Natural gas price statistics

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Data extracted in October 2018.

Planned article update: May 2019.

Highlights


Household gas prices in the EU highest in Sweden (EUR 0.11 per kWh) and lowest in Romania (EUR 0.03 per kWh) during the first half of 2018.

Non-household gas prices in the EU highest in Finland (EUR 0.07 per kWh) and lowest in Belgium (EUR 0.03 per kWh) during the first half of 2018.

Gas prices (including taxes) for household consumers, first half 2018


This article highlights the development of natural gas prices for household and non-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, Ukraine and Georgia.

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 non-household consumers.


Full article


Natural gas prices for household consumers

Highest gas prices in Sweden, Denmark and Netherland

An overview of average prices in euro per kilowatt-hour (EUR per kWh) for natural gas over the last three years (first half of each year in order to avoid seasonal effect) is presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Natural gas prices, first half of year, 2016-2018
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202) and (nrg_pc_203)

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 first half of 2018 were highest among the EU Member States in Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands (see Figure 1), and lowest in Romania, Hungary and Croatia. The price of natural gas for households in Sweden (EUR 0.113 per kWh) was nearly four times the price that was charged in Romania (EUR 0.032 per kWh).

Figure 1: Natural gas prices for household consumers, first half 2018
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

The average price in the EU-28 — a weighted average using the most recent (2016) data for the quantity of consumption by households — was EUR 0.059 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 are higher in the second semester of each years. This is due to the seasonal effect. Overall there was an upward trend to natural gas prices in the EU-28 from a low 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. Since then, the price has decreased continuously but the latest data shows a small increase for the first semester of 2018 compared with the first semester of 2017.

Figure 2: Development of natural gas prices for household consumers, EU-28 and EA, 2008-2018
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Weight of taxes and levies differs greatly between Member states

The proportion of taxes and levies in the overall natural gas retail price for household consumers is shown in Figure 3. The relative amount of tax contribution in the fist half of 2018 was smallest in the United Kingdom (8.7 %) where a low VAT rate is applied to the basic price. The highest taxes were charged in Denmark where 55.0 % of the final price was made up of taxes and levies, with this share also exceeding half of the price in the Netherlands (53.5 %).

Figure 3: Share of taxes and levies paid by household consumers for natural gas, first half 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Largest increases in gas prices for household consumers in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Netherlands

Figure 4 shows the change in natural gas prices for household consumers including all taxes, levies and VAT in national currency between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018. These prices fell during the period under consideration in 9 of the 24 EU Member States for which data are available — Cyprus, Malta and Finland do not consume natural gas in households. The largest decreases were observed in Estonia (-4.3%), Portugal (-1.8%) and Luxembourg (-1.7%). There were 14 Member States where natural gas prices for household consumers rose between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, with largest increases recorded in Bulgaria (14.9%), Lithuania (9.3%) and Netherlands (6.8%).

Figure 4: Change in natural gas prices for household consumers compared with previous year, same semester, first half 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Natural gas prices for non-household consumers

Gas prices for non-household consumers highest in Finland and Sweden

For non-household 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 first half of 2018 were highest among the EU Member States in Finland (EUR 0.060 per kWh), Sweden (EUR 0.048 per kWh) and the Netherlands (EUR 0.038 per kWh), and lowest in Belgium (EUR 0.023 per kWh) (see Figure 5).

The EU-28 average price — a weighted average using the most recent (2016) national data for the quantity of consumption by non-household consumers — was EUR 0.031 per kWh.

Figure 5: Natural gas prices for non-household consumers, first half 2018
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

The development of natural gas prices for non-household consumers in the EU-28 since the first half of 2008 is shown in Figure 6: these prices do not display the same intra-annual developments observed for household consumers (see Figure 2). After falling to EUR 0.030 per kWh in the second half of 2009, gas prices for non-household consumers increased each half year to peak at EUR 0.041 per kWh in the first half of 2013. Since then, it decreased every semesters and reached EUR 0.028 in the second half of 2017. The latest data shows a significant increase for the first semester 2018.

Figure 6: Development of natural gas prices for non-household consumers, EU-28 and EA, 2008-2018
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

The proportion of taxes and levies that cannot be recovered by non-household consumers in the overall natural gas price is presented in Figure 7. For non-household consumers, the relative amount of tax contribution in the first half of 2018 was lowest in Luxembourg (1.3%), Spain (1.7%) and Croatia (2.0%). The highest shares of taxes were registered in the Netherlands (43.0%), Finland (30%) and Romania (29.2%).

Figure 7: Share of non-recoverable taxes and levies paid by non-household consumers for natural gas, first half 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

Development of gas prices for non-household consumers

Figure 8 shows the change in natural gas prices for non-household consumers including all non-recoverable taxes and levies in national currency terms between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018. These prices fell during this period in 6 out of the 25 EU Member States for which data are available — Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices for non-household consumers and data for Greece are not available. The biggest price reductions were observed in Hungary and Belgium (5.5 and 5.3% respectively). By contrast, natural gas prices for the non-household sector rose significantly in Lithuania (32.5%), Finland (28.9%) and Sweden (22.7%).

Figure 8: Change in natural gas prices for non-household consumers compared with previous year, same semester, first half 2018
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Data sources

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 5 555 kWh and 55 555 kWh (20 Gigajoule (GJ) and 200 GJ). All figures are consumer retail prices and include taxes, levies and VAT. Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices and Finland do not report natural gas prices for household consumers. Greece consider their data as confidential.

Note that the comparison between the 2018 and 2017 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 non-household consumers

Throughout this article, references to non-household consumers relate to the medium standard non-household 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 non-household 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.

Context

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.

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Main tables

Energy Statistics - prices (t_nrg_price)
Gas prices by type of user (ten00118)

Database

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)

Dedicated section

Methodology

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.

In 2016, Regulation (EU) 2016/1952 entered into force that defines the obligation for the collection and dissemination of natural gas prices for household and non-household consumers. Until January 2017, price data for the household sector was provided by the reporting authorities on a voluntary basis. Until 2016, the domain of non-household consumers was defined as industrial consumers, but reporting authorities were allowed to include other non-household consumers. With the introduction of Regulation (EU) 2016/1952, the definition was changed from industrial to non-household consumers in order to have a unique methodology for all reporting countries.

Gas tariffs or price schemes vary from one supplier to another. They may result from negotiated contracts, especially for large non-household 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 non-household consumers. There are in total three different types of households for which natural gas prices are collected following different annual consumption bands. Across non-household consumers, natural gas prices are collected for a total of six different types of users.

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 the natural gas, transmission and distribution charges, meter rental, and other services. Natural gas prices for household consumers are presented including taxes, levies, non-tax levies, fees and value added tax (VAT) as this generally reflects the end price paid by household consumers. As non-household consumers are usually able to recover VAT and some other taxes, prices for enterprises are shown without VAT and other recoverable taxes/levies/fees. The unit for natural gas prices is that of euro per kilowatt hour (EUR per kWh).