List of gas trading applications grows as companies maneuver

A growing number of natural gas retail supply license applications have been made since the beginning of the year, as seen on a list published just days ago by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Aegean Marine Petroleum, controlled by entrepreneur Dimitris Melisanidis, electricity supply company Voltera, owned by the J&P-Avax group, Italian firm Sorgenia, and fertilizer producer ELFE, are the latest additions to the list of applicants seeking natural gas supply licenses for the Greek retail market.

Last month, Protergia – belonging to the Mytilineos corporate group, already active in the gas market through M&M, a wholesale trading joint venture established with Motor Oil Hellas – also applied for a gas retail supply license.

The Greek natural gas retail market is adjusting to recent gas market reforms implemented as a bailout-related requirement intended to create competition.

At present, three EPA companies respectively operating in the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki, and Thessalia are covering the local retail market’s supply needs. DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, holds majority 51 percent stakes in all three EPA gas supply companies. Privately run supply companies, such as M&M, have also supplied certain amounts wherever possible.

Heron, a member of the GEK Terna group, Elval, Cedalion, belonging to the Hellenic Halyvourgia group, and more recently, fuel company Elinoil and logistics company Makios, have all already been granted trading licenses for Greece’s retail natural gas market.

A total of 23 companies, including Italy’s Edison and the electricity suppliers Green, Watt and Volt, and NRG, have registered on the local natural gas market registry. Elpedison also appears interested in acquiring a natural gas trading license for the Greek retail market.

At present, industrial enterprises consuming over 2.2 GWh of natural gas per year have the right to choose supplier. Besides electricity producers, a further one hundred or so industrial enterprises fall under this category. Exisiting gas trading companies can supply to all these. The household consumers market is scheduled to open up to free trade in 2018. New natural gas license holders already active in the electricity market will be able to offer households combined energy gas packages, supplying both electricity and natural gas.