Conexus to conduct market survey on improving Regulations of use of Inčukalns UGS
To clarify the need for amendments to Regulations Regarding the Use of Inčukalns Underground Gas Storage Facility, the unified operator for transmission and storage of natural gas Conexus Baltic Grid AS (Conexus) will conduct a market survey. The results will provide an understanding of the further improvements to the storage Regulations.
The gas supply situation in the Baltic Sea Region has changed significantly over the last few years, with several infrastructure facilities coming on stream and existing ones being upgraded:
- Finland-Estonia interconnector Balticconnector;
- Lithuania-Poland interconnector GIPL;
- LNG terminals Inkoo and Hamina in Finland;
- increasing the capacity of the Latvian-Lithuanian interconnector Kiemenai.
The increasing number and activity of users of natural gas transmission and storage systems has led to several changes in the regulatory framework governing the sector:
- auctions for capacity booking of the Inčukalns underground gas storage facility have been introduced;
- improved procedures for capacity booking at interconnection points;
- clarification of procedures for the use of fuel gas;
- harmonised approach to the determination of the requirements for the provision of security.
The changing geopolitical situation has created necessity of regulatory changes at both EU and national level, with implications for the whole natural gas market:
- a ban on deliveries of natural gas from Russia;
- requirement to ensure that underground gas storage facilities are full, i.e. meeting the filling target;
- the war started by Russia, as well as other geopolitical developments, pose security risks to infrastructure assets. The most prominent example is the failure of the Finland-Estonia interconnector Balticconnector in October this year and the expected outage of 5 months, thus limiting Finland's supply options.
Experience to date has shown that improving regulation in the field of natural gas is an ongoing process which is necessary to create the most favourable possible operating conditions for the market situation and market participants, promoting competition and ensuring market transparency.
However, not all proposed offers to improve regulation were supported by market participants. As an example, the 2022 and 2023 proposals of Conexus and the subsequent public consultation of the Public utilities commission on the introduction of a monthly curve for the injection capacity of the Inčukalns UGS, which in the view of Conexus would improve the predictability of the availability of natural gas injection capacity of the Inčukalns UGS, should be mentioned.
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory environment, we are launching a non-binding survey for market participants on the development and improvement of the current Regulations.
The market survey organised by Conexus on the necessity of improvement of the Regulations will run until November 26, 2023. Market participants are invited to submit their views on the current Regulations and to provide suggestions and proposals for their improvement in free electronic form, rating the points of the Regulations where changes are needed. Please indicate in the questionnaire which point of the Regulations should be expressed and in what precise wording.
To provide your recommendations and comments, please fill in the survey form in English or Latvian, available HERE. The survey will be open from 10.11.2023 to 26.11.2023.
Please submit your answers before the deadline.
If you have any questions about the survey or need further information, please contact Conexus Baltic Grid AS (firstname.lastname@example.org).