Gas rates for household consumption are expected to drop by 15 percent compared to levels of a year ago, driven down by the considerable drop in crude oil prices, especially in the first half of the year, as well as the euro-dollar exchange rate.
The country’s gas supply companies (EPA) are preparing to submit their price levels to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for approval. Prices are expected to drop to between 58 and 59 cents per cubic meter, compared to 70 cents last year.
Gas prices offered by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, to the EPA companies operating in Greece are revised every three months and follow the trajectory of oil prices, with a six-month delay. In other words, within October, gas prices will plunge as crude oil prices did earlier this year.
This pricing formula applies for Russian gas supply to Greece, based on an agreement between DEPA and Russia’s Gazprom. Russian gas dominates the Greek market. A similar deal has been signed between DEPA and Algerian company Sonatrach.
If lower gas price levels are to be maintained throughout the upcoming winter, crude oil prices will need to maintain their downward trajectory and the euro-dollar exchange rate will need to remain relatively steady.
At present, EPA figures indicate prices will be lower in September compared to the previous month, and, barring any unforeseen developments, will remain at lower levels in the winter, officials believe.
Last year, subsidized supply of heating oil ended up being cheaper than natural gas, unprecedented for the Greek market. However, market conditions have now changed. Based on the latest bailout agreement, subsidy levels have been reduced. Though this is expected to affect demand for heating oil, demand will remain considerable.
Heating oil prices, at present, are 20 percent lower than they were last year, between 80 and 85 cents a liter, compared to 1.05 euros per liter last year.