Natural gas market indicators

Data extracted in March 2021.

Planned article update: March 2022

Highlights

The market share of the largest natural gas import and production companies in the EU was 100 % in Estonia, Finland and Sweden in 2019.

Natural gas market indicators 2019 data.jpg

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, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova and Georgia.

In 2019 the estimated number of main natural gas IMPRO companies (companies with a market share of 5 % or more) increased from 63 companies in 2018, to 70. The estimated total number of natural gas IMPRO companies in the European Union, however, increased by 43 compared with 2018.


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General overview

During the period 2003-2010, the estimated 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. There are now 70 reported companies plus around 7 estimated for the countries that did not report the data (Denmark 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 are now around 485 companies (including estimations for missing data : Denmark).

Natural gas market - import and 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 2019, the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies remained limited to one single company in Estonia, Finland and Sweden. Between 2018 and 2019, the total number of IMPRO companies remained stable in seven EU Member States. Increases could be observed in thirteen Member States, while the number of IMPRO companies went down in three EU Member States.

Table 1: Number of entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2019

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, Sweden and Finland) declared only one single enterprise to have a significant share in 2019. In Ireland and Spain, there were six IMPRO companies of considerable size, while in Belgium and Czechia there were five. During the period 2003-2019, the number of main IMPRO companies (5 %) fluctuated between 47 and 70 companies. In 2019, there were 70 main IMPRO companies reported, an increase of 7 when compared to 2018.

Table 2: Number of main entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2019

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 Spain (66 %), which means that about 34 % of their total national gas market is covered by relatively small IMPRO companies.

Figure 1: Number of main entities bringing gas into the country and their cumulative market share, 2019

Table 3 displays the market share of the largest IMPRO company as a share of national indigenous production and import. Apart from Estonia, Sweden 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 (88 %). The lowest market penetration of the largest IMPRO company at national level was observed in Ireland (30 %) and Belgium (31 %).

Table 3: Market share of the largest production and import gas company, 2007-2019 (in %)

Natural gas market - retail

EU Member States (except Malta and Cyprus), as well as North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Georgia also reported information for 2019 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 2019, Germany has the higher number of retailers, 985, followed by Italy (446). Between 2018 and 2019, the number of retailers decreased in eight EU Member States, remained stable in three 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, 2003-2019

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 105 companies in 2018 and 106 companies in 2019. 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, 2003-2019

Figure 2 illustrates the cumulative market shares of main natural gas retailers for the EU Member States available as well as North Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova. Looking at 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 (73.5 %). 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, 2019

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 Spain (20 %).

Table 6: Market share of the largest natural gas retailer, 2007-2019

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 2019".

All EU Member States except Malta and Cyprus, 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, repealed by Regulation (EU) 2019/942 of 5 June 2019 establishing a European Union 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