Gas markets will soon be open for competition – final preparations underway
While gas markets will soon be open for competition, not many market parties have everything ready and figured out. Empower has a fairly unique role in gas markets as an independent service provider, just like we do in electricity markets – we only trade in our customers’ name, as assigned by our customers.
The opening of the gas markets is right behind the corner. All market parties have already registered the market roles they have selected. Data systems are ready, operating processes have been refined for the new market system, all necessary agreements have been signed ages ago and we are waiting for the turn of the year with our feet on the table. At least this would be the case in an ideal world.
The reality is not as rosy. Finding the correct market role and preparing gas agreements has presented challenges to many parties. This is a new situation, as there was not much to choose from in the previous monopolistic markets. In fact, many parties are about to sign short-term agreements to get started and to see how the gas markets work in practice. Decisions for the next year can then be made on the basis of experiences collected during 2020. I believe that this is a sensible way to go. After all, no-one can be certain of how the markets work and what gas prices will be.
Trading will move from the current gas exchange to GET Baltic, which will expand to Finnish markets starting from 1 January 2020. Operating in the Baltic region, GET Baltic will bring much sought-for extra volume to trading, and this solution is certainly better than a gas exchange operating solely in Finland. What is more, this will also prepare the Finnish markets for the merger of Baltic and Finnish gas markets, expected to take place in a couple of years from now. This means that there will be more market changes in the near future.
Empower has a fairly unique role in the gas markets as an independent service provider, just like in electricity markets. We only trade in our customers’ name, as assigned by our customers. The role of an independent service provider is emphasised in that we can provide impartial services for all customers, taking customer-specific needs for gas supply into account. There is an obvious demand for such a service provider in the gas markets.
Empower is ready to provide gas wholesale services for shippers, traders and transmission network end users. Our energy control room operates 24/7, and our basic services include capacity allocations, nominations, trading notifications and trading in the gas exchange. Gas balance settlements and reports supplement our range of gas services offered to wholesale parties. Our services are available as comprehensive large-scale services or optionally as smaller service packages customised for the needs of individual customers.
In wholesale markets, market changes have kept us busy through the deployment of gas invoicing in the EnerimCIS environment. Furthermore, measurement databases have required changes related to gas measurements and, of course, we have built new interfaces for the gas datahub to be launched at the beginning of next year.
We are not living in an ideal world where everything goes as planned. Sometimes, we need to be able to react quickly, even to unexpected and unwelcome changes. Empower is sufficiently agile, also in serving its customers in rapidly changing market situations – like now when the gas markets are about to open for competition, on a fairly hectic schedule.
The author Seppo Nurminen works as a product manager in the Energy Intelligence business.