a result of the full implementation of the winter preparation plans and the excellent status of the infrastructure. The stocks stored in the domestic underground gas storage facilities are higher than the statutory levels prescribed for this period of the year. Domestic gas production and the supply route from Austria can further improve the security of gas supply.