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Gas Network Codes & Guidelines

Balancing (BAL)

On 26 March 2014, the Commission adopted the second EU-wide gas Network Code on Gas Balancing of Transmission Networks (BAL). The Network Code BAL aims at fostering the short term gas markets and providing price signals as well as contributing to the development of a competitive and efficient gas wholesale market in the EU.

The Network Code BAL requires the establishment and development of balancing regimes which are based on the short term gas markets and thereby creating an economically efficient system by which gas transmission networks are balanced. It increases the financial responsibility of market players in balancing their portfolio within an Entry-Exit system, equipping them both with standardised short-term products and an information framework to do so.

It furthermore establishes the right for market players to transfer gas between two portfolios within an Entry-Exit system at the so called Virtual Trading Point through trade notifications. The overall principle is the so-called daily balancing allowing flexibility for market players to come to an end-of-day balance with possibilities for transmission system operators to implement within-day obligations only according to certain criteria based on specific system requirements. Sufficient liquidity of the short term gas market within and Entry-Exit system is a pre-requisite for a market-based balancing regime, where it is absent the Network Code foresees the possibility to implement interim measures.

The Network Code will apply from 1 October 2015.

Capacity Allocation Mechanism (CAM)

On 14 October 2013, the Commission adopted the first EU-wide gas network code on the allocation of capacity in gas pipelines. Its objective is to ensure more efficient allocation of the capacity on the interconnection points between Europe's high pressure transmission systems in order to facilitate trade in gas and support the creation of efficient gas wholesale markets in the EU.

The Network Code determines that the operators of the gas grid apply harmonized auctions, a transparent and fair way of ensuring third party access. The auctions are held at the same time, under the same rules and selling the same products across the EU, facilitating the acquirement of access to pipelines for interested network users in Europe. Online-based booking platforms shall be established to support the allocation process. Moreover, products will be sold in a bundled manner, eliminating the risk of being stuck with capacity rights for just one side of a cross-border point.

The Network Code will apply from 1 November 2015.

Congestion Management Procedures (CMP)

On 24 August 2012, the European Commission adopted rules to reduce congestion in European gas transmission pipelines. The rules will amend the existing Annex to the Gas Regulation (EC) no. 715/2009.

Energy companies that use these pipelines to transport their gas often use much less capacity than they have reserved. This prevents other parties from using the pipelines efficiently.

The new rules will make sure companies will use their reserved capacity much more efficiently. If they do not make substantial use of the capacity, they run the risk of losing it ('use-it-or-lose-it') and having it placed back on the market.

Operators of the network will also be incentivised to sell extra capacity to the market above the technical capacity of the pipelines.

Congestion in gas pipelines has long been an obstacle to a well-functioning, open and integrated gas market. The new rules are expected to improve that situation considerably and ensure that existing pipelines are used more efficiently.

Interoperability (IO)

The Framework Guidelines on Interoperability Rules for the European Gas Transmission Networks aim at improving the inter-operation of the gas systems in the EU. ACER issued a document detailing what approach should be followed for operational/technical Framework Guidelines, and in particular what issues should be part of these Framework Guidelines and at what level of detail.

Another aim of this topic exercise is to clearly relate interoperability to the other topics covered through the Framework Guidelines and Network Codes development. Interactions have to be clarified at an early stage to ensure a focused discussion during the development phase of the Guidelines.

Tariffs (TAR)

The European Energy Regulators (CEER) started working on tariff issues with the idea of developing Framework Guidelines. The European Energy Regulators (EER)'s approach consisted firstly in identifying the key tariff issues in the context of the implementation of the third package. This work was carried out by analysing the national practices in order to develop concrete policy options for different issues.

At the 20th Madrid Forum in September 2011, ACER took over the work and will consult on the possible scope of a Framework Guideline tariff with stakeholders. It should present the consultation's outcome as well as a first outline of a tariff Framework Guideline at one of the next Madrid Fora.

The THINK! Study "EU involvement in electricity and natural gas grid tarification" is analysing the necessary EU involvement in grid tarification. 

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