Natural gas price statistics
- Data extracted in June 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: November 2017.
This article highlights the development of natural gas prices both for industrial and household consumers within the European Union (EU); it also includes price data from Liechtenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and, for the first time, Ukraine.
The price of energy in the EU depends on a range of different supply and demand conditions, including the geopolitical situation, the national energy mix, import diversification, network costs, environmental protection costs, severe weather conditions, or levels of excise and taxation. Note that prices presented in this article include taxes, levies and VAT for household consumers but exclude refundable taxes and levies and VAT for industrial/business consumers.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
Main statistical findings
An overview of average prices in euro per kilowatt-hour (EUR per kWh) for natural gas over the last three years (second half of each year) is presented in Table 1.
Natural gas prices for household consumers
For household consumers (defined for the purpose of this article as medium-sized consumers with an annual consumption within the range of 20 Gigajoules (GJ) < consumption < 200 GJ), natural gas prices during the second half of 2016 were highest among the EU Member States in Sweden, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands (see Figure 1). The lowest natural gas prices were in Bulgaria, Romania and Estonia. The price of natural gas for households in Sweden (EUR 0.114 per kWh) was more than three times the price that was charged in Bulgaria (EUR 0.031 per kWh).
The average price in the EU-28 — a weighted average using the most recent (2015) data for the quantity of consumption by households — was EUR 0.064 per kWh.
The development of natural gas prices for household consumers in the EU-28 since the first half of 2008 is presented in Figure 2. Generally, these prices increased between the first and second half of each year and then fell back between the second half of one year and the first half of the next, the only exception being the fall recorded between the first and second halves of 2009. Overall there was an upward trend to natural gas prices in the EU-28 from a low of EUR 0.052 per kWh in the first half of 2010 to a peak of EUR 0.072 per kWh in the second half of 2014. More recently, the fall between the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 was stronger than in all other years shown, while the subsequent increase between the first and second halves of 2016 was particularly weak.
Figure 3 shows the change in natural gas prices for household consumers including all taxes, levies and VAT in national currency between the second half of 2015 and the second half of 2016; these prices fell during the period under consideration in 22 of the 25 EU Member States for which data are available — Cyprus, Malta and Finland do not report these prices. In Croatia and Bulgaria, the gas price fell by as much as 20.4 %, while relatively large falls were also recorded in Portugal (-17.0 %) and Latvia (16.3 %). There were only three Member States where natural gas prices for household consumers rose between the second half of 2015 and the second half of 2016 and these were all modest increases: Sweden (0.2 %), the Netherlands (0.6 %) and Hungary (1.5 %).
The proportion of taxes and levies in the overall natural gas retail price for household consumers is shown in Figure 4. The relative amount of tax contribution in the second half of 2016 was smallest in the United Kingdom (7.0 %) where a relatively low VAT rate was applied to the basic price. The highest taxes were charged in Denmark where 58.3 % of the final price was made up of taxes and levies, with this share also exceeding half in the Netherlands (50.7 %).
Natural gas prices for industrial consumers
For industrial consumers (defined for the purpose of this article as medium-size consumers with an annual consumption within the range of 10 000 GJ < consumption < 100 000 GJ), natural gas prices during the second half of 2016 were highest among the EU Member States in Finland (EUR 0.044 per kWh), Sweden and France (both EUR 0.038 per kWh); they were lowest in Bulgaria (EUR 0.019 per kWh) — see Figure 5. The EU-28 average price — a weighted average using the most recent (2015) national data for the quantity of consumption by industrial consumers — was EUR 0.030 per kWh.
The development of natural gas prices for industrial consumers in the EU-28 since the first half of 2008 is shown in Figure 6: these prices did not display the same intra-annual developments observed for household consumers (see Figure 2). After falling to a low of EUR 0.030 per kWh in the second half of 2009, gas prices for industrial consumers increased each half year to peak at EUR 0.041 per kWh in the first half of 2013, before returning to the same low point (EUR 0.030 per kWh) in the second half of 2016 as prices fell for seven successive half year periods.
Figure 7 shows the change in natural gas prices for industrial consumers including all non-recoverable taxes and levies in national currency terms between the second half of 2015 and the second half of 2016; these prices fell during this period in 23 out of the 26 EU Member States for which data are available — Cyprus and Malta do not report these prices. The biggest price reductions were observed in Bulgaria (28.7 %) and Portugal (27.2 %), while prices also fell by more than 20.0 % in Poland, Greece and Croatia. By contrast, there were only three Member States where natural gas prices increased between the second half of 2015 and the second half of 2016 — Lithuania (12.4 %), Finland (4.3 %) and France (3.0 %).
The proportion of taxes and levies that cannot be recovered by industrial consumers in the overall natural gas price is presented in Figure 8. For industrial consumers, the relative amount of tax contribution in the second half of 2016 was lowest in Lithuania where no energy or other taxes were applied. The highest shares of taxes were registered in Finland (35.7%), Romania (31.7%) and Denmark (30.6 %).
Data sources and availability
Defining household consumers
Throughout this article, references to household consumers relate to the medium standard household consumption band with an annual consumption of natural gas (only piped gas is considered) between 5 600 kWh and 56 000 kWh (20 Gigajoule (GJ) and 200 GJ). All figures are consumer retail prices and include taxes, levies and VAT. Finland, Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices for household consumers.
Note that the comparison between the 2015 and 2016 prices are made with prices in national currencies in order to exclude the influence of changes in exchange rates between national currencies and the euro for those EU Member States and non-member countries that do not use the euro.
Defining industrial consumers
Throughout this article, references to industrial consumers relate to the medium standard industrial consumption band with an annual consumption of natural gas between 2 778 and 27 778 GWh (10 000 and 100 000 GJ). Prices are presented corresponding to the basic price for natural gas, including all non-recoverable taxes and levies.
Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices for industrial consumers. Quantities of natural gas that are used for chemical processes or electricity and/or combined heat and power production are excluded from these data.
Due to a change in methodology from 2007 onwards, there is a break in series and hence only a relatively short time series is available. Nevertheless, even in this relatively short timeframe, gas prices have fluctuated considerably.
The transparency of energy prices is guaranteed within the EU through the obligation for EU Member States to send Eurostat information relating to prices for different categories of industrial consumers, as well as data relating to market shares, conditions of sale, and pricing systems; prices for household consumers are provided on a voluntary basis.
Gas tariffs or price schemes vary from one supplier to another. They may result from negotiated contracts, especially for large industrial consumers. For smaller consumers, they are generally set according to the amount of gas consumed along with a number of other characteristics; most tariffs also include some form of fixed charge. There is, therefore, no single price for natural gas. In order to compare prices over time and between EU Member States, this article shows information for consumption bands for household consumers and for industrial consumers. There are in total three different types of households for which natural gas prices are collected following different annual consumption bands. Across industrial consumers, natural gas prices are collected for a total of six different types of users.
Statistics on natural gas prices charged to industrial consumers are collected under the legal basis of a European Commission Decision (2007/394/EC) of 7 June 2007 amending Council Directive (90/377/EEC) with regard to the methodology to be applied for the collection of gas and electricity prices. Directive 2008/92/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 22 October 2008 concerns procedures to improve the transparency of gas and electricity prices charged to industrial end-users. As noted above, gas prices for households are collected on a voluntary basis.
The prices collected cover average prices over a period of six months (a half year or semester) from January to June (first half or semester 1) and from July to December (second half or semester 2) of each year. Prices include the basic price of gas, transmission and distribution charges, meter rental, and other services. The unit for gas prices is that of euro per kilowatt hour (EUR per kWh).
The price and reliability of energy supplies, are key elements in a country’s energy supply strategy. Gas prices are of particular importance for international competitiveness, as gas might represent a significant proportion of total energy costs for industrial and service-providing businesses. In contrast to the price of other fossil fuels, which are usually traded on global markets with relatively uniform prices, there is a wider range of prices within the EU Member States for natural gas.
These issues were touched upon in a Communication from the European Commission Facing the challenge of higher oil prices (COM(2008) 384), which called on the EU to become more efficient in its use of energy, and less dependent on fossil fuels — in particular, by following the approach laid out in the climate change and renewable energy package.
The EU has acted to liberalise electricity and gas markets since the second half of the 1990s. Directives adopted in 2003 established common rules for internal markets for electricity and natural gas. Deadlines were set for opening markets and allowing customers to choose their supplier: as of 1 July 2004 for business customers and as of 1 July 2007 for all consumers (including households). Some EU Member States anticipated the liberalisation process, while others were much slower in adopting the necessary measures. Indeed, significant barriers to entry remain in many electricity and natural gas markets as seen through the number of markets that are still dominated by (near) monopoly suppliers. In July 2009, the European Parliament and Council adopted a third package of legislative proposals aimed at ensuring a real and effective choice of suppliers, as well as benefits for customers. It is thought that increased transparency for gas and electricity prices should help promote fair competition, by encouraging consumers to choose between different energy sources (oil, coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources) and different suppliers. Energy price transparency can be made more effective by publishing and broadcasting as widely as possible prices and pricing systems.
Further Eurostat information
- Energy (t_nrg), see
- Energy Statistics - prices (t_nrg_price)
- Gas prices by type of user (ten00118)
- Energy (nrg), see:
- Energy Statistics - prices of natural gas and electricity (nrg_price)
- Energy Statistics - natural gas and electricity prices (from 2007 onwards) (nrg_pc)
- Energy Statistics - natural gas and electricity prices (until 2007) (nrg_pc_h)
Methodology / Metadata
- Energy statistics — Gas prices for domestic and industrial consumers (ESMS metadata file — nrg_pc_202_esms)
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- Weekly oil bulletin (weekly pump prices)
- Single market progress report for gas and electricity