Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, is a vital component of the world's energy mix. On a global scale, resources are spread amongst all continents and remain abundant. Gas users, present in virtually all sectors of the economy, receive this commodity through an elaborate mix of transport infrastructure, ranging from transnational pipelines to LNG vessels and regasification terminals. The people and companies involved in the gas business within the EU use a variety of long term contracts and wholesale trading points (hubs) to price the gas and to optimise their risk exposure.
At a time when European reserves are being depleted and consumers' appetite continues to increase, natural gas is becoming critically important to the EU. Supplying European consumers with natural gas which is both affordable and reliable, continues to be a major objective: Member States and the European Commission (EC) consider that the creation of an efficient and well functioning internal market for gas may be the most potent response to the challenges and uncertainties of tomorrow. A reliable, transparent and interconnected market could address a variety of complex issues including security of supply and global warming.