A fully functioning and interconnected internal energy market is crucial for maintaining security of energy supply, increasing competitiveness and ensuring that all consumers can purchase energy at affordable prices. Europe's cross-border gas networks operate according to rules that regulate who can use them and under what conditions. To further advance interconnection and boost trade, the rules, which previously fell under national legislation, have progressed into EU-wide network codes and guidelines.
The European Gas Regulatory Forum
The European Gas Regulatory Forum, also known as the Madrid Forum, gathers key stakeholders across the European gas sector, as well as stakeholders from the electricity sector, to discuss issues related to the creation of the internal gas market and on decarbonising the European gas industry. The forum participants include national regulatory authorities, EU national governments, the European Commission, transmission system operators, gas suppliers and traders, consumers, network users, and gas exchangers. It is organised twice a year in Madrid and is co-hosted by the Spanish energy regulator Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia and the Commission.
How network codes for gas are developed
Each year, the Commission draws up an 'annual priority list' of areas to be included in the development of network codes, with input from a public consultation. On the basis of this, as well as further input from the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), the Commission adopts proposals for network codes. To ensure coherence between the national and the EU level, a gas cross-border committee with specialists from national energy ministers reviews the proposals before the Commission adopts them, with approval from the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
In addition, the network codes are being applied, step by step, in the Energy Community, an international organisation that brings together the EU and its neighbours to create an integrated pan-European energy market.
Adopted network codes
The network code on interoperability and data exchange rules coordinates the complex technical procedures used by network operators within the EU and possibly with those used by network operators in the Energy Community and other countries neighbouring the EU.
The network code on gas balancing of transmission networks sets out gas balancing rules, including the responsibilities of transmission system operators and users.
The network code on capacity allocation mechanisms in gas transmission systems requires gas grid operators to use harmonised auctions when selling access to pipelines. These auctions sell the same product at the same time and according to the same rules across the EU.
The Commission's rules on congestion management procedures aim to reduce congestion in gas pipelines. Companies are required to make use of their reserved capacity or risk losing it, while unused capacity should be placed back on the market.
The network code on harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas enhances tariff transparency and coherency by harmonising basic principles and definitions used in tariff calculation, and it includes a mandatory comparison of national tariff-setting methodologies against a benchmark methodology. It also stipulates publication requirements for information on tariffs and revenues of transmission system operators.
- Guidance on best practices for congestion management procedures in natural gas transmission networks [SWD(2014) 250]
- Madrid Forum - previous and upcoming meetings
- Energy Community
- Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)
- European Network of Tranmission SYstem Operators for Gas (ENTSOG)
- Decision on the establishment of the 2018 annual priority list for the development of network codes and guidelines (2018/496/EU)
- Regulation establishing a network code on interoperability and data exchange rules (2015/703/EU)
- Regulation establishing a network code on gas balancing and transmission networks (2014/312/EU)
- Regulation establishing a network code on capacity allocation mechanisms in gas transmission systems and repealing Regulation (2013/984/EU) (2017/459/EU)
- Decision on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks (2012/490/EU)
- Regulation on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks (715/2009/EC)
- Regulation establishing a network code on harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas (2017/460/EU)