Recent advances in the regulatory framework for the EU gas market

Enagás is Spain’s leading natural gas transmission company, with around 12,000km of gas pipelines, three underground storage facilities and four regasification plants. With more than 30 years in the natural gas industry and part of the Executive Advisory Board for the European Autumn Gas Conference, Gastech Insights, spoke with Francisco P. de la Flor,  Director of Regulation at Enagás, to learn more about the recent regulatory developments that are evolving the European gas industry, new supplies dynamics and his predictions for the industry.

Gastech Insights: Can you please give us an update on recent advances in the European gas regulatory framework?

Francisco P de la Flor: I would say that the most important regulation the EU currently has is the so called ‘Winter Package’. With the ‘Winter Package’ there will be some adaptations that are applicable to the electricity sector but also in the governance of the gas sector. 

Gastech Insights: Will the current regulatory scheme lead to greater European interconnectivity and diversity of supply?

Francisco P de la Flor: This is one of the main purposes of the European Union: to allow energy and gas to flow freely across the member countries. We have to keep in mind that more than 80% of the gas that is consumed in the EU goes through at least two other countries, so it is essential to increase the interconnectivity through including or building new interconnections and new pipelines.

Gastech Insights: Other than the US, where are the most likely new supplies going to come from? Azerbaijan, Iran or even Canada?

Francisco P de la Flor: The supplies from the US have already started and will continue in the future. As we have seen, there are numerous new facilities that are under construction meaning a lot of new capacity will be coming on-stream in the coming years. With LNG from the US having already arrived, significant amounts of new LNG will be looking for a place and Europe should be one of the destinations for this. As time develops, LNG from other origins will hopefully begin to arrive.

Gastech Insights: What are your predictions for Europe’s gas industry in the next five years?

Francisco P de la Flor: The gas industry has to dramatically increase advocacy campaigns to not only defend itself, but to also maintain or increase its role in the energy mix. We need to work together because this isn’t something that can be done by a single company, it needs to be attempted by the industry as a whole. 

Gastech Insights: What do you enjoy most about the European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC)?

Francisco P de la Flor: The EAGC is a very important event in the gas panorama in Europe. There is a good combination of presentations and panel discussions in which you can learn a great deal from. Being able to participate or simply listen to speakers on panels providing their views is a lively and interactive experience.