Energy supply crisis to prompt gas, electricity sector measures

The energy supply crisis experienced in Greece over the past few days, prompted by the temporary withdrawal of nuclear power stations in France, appears set to serve as a pretext for restructuring in the natural gas sector.

The recent developments exposed the current system’s limits while highlighting that the natural gas sector is well behind at regulatory and market operation levels, sector officials told energypress. Necesssary mechanisms that may readily detect possible problems and help the market regain balance are lacking, the officials stressed.

According to energypress sources, action will be taken along two fronts. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is expected to include a safety mechanism into the high pressure gas code revision. Its components will include a mandatory quantity scheduling mechanism to coordinate transactions between suppliers and major consumers, especially electricity producers. This will allow for timely consumption level forecasts over short and medium-term periods. Obligations included in agreements between suppliers and major-scale consumers will be included in the code and monitored by DESFA, the natural gas grid operator.

As for the second front, the government is expected to take legislative action that will establish a new institutional framework for the electricity market, its key element being the creation of primary markets. This initiative could be completed within 2017.

“It is completely irrational to have a major natural gas shortage that is not reflected, in any way at all, in the fuel’s market price,” one sector official remarked.