Natural gas market indicators

Data from February 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: February 2018.

This article takes a look at the natural gas markets in the European Union (EU) (excluding Malta and Cyprus) presenting recent statistical data on the number and activities of companies that either bring natural gas into the country or by national production (IMport and PROduction  = IMPRO) and retail companies across EU Member States, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

In 2015 the number of main natural gas IMPRO companies (companies with a market share of 5 % or more) remained stable while the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies in the European Union increased compared with 2014.

Table 1: Number of entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2015
Table 2: Number of main entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2015
Figure 1: Number of main entities bringing gas and their cumulative market share, 2015
Table 3: Market share of the largest production and import gas company, 2007-2015
Table 4: Number of retailers selling natural gas to final customers, 2003-2015
Table 5: Number of main natural gas retailers, 2003-2015
Figure 2: Number of main gas retailers and their cumulative market share, 2015
Table 6: Market share of the largest natural gas retailer, 2007-2015

Main statistical findings

During the period 2003-2010, the number of main companies with a market share above 5 %, that either produce natural gas by national production or bring natural gas into the country (IMport and PROduction = IMPRO) increased from 53 to 75 companies , but went down again in 2011 and 2012. Compared with 2013 and 2014 the number of main gas companies that were on the market in 2015 in the European Union increased again (excluding data from the Netherlands and using estimated figures for Denmark, Greece and Germany). The total number of natural gas IMPRO companies increased significantly (from 174 in 2003 to nearly 500 companies in 2015), which means that a significant number of new (small size) companies entered the IMPRO natural gas market during this period. Information excludes however data from the Netherlands, Cyprus and Malta (no significant gas market). Data for individual "missing years" for Denmark and Greece were estimated.

Natural gas market - import & production (IMPRO)

The information in Table 1 refers to the total number of companies that either produce natural gas by national production or bring natural gas into the country by import (IMPRO companies). In 2015, the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies remained limited to one single company in four EU Member States (Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden). Between 2014 and 2015, the total number of IMPRO companies remained stable in 11 EU Member States and increases could be observed in seven Member States, while the number of IMPRO companies went down in four EU Member States.

Table 2 shows the number of main IMPRO companies that have a market coverage of at least 5 % of the total national indigenous production and import of natural gas. Five EU Member States declared only one single enterprise to have a significant share in 2015. In Belgium and in Spain there are six IMPRO companies of considerable size. During the period 2003-2015, the number of main IMPRO companies (5 %) fluctuated between 53 and 75 companies. In 2015, there were 73 main IMPRO companies, an increase of 2 compared with 2014.

Figure 1 displays the cumulated shares of main IMPRO companies in a given country having a share of at least 5 % of their respective national markets. Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands did not report this indicator. The lowest market coverage of IMPRO companies was reported by Austria (69 %), which means that about 31 % of the total national Austrian gas market is covered by relative small IMPRO companies. In the United Kingdom, the market penetration of main companies is also relatively moderate at a level of around 72 %.

Table 3 displays the market share of the largest IMPRO company in 2015 in percentage of national indigenous production and import. Apart from Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden, where only one entity dominates the national production/import, figures equal or above 80 % for the largest IMPRO company are observed in Poland (83 %). The lowest market penetration of the largest IMPRO company at national level can be observed in the United Kingdom and Belgium (both 33 %).

Natural gas market - retail

EU Member States (plus FYR of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina) also reported information for 2015 concerning the retailing (sales) sector for natural gas.

Table 4 presents information of the total number of retailing companies that sell natural gas to final customers. The most outstanding changes can be observed in Germany where the total number of retailers went up from 854 in 2014 to 946 retailers in 2015, in the United Kingdom where there was an increase of 18 companies and in Poland (from 78 companies in 2014 to 88 companies in 2015) . In Finland and in Denmark , the total number of retailers decreased by 3 retailers from 2014 to 2015.

Table 5 shows the number of main retailers (retailers are considered as "main" if they sell at least 5 % of the total national natural gas consumption), the figures remain quite stable since 2003. Seven main retailers can be found in the United Kingdom and in Sweden. Markets where only one main retailer is dealing with the sales of natural gas are registered in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland.

Figure 2 illustrates the cumulative market shares of main natural gas retailers for all EU Member States (except Sweden and Greece who did not report this information), and FYR of Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. If one looks to the remaining retail-market, which is the market that is covered by non-main retail companies that have a market coverage of less than 5 %, this market for "minor" retail companies is the largest in Germany (74 %). The market for "minor" retail companies is equal to or below 10 % in seven out of 24 EU Member States that reported this information.

Table 6 displays the market share of the largest natural gas retailer in 2015 in percentage of total national consumption. Apart from Latvia, where only one entity dominates the national sales market, figures above 90 % for the largest retail company can be observed in Finland and Lithuania. A relatively small market penetration for the largest retail company on national level can be observed in Hungary (21 %), followed by the United Kingdom (22 %).

Data sources and availability

The information used to create this article was collected on the basis of a questionnaire "Competition Indicators for the natural gas market 2015".

All EU Member States (except Malta and Cyprus) plus the FYR of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina returned the questionnaires to Eurostat but sometimes information for individual indicators were not reported either for confidentiality reasons or because the data was not available.

The data that is used in this article was provided on a voluntary basis.

Context

Since July 2004, small business consumers in the EU have been free to switch their gas or electricity supplier, and in July 2007 this option was extended to all consumers. Independent national regulatory authorities have been established across the Member States to ensure that suppliers and network companies operate correctly. However, a number of shortcomings were identified in the opening-up of markets, and it was therefore decided to embark upon a third legislative package of measures with the aim of ensuring that all users could take advantage of the benefits provided by a truly competitive energy market. The European Commission launched its third legislative package to liberalise energy markets in September 2007. These proposals were designed to: create a competitive energy market, expand consumer choice, promote fairer prices, result in cleaner energy, and promote the security of supply. During 2009, a number of these proposals were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, in particular the Regulation 713/2009 of 13 July 2009 establishing an agency for the cooperation of energy regulators.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Energy Statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)
Primary production of energy by resource (ten00076)
Gross inland energy consumption by fuel type (tsdcc320)
Final energy consumption by product (ten00095)
Energy Statistics - prices (t_nrg_price)
Gas prices by type of user (ten00118)

Database

Energy Statistics - main indicators (nrg_indic)
Supply of natural gas - monthly data (nrg_ind_343m)
Energy Statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quant)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10)
Supply, transformation, consumption - gas - annual data (nrg_103a)
Energy statistics - imports (by country of origin) (nrg_12)
Imports (by country of origin) - gas - annual data (nrg_124a)
Energy Statistics - exports (by country of destination) (nrg_13)
Exports (by country of destination) - gas - annual data (nrg_134a)
Energy Statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply - gas - monthly data (nrg_103m)
Energy statistics - imports (by country of origin) (nrg12m)
Imports (by country of origin) - gas - monthly data (nrg124m)
Energy statistics - exports (by country of destination) (nrg_13m)
Exports (by country of destination) - gas - monthly data (nrg_134m)
Energy Statistics - prices (nrg_price)
Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - New methodology from 2007 onwards (nrg_pc)
Gas prices for domestic consumers, from 2007 onwards, bi-annual data (nrg_pc_202)
Gas prices for industrial consumers, from 2007 onwards, bi-annual data (nrg_pc_203)

Dedicated section

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

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