Statistics Explained

Natural gas market indicators

Data extracted in February 2022.

Planned article update: 15 March 2023

Highlights

The market share of the largest natural gas import and production company was 25 % in Spain, 26 % in Czechia and 35% in Belgium in 2020.

Visual gas.jpg

This article takes a look at the natural gas markets in the European Union (EU). It presents recent statistical data on market concentration. Specifically, it analyses the number and activities of companies that bring natural gas to the national market by importing it or producing it (IMport and PROduction = IMPRO), and retail companies across EU Member States, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Moldova and Georgia. At the time of writing, Ireland had not submitted their data. Therefore, it is not included in this article (except in estimations in the next part "General overview"). For Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands the data is only partially available.

In 2020 the estimated number of main natural gas IMPRO companies (companies with a market share of 5 % or more) increased from 65 companies in 2019 to 76. The estimated total number of natural gas IMPRO companies in the European Union, however, decreased by 4 compared to 2019.

(*)This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.


Full article


General overview

During 2013-2020, the estimated number of main companies with a market share above 5 %, that either produced natural gas by national production or brought natural gas into the country (IMport and PROduction = IMPRO) increased from 54 to 76 companies in the EU. To this figure we can add around 13 companies estimated for the countries that did not report this data (Denmark, Germany and Ireland). The data for the Netherlands has been confidential since 2013 and is therefore not included in these figures.

In the EU, the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies increased significantly in the period from 2013, when the figure stood at 332 (excluding Denmark and Ireland, for which estimations are included in the 2020 data in the next sentence). In 2020, there were around 480 companies (including estimations for missing data: Denmark and Ireland). This means that a significant number of new (small size) companies entered the IMPRO natural gas market during this period.

Natural gas market - import and production (IMPRO)

The information in Table 1 refers to the total number of companies that bring natural gas to the national market by importing it or producing it (IMPRO companies). In 2020, one single company dominated the market in Estonia, Malta and Sweden. Finland saw the biggest increase, from 1 IMPRO company in 2019 to 21 in 2020, because the Finnish gas market was opened to competition, giving third parties equal access to gas networks, on the 1st of January 2020. Between 2019 and 2020; the total number of IMPRO companies remained stable in five EU Member States (Estonia, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and Sweden). Increases could be observed in six Member States (Bulgaria, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria and Finland), while the number of IMPRO companies went down in thirteen EU Member States.

Table 1: Number of entities producing natural gas by national production or bringing natural gas into the country, 2013-2020
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

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. Three EU Member States (Estonia, Malta and Sweden) declared only one single enterprise to have a significant share in 2020. In Spain there were nine IMPRO companies of considerable size, which is the highest figure in the EU, while in Czechia there were six. During the period 2013-2020, the number of main IMPRO companies (5 %) in the EU fluctuated between 54 and 76 companies. Compared to 2019, the number of main IMPRO companies increased by 11.

Table 2: Number of main entities producing natural gas by national production or bringing natural gas into the country, 2013-2020
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Figure 1 displays the cumulated market shares of main IMPRO companies in a given country having each a share of at least 5 % of their respective national markets. Market dominance was lowest in Belgium (73.2 %), which means that relatively small IMPRO companies cover 26.8 % of their total national gas market.

Figure 1: Number of main entities producing natural gas by national production or bringing natural gas into the country and their cumulative market share, 2020
(dimensionless and %)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Table 3 displays the market share of the single largest IMPRO company as a share of national indigenous production and import. Apart from Estonia, Malta and Sweden, where only one entity dominates the national market, figures above 80 % for the largest IMPRO company are observed in Poland (88 %). The lowest market penetration of the largest IMPRO company at national level was observed in Spain (25 %) and Czechia (26 %).

Table 3: Market share of the largest production and import gas company, 2013-2020
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Natural gas market - retail

EU Member States (except Ireland), as well as Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova and Georgia also reported information for 2020 concerning the retailing (sales) sector for natural gas.

Table 4 presents information on the total number of retailing companies that sell natural gas to final customers. In 2020, Germany had by far the highest number of retailers, 979, followed by Italy with 612. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of retailers decreased in seven EU Member States, remained stable in nine and increased in the rest of the 26 Member States having reported the data.

Table 4: Number of retailers selling natural gas to final customers, 2013-2020
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

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 have been slightly increasing since 2013 and reached 104 in 2020. The largest number of main retailers, six, were operating in five of the 26 countries that report data. Malta has a monopolistic market.

Table 5: Number of main natural gas retailers, 2013-2020
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Figure 2 illustrates the cumulative market shares of main natural gas retailers for the EU Member States available as well as for North Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Georgia. Looking at the remaining retail market, which is the market that is covered by smaller retail companies that have a market coverage of less than 5 %, this market was largest in Germany (73 %). This market share was below 10 % in eight out of 25 EU Member States that reported this information.

Figure 2: Number of main natural gas retailers to final customers and their cumulative market share, 2020
(dimensionless and %)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Table 6 displays the market share of the largest natural gas retailer in percent of total national consumption. This share was 100 % in 2020 for Malta, having only one retailer on the market. Bulgaria was in the second place with a 74 % market share of the largest natural gas retailer. A relatively small market penetration for the largest retail company on national level was observed in Italy (18 %), followed by Spain (23 %) and Romania (24 %).

Table 6: Market share of the largest natural gas retailer, 2013-2020
(%)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_market)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The information on electricity and natural gas market indicators is collected via a voluntary data collection. Although the participation of countries in this voluntary data collection is very high, sometimes the information on individual indicators is not available or is confidential.

The full dataset is available at

Context

The EU has acted to liberalize 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. Up to now, 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 2019, the European Commission presented the Clean energy for all Europeans package. The Commission completed a comprehensive update of its energy policy framework to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy and to deliver on the EU’s Paris Agreement commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas aims to introduce common rules for the transmission, distribution, supply and storage of natural gas with the objectives of providing market access and enabling fair and non-discriminatory competition.

Regulation (EU) 2019/942 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. ACER, among others, assists the regulatory authorities in carrying out, at EU level, the regulatory tasks performed in the EU countries.


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Database

Energy statistics - market structure indicators - natural gas and electricity (nrg_market)
Energy market indicator (nrg_ind_market)
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)
Household consumption volumes of electricity by consumption bands (nrg_pc_204_v)
Non-household consumption volumes of electricity by consumption bands (nrg_pc_205_v)
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)

Dedicated section

Methodology