Natural gas market indicators

Data extracted in May 2020.

Planned article update: May 2021

Highlights

The market share of the largest natural gas import and production companies in the EU were 100 % in Estonia and Finland and 89 % in Poland in 2018.

Number of main entities bringing gas into the country and their cumulative market share, 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 by importing it or by national production (IMport and PROduction  = IMPRO) and retail companies across EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova and Georgia.

In 2018 the number of main natural gas IMPRO companies (companies with a market share of 5 % or more) remained stable at 62 companies. The total number of natural gas IMPRO companies in the European Union, however, decreased compared with 2017.


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General overview

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 47 to 68 companies. They are now stabilised around 62 companies reported + 7 estimated for the countries that did not report the data (Denmark, Sweden and Germany). The data for the Netherlands is confidential since 2003 and has not been counted in these numbers.

The total number of natural gas IMPRO companies increased significantly from 142 in 2003 to nearly 450 companies in 2015. This means that a significant number of new (small size) companies entered the IMPRO natural gas market during this period. There is now around 440 companies (including estimations for missing data : Denmark and Sweden.

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 2018, the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies remained limited to one single company in Estonia and Finland. Between 2017 and 2018, the total number of IMPRO companies remained stable in six EU Member States. Increases could be observed in six Member States, while the number of IMPRO companies went down in ten EU Member States.

Table 1: Number of entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2018

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. Four EU Member States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland and Finland) declared only one single enterprise to have a significant share in 2018. In Ireland, there were seven IMPRO companies of considerable size, while in Spain and Hungary there were five. During the period 2003-2018, the number of main IMPRO companies (5 %) fluctuated between 47 and 68 companies. In 2018, there were 62 main IMPRO companies reported. It was the same number in 2017 and the same countries reported their numbers.

Table 2: Number of main entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2018

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. The lowest market coverage of IMPRO companies was reported by Belgium (60 %), which means that about 40 % of their total national gas market is covered by relative small IMPRO companies.

Figure 1: Number of main entities bringing gas into the country and their cumulative market share, 2018

Table 3 displays the market share of the largest IMPRO company as a share of national indigenous production and import. Apart from Estonia and Finland, where only one entity dominates the national production/import, figures equal or above 80 % for the largest IMPRO company are observed in Poland (89 %). The lowest market penetration of the largest IMPRO company at national level was observed in Ireland(23 %) and Belgium (32 %).

Table 3: Market share of the largest production and import gas company, 2007-2018 (in %)

Natural gas market - retail

EU Member States (except Malta, Cyprus and Sweden), as well as the United Kingdom, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Georgia also reported information for 2018 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 is increasing every year and stood at 990 retailers in 2018. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of retailers decreased in 13 EU Member States, remained stable in five and increased in the rest of the 24 Member States having reported the data.

Table 4: Number of retailers selling natural gas to final customers, 2003-2018

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 remained quite stable at around 90 companies for the last decade but increased to more than 105 companies in 2018 (using estimated data for Sweden). Six main retailers can be found in eight of the 24 countries having reported the data. Markets where only one main retailer is dealing with the sales of natural gas were registered in Estonia and Finland.

Table 5: Number of main natural gas retailers, 2003-2018

Figure 2 illustrates the cumulative market shares of main natural gas retailers for the EU Member States available as well as the United Kingdom, North Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova. 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 (56 %). The market for "minor" retail companies is equal to or below 10 % in nine out of 24 EU Member States that reported this information.

Figure 2: Number of main natural gas retailers to final customers and their cumulative market share, 2018

Table 6 displays the market share of the largest natural gas retailer in percentage of total national consumption. Figures equal to or above 90 % for the largest retail company can be observed in Finland and Estonia. A relatively small market penetration for the largest retail company on national level was observed in Italy (19 %), followed by Romania (25 %).

Table 6: Market share of the largest natural gas retailer, 2007-2018

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The information used to create this article was collected on the basis of a questionnaire "Competition Indicators for the natural gas market 2017".

All EU Member States except Malta, Cyprus and Sweden, plus North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Ukraine 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.

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Database

Energy statistics - market structure indicators - natural gas and electricity (nrg_market)
Market share of the largest generator in the electricity market - annual data (nrg_ind_331a)
Energy Statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy Statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quanta)
Supply, transformation and consumption - commodity balances (nrg_cb)
Supply, transformation and consumption of gas (nrg_cb_gas)
Energy Statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply of gas - monthly data (nrg_103m)
Energy statistics - prices of natural gas and electricity (nrg_price)
Energy statistics - natural gas and electricity prices (from 2007 onwards) (nrg_pc)
Gas prices for household consumers - bi-annual data (from 2007 onwards) (nrg_pc_202)
Gas prices for non-household consumers - bi-annual data (from 2007 onwards) (nrg_pc_203)
Gas prices components for household consumers - annual data (nrg_pc_202_c)
Gas prices components for non-household consumers - annual data (nrg_pc_203_c)

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Methodology