Natural gas price statistics - Statistics Explained

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Natural gas price statistics


Data extracted in November 2020.

Planned article update: April 2021.

Highlights


Household gas prices fell in 18 of the 24 EU-27 Member States which report natural gas prices in the household sector, during the first half of 2020, when compared to the first half of 2019.

Non-households gas prices fell in 23 of the 25 EU-27 Member States which report natural gas prices in the non-household sector, during the first half of 2020, when compared to the first half of 2019.

Household gas prices in the EU-27 highest in the Netherlands (EUR 0.0995 per kWh) and lowest in Latvia (EUR 0.0315 per kWh) during the first half of 2020.

Non-household gas prices in the EU-27 highest in the Netherlands (EUR 0.0520 per kWh) and lowest Belgium (EUR 0.0209 per kWh) during the first half of 2020.

Natural gas prices for household consumers, first half 2020

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 the United Kingdom; Liechtenstein; North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Moldova, Georgia and 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 non-household consumers.


Full article


Natural gas prices for household consumers

Highest gas prices in the Netherlands, Sweden and France

For household consumers (defined for the purpose of this article as medium-sized consumers with an annual consumption between 20 Gigajoules (GJ) and 200 GJ), natural gas prices in the first half of 2020 were highest among the EU-27 Member States in the Netherlands, Sweden and France (see Figure 1), and lowest in Romania, Hungary and Latvia. The price of natural gas for households in the Netherlands (EUR 0.0995 per kWh) was more than three times the price charged in Latvia (EUR 0.0315 per kWh).

Figure 1: Natural gas prices for household consumers, first half 2020
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

The average price in the EU-27 — a weighted average using the most recent (first half 2020) data for natural gas consumption by household consumers — was EUR 0.0656 per kWh.

Figure 2 presents the development of natural gas prices for household consumers in the EU-27 since the first half of 2008. Generally, these prices are higher in the second half of each year. This is due to the seasonal effect. Overall, there was an upward trend in natural gas total prices in the EU-27 from a low EUR 0.0558 per kWh in the second half of 2009 to a peak of EUR 0.0746 per kWh in the second half of 2013. It decreased from 2013 to 2017 but started increasing again in 2018. The first semester of 2020 is at EUR 0.0656 per kWh, lower than a year ago at the first semester of 2019 (EUR 0.0670 per kWh). The price without taxes for the first half of 2020 is below the price without taxes of the first half of 2008 adjusted for inflation. However, when including taxes, the decrease is less pronounced, since the weight of the taxes increased from 25 % in the first half of 2008 to 33 % in the first half of 2020.

Figure 2: Development of natural gas prices for household consumers, EU-27, 2008-2020
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Weight of taxes and levies differs greatly between Member States

Figure 3 shows the proportion of taxes and levies in the overall natural gas retail price for household consumers. The relative tax contribution in the first half of 2020 was smallest in Greece (8.4 %) where the country applies a low VAT rate to the basic price. We observe the highest taxes in Denmark where taxes and levies correspond to 61.7 % of the final price. In the Netherlands this percentage is 59.6 %. The VAT in the EU-27 represents 15.7 % of the total price. It ranges from 5.3 % in Greece to 22.1 % in Sweden.

Figure 3: Share of taxes and levies paid by household consumers for natural gas, first half 2020
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Largest increases in gas prices for household consumers in the Netherlands, France and Croatia

Figure 4 shows the change in natural gas prices for household consumers including all taxes, levies and VAT in national currency from the second half of 2019 to the first half of 2020. These prices fell during the period under consideration in 18 of the 24 EU-27 Member States for which data are available — Cyprus, Malta and Finland do not report natural gas prices in the household sector. We observe the largest decreases in Latvia (-29.4 %), Lithuania (-19.8 %) and Sweden (-16.0 %). Tax decreases mainly drove the reduction in Sweden. Cost of energy was the main factor for price reduction in Latvia, while both affected prices in Lithuania and Portugal. There were six Member States where natural gas prices for household consumers rose between the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020, with the largest increases recorded in the Netherlands (8.0 %), France (7.3 %) and Croatia (5.2%). Tax increases mainly affected the increase in the Netherlands. Cost of energy was the main driver for the increases in France and Croatia.

Figure 4: Change in natural gas prices for household consumers compared with previous year's same semester, first half 2020
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_202)

Natural gas prices for non-household consumers

Gas prices for non-household consumers highest in the Netherlands and Finland

For non-household consumers (defined for the purpose of this article as medium-sized consumers with an annual consumption between 10 000 GJ and 100 000 GJ), natural gas prices in the first half of 2020 were highest among the EU-27 Member States in the Netherlands (EUR 0.0520 per kWh), Finland (EUR 0.0513 per kWh) and Sweden (EUR 0.0409 per kWh). They were the lowest in Belgium (EUR 0.0209 per kWh) (see Figure 5).

The EU-27 average price — a weighted average using the most recent (first half 2020) data for natural gas consumption by non-household consumers — was EUR 0.0315 per kWh.

Figure 5: Natural gas prices for non-household consumers, first half 2020
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

Figure 6 shows the development of natural gas prices for non-household consumers in the EU-27 since the first half of 2008 . These prices display the same trend as observed for household consumers (see Figure 2) but without the seasonal effect. After falling to EUR 0.031 per kWh in the second half of 2009, the natural gas total price for non-household consumers increased each half year to peak at EUR 0.042 per kWh in the first half of 2013. Since then, it decreased every semester and reached EUR 0.029 in the second half of 2017. Data that is more recent shows an increase that started in the first half of 2018, which is followed by a decrease in the second half of 2019 (EUR 0.0309 per kWh) and an increase in the first half of 2020 (EUR 0.0315 per kWh). In the second semester of 2020, we observe the lower price excluding taxes since 2008 at EUR 0.025 per kWh. The weight of the taxes have increased from around 7 % in 2008 to around 21 % in 2020.

Figure 6: Development of natural gas prices for non-household consumers, EU-27, 2008-2020
(EUR per kWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_pc_203)

Figure 7 presents the proportion of taxes and levies that non-household consumers cannot recover in the overall natural gas price. For non-household consumers, the share of taxes in the first half of 2020 was lowest in Luxembourg (1.3%), Romania (2.0 %) and Poland (3.2 %). The Netherlands (63.1 %), Finland (36.5 %) and Denmark (35.9 %) registered the highest shares of taxes.

Figure 7: Share of taxes and levies paid by non-household consumers for natural gas, first half 2020
(%)
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 from the second half of 2019 to the first half of 2020. These prices fell in 23 EU-27 Member states out of 25 having reported their data — Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices in the non-household sector. It fell by 34.6 % in Lithuania followed by Greece (-26.5 %) and Bulgaria (-24.8% %). The main driver in the reduction of gas non-household prices is the decrease of the cost of energy. By contrast, natural gas prices for the non-household sector rose only in the Netherlands (34.4% %) and Sweden (4.5 %).

Figure 8: Change in natural gas prices for non-household consumers compared with previous year's same semester, first half 2020
(%)
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, Malta and Finland do not report natural gas prices in the household sector.

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 correspond to the basic price for natural gas, including all non-recoverable taxes and levies. Cyprus and Malta do not report natural gas prices in the non-household sector. Quantities of natural gas used for chemical processes or electricity and/or combined heat and power production are excluded from these data.

Methodology

Comparison between the 2018 and 2019 prices are made in national currencies to exclude exchange rate fluctuations between national currencies and the euro.

Prices in national currencies are converted into euro using the average exchange rate of the period for which the prices were reported.

Prices are always compared with the prices of the same semesters (i.e. year on year) in order to avoid seasonal effects.

In 2016, Regulation (EU) No 2016/1952 entered into force. It defines the obligation for the collection and dissemination of natural gas prices for household and non-household consumers. 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) No 2016/1952, the definition was changed from industrial to non-household consumers in order to have a unique methodology for all reporting countries. Until January 2017, the reporting authorities provided their price data for the household sector on a voluntary basis.

Natural 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 a number of characteristics including the amount of natural gas consumed. 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. Natural gas prices for households consumers are divided into three annual consumption bands and, for non-household consumers, into six different consumption bands.

The prices collected cover average prices over a period of six months (a half-year or semester) from January to June (first semester) and from July to December (second semester) of each year. Prices include the basic price of natural gas, transmission and distribution charges, meter rental, and other services. Natural gas prices for household consumers presented in this article include taxes, levies, non-tax levies, fees and value added tax (VAT) as this generally reflects the total price paid by household consumers. As non-household consumers are usually able to recover VAT and some other taxes, prices for non-households consumers 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).

Context

The price and reliability of energy supplies are key elements in a country’s energy supply strategy. Natural gas prices are of particular importance for international competitiveness, as natural gas might represent a significant proportion of total energy costs for industrial and service-providing businesses. Contrary to the price of fossil fuels, which are usually traded on global markets with relatively uniform prices, natural gas prices vary widely among EU Member States.

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 still dominated by (near) monopoly suppliers.

In 2008, the European Commission Facing the challenge of higher oil prices (COM(2008) 384), 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.

In July 2009, the European Parliament and Council adopted the third energy package (legislative package composed of 2 directives and 3 regulations) aimed at ensuring a real and effective choice of suppliers, as well as benefits for customers. One regulation was about the establishment of an agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators by 2011.

In May 2013, the European Council called on the Commission to carry out an in-depth analysis of the evolution of energy prices and costs in Europe.

In 2014, the European Commission, in response to the European Council request, prepared an in-depth analysis of energy prices and costs in Europe, to help policy makers understand the background context, the impact of recent price rises on consumers and the political implications. This first energy prices and costs report illustrated high global energy prices, with prices diverging considerably across EU Member States, and significantly higher for Europe than for its international trading partners, particularly the United States. Retail prices had risen more than wholesale prices because of increases in the network price components and taxes and levies. Data weaknesses led to the recommendation to improve the detail, transparency and consistency of energy price data collection and to the Commission’s proposal and the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 2016/1952. It was also decided that such an energy prices and costs report would be prepared every 2 years. The European Commission thus published such a report also in 2016 and 2018. The fourth report on energy prices and costs was published in October 2020, as part of the 2020 State of the energy union report. It focuses on progress made on the EU’s policies on the energy transition policies and initiatives related to the European Green Deal, but it also assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the recent and expected evolution of the analysed indicators.

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 is more effective when publishing and broadcasting as widely as possible prices and pricing systems.

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