RWE AG, Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, canceled its membership of the BlueNext SA spot carbon market, as the region is set to decide this year which exchanges will help sell billions euros of allowances.
The membership list is still growing, “with major companies recognizing BlueNext as a leader in the carbon market,” Philippe Chauvancy, commercial director of the Paris bourse, said by e-mail. Six members including Air France-KLM Group joined this year, Chauvancy said Jan. 18. “If RWE changes its mind, they are welcome to keep their membership.”
BlueNext SA, the emissions exchange majority-owned by NYSE Euronext (NYX), settled a value-added tax liability with French authorities for 31.8 million euros ($41 million) on Dec. 22. The exchange handled 83 percent less of its main European Union spot contract last year. Volumes fell to 45.3 million metric tons from 269.9 million in 2010 and 1.1 billion in 2009. Prices fell 51 percent in the past year and were at 6.87 euros at ton today in Paris as of 1:05 p.m.
Barbara Minderjahn, an RWE spokeswoman in Essen, Germany, didn’t immediately comment when contacted today by phone.
The EU plans this or next month to open a tender for a transitional platform to carry out sales of carbon allowances for airlines and so-called “early auctions” of post-2012 permits for manufacturers and power plants.
This year, the EU carbon market is starting to sell most allowances to power utilities rather than give them away for free. Monthly supply to the carbon market via government auctions will reach 90 million metric tons a month by next year, from 10 million tons a month on average in the four years through 2011, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated in a Jan. 20 research report.
The timing of the tender will keep the 27-nation bloc on track to start early auctions of allowances for the next phase of the EU emissions trading system in the second half of this year, the European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, said Jan. 11 in response to Bloomberg questions. Germany, the U.K. and Poland also are holding separate tenders for their own national auction platforms after they opted out of an EU-wide system of sales.
BlueNext, an exchange for environmental-related products, is owned by NYSE and Caisse des Depots et Consignations. The Paris-based company was told on July 1 by the French government that it faces a tax liability of 355 million euros. The notice followed an audit covering 2006 to 2009 related to alleged tax frauds by participants on a market operated by BlueNext, according to NYSE in a July filing.
In May, BlueNext introduced a so-called safe zone, requiring traders to verify that allowances can be traced to source after fraud and theft in the market. Members were forced to allow access by the exchange to their carbon accounts.
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