The first trade on Poland’s natural gas exchange was 4.9 percent more expensive than the European benchmark price on the Netherlands’ Title Transfer Facility as the country begins its move away from a regulated market.
Polish gas for January began trading at 116.57 zloty ($37.95) a megawatt-hour, Chief Executive Officer Ireneusz Lazor told reporters in Warsaw today. That compares to 27.30 euros ($36.19) a megawatt-hour for front-month gas on the TTF at 12:42 p.m. London time.
The price is near the regulated wholesale price, Marek Woszczyk acting chief executive officer of the Energy Regulatory Office, told reporters today. After a November price cut, Poland pays about $450 per 1,000 cubic meters ($41 per megawatt-hour) to OAO Gazprom, supplier of 60 percent of gas to the dominant domestic supplier Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA. The remainder comes from cheaper local sources.
Poland has started a gas exchange in response to the European Commission’s plan to create an internal gas market for the bloc. It joins hubs in the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, France and Austria where growing volumes of traded gas are challenging Gazprom’s preference for long-term contracts tied to the price of oil.
“We’re aiming at billions of cubic meters to be traded on the exchange and Warsaw becoming a hub for the region, including Baltic countries, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski told journalists today.
The Polish government is preparing legislation that will force PGNiG to sell 30 percent of its gas on the exchange to help kick-start the market.
PGNiG had earlier agreed that it will sell 100 million cubic meters of gas quarterly via the exchange to allow for the bourse to start. That compares with average daily December consumption of 46 million cubic meters. The country consumes some 14.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
“Once 1 billion cubic meters is being sold on the market the road to liberalize the market for the largest industrial users will be clear,” Woszczyk said today. “My assumption is that this will happen in the first quarter.”