Natural gas market indicators

Data extracted in February 2018. Planned article update: April 2019

Highlights

Market share of the largest natural gas import and production companies are above 80 % in Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden (all 100%), in Greece (95%) and in Poland (83%).

Figure 1: Number of main entities bringing gas into the country and their cumulative market share, 2016

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 or by national production (IMport and PROduction  = IMPRO) and retail companies across EU Member States, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and Moldova.

In 2016 the number of main natural gas IMPRO companies (companies with a market share of 5 % or more) increased from 64 to 70 while the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies in the European Union decreased compared with 2015.


Full article


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 53 to 75 companies , but went down again in 2011 and 2012 and remained stable from 2013 to 2015. In 2016, the number of main gas companies that were on the market in the European Union increased again (excluding data from the Netherlands and using estimated figures for Denmark, Greece and Germany). The total number of natural gas IMPRO companies increased significantly (from 174 in 2003 to nearly 500 companies in 2016), which means that a significant number of new (small size) companies entered the IMPRO natural gas market during this period. Information excludes however data from the Netherlands, Cyprus and Malta (no significant gas market). Data for individual "missing years" for Denmark and Greece were estimated.

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 2016, the total number of natural gas IMPRO companies remained limited to one single company in four EU Member States (Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden). Between 2015 and 2016, the total number of IMPRO companies remained stable in 7 EU Member States and increases could be observed in seven Member States, while the number of IMPRO companies went down in nine EU Member States.

Table 1: Number of entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2016

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. Seven EU Member States declared only one single enterprise to have a significant share in 2015. In the Czech Republic, there are seven IMPRO companies of considerable size while in Ireland, in Spain and in the United Kingdom there are six. During the period 2003-2016, the number of main IMPRO companies (5 %) fluctuated between 53 and 77 companies. In 2016, there were 77 main IMPRO companies, an increase of 4 compared with 2015.

Table 2: Number of main entities bringing natural gas into the country, 2003-2016

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. Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands did not report this indicator. The lowest market coverage of IMPRO companies was reported by the Czech Republic (66 %), which means that about 34 % of the total national Czech gas market is covered by relative small IMPRO companies. In Austria, the market penetration of main companies is also relatively moderate at a level of around 73 %.

Table 3 displays the market share of the largest IMPRO company in percentage of national indigenous production and import. Apart from Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden, where only one entity dominates the national production/import, figures equal or above 80 % for the largest IMPRO company are observed in Greece (95 %) and Poland (83 %). The lowest market penetration of the largest IMPRO company at national level can be observed in the Czech republic (15 %) and in the United Kingdom (40 %).

Table 3: Market share of the largest production and import gas company, 2007-2016 (in %)

Natural gas market - retail

EU Member States (plus the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Moldova) also reported information for 2016 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 went up from 854 in 2014 to 946 retailers in 2015 and 983 in 2016. In 2016, the number of companies decreased in 5 member states, remained stable in 3 and increased in the rest of the member states.

Table 4: Number of retailers selling natural gas to final customers, 2003-2016

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 remain quite stable since 2003. Eight main retailers can be found in the United Kingdom and seven in Sweden. Markets where only one main retailer is dealing with the sales of natural gas are registered in Estonia, Latvia, and Finland.

Table 5: Number of main natural gas retailers, 2003-2016

Figure 2 illustrates the cumulative market shares of main natural gas retailers for all EU Member States (except Sweden who did not report this information), and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo 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 (77 %). The market for "minor" retail companies is equal to or 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, 2016

Table 6 displays the market share of the largest natural gas retailer in percentage of total national consumption. Apart from Latvia, where only one entity dominates the national sales market, 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 can be observed in Italy, followed by the United Kingdom (both at 21 %).

Table 6: Market share of the largest natural gas retailer, 2007-2016

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 2016".

All EU Member States (except Malta and Cyprus) plus the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Moldova 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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Main tables

Energy Statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)
Primary production of energy by resource (ten00076)
Gross inland energy consumption by fuel type (tsdcc320)
Final energy consumption by product (ten00095)
Energy Statistics - prices (t_nrg_price)
Gas prices by type of user (ten00118)

Database

Energy Statistics - main indicators (nrg_indic)
Supply of natural gas - monthly data (nrg_ind_343m)
Energy Statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quant)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10)
Supply, transformation, consumption - gas - annual data (nrg_103a)
Energy statistics - imports (by country of origin) (nrg_12)
Imports (by country of origin) - gas - annual data (nrg_124a)
Energy Statistics - exports (by country of destination) (nrg_13)
Exports (by country of destination) - gas - annual data (nrg_134a)
Energy Statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply - gas - monthly data (nrg_103m)
Energy statistics - imports (by country of origin) (nrg12m)
Imports (by country of origin) - gas - monthly data (nrg124m)
Energy statistics - exports (by country of destination) (nrg_13m)
Exports (by country of destination) - gas - monthly data (nrg_134m)
Energy Statistics - prices (nrg_price)
Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - New methodology from 2007 onwards (nrg_pc)
Gas prices for domestic consumers, from 2007 onwards, bi-annual data (nrg_pc_202)
Gas prices for industrial consumers, from 2007 onwards, bi-annual data (nrg_pc_203)

Dedicated section

Methodology