HCC accepts revised commitments proposed by DEPA, in particular with regard to the supply of natural gas through electronic auctions

By its unanimous decision dated 13.10.2016, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) accepted a proposal submitted by DEPA to revise partly the commitments adopted with earlier HCC decisions (Decisions No. 551/2012, 589/2014, 596/2014 and 618/2015), as follows:

(a) Increase the quantities auctioned through the gas release programme and, consequently, amend specific terms of the system for the supply of natural gas through electronic auctions, in view of the forthcoming scheduled annual auction
(b) Revise specific terms of the commitments pertaining to DEPA’s reservation of capacity at the points of entry of the transmission network, pending the review of the entire sub-set of the relevant commitments in light of Regulations (EU) 984/2013 and 715/2009 (relating, respectively, to capacity allocation mechanisms in gas transmission systems and to the conditions for access to transmission networks and congestion management), as implemented.

In particular, based on the revised set of commitments:

  • Supply of natural gas through electronic auctions (gas release programme)
  • Auctioned quantities of natural gas, through the system of electronic auctions, are increased from the current threshold of 10% of DEPA’s annual total quantities each preceding year gradually to: 16% in 2017, 17% in 2018, 18% in 2019 and 20% in 2020.
  • Any additional quantities auctioned, i.e. new quantities above the current 10% threshold, will only be allocated to suppliers.
  • As regards the auctioned quantities within the current 10% share, quantitative limits to participation for each participant are increased from 15% to 20%.
  • As regards the new share of auctioned quantities (i.e. above the 10% share, as increased gradually), there will be no quantitative limits to participation.Suppliers and customers of DEPA will be put on equal footing in terms of flexibility in the use of the gas purchased through electronic auctions.
  • Any amendment of the gas release programme shall occur in the context of the current commitments framework, which lasts until 2022.
  • Sales of natural gas outside Greece are excluded from the calculation of natural gas quantities to be auctioned.
  • Following the operation of the Single Natural Gas Market (SNGM), DEPA shall continue to offer, on an annual basis through SNGM, natural gas quantities corresponding to the above set percentages under any regulatory framework to be then put in place, with no further involvement of DEPA in the auctioning process and ensuing costs. In the meantime, auction costs will be revised, in consultation with the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), as to include possible additional costs resulting from the revised auction system.
  • The gas release programme shall be reviewed by the HCC, in cooperation with RAE, upon a request from DEPA, should DEPA’s market share fall below 60% in the future.

Access to network connection points – reservation of capacity at points of entry

  • Pursuant to an earlier decision (551/2012), DEPA committed to give priority to third parties (competing suppliers and customers) as regards the reservation of any future additional capacity at transmission entry points (which may result from an upgrade of capacity at such points), to offer free of charge any unused transportation capacity allocated to it at transmission entry points and also to reduce its reserved capacity per transmission entry point from 30.6.2017 onwards, subject to set quantitative limits. According to the revised commitments, the said quantitative limits for DEPA on a yearly basis are adjusted as follows: (a) at Sidirokastro (Greek-Bulgarian border): up to 67% of the current total capacity at that entry point, (b) at the remaining entry points of Kipoi (Greek-Turkish border) and Ag. Triada (LNG-Revythousa): up to 55% and 40% of the total capacity at each entry point respectively (as with earlier decisions). DEPA may reserve unused capacity exceeding those limits, assuming no third party expresses an interest, subject to a shorter notice period of 10 days. In addition, the revised commitments now cater for the possibility of reserving capacity up to 10 days for unforeseen, emergency reasons.
  • HCC shall review this entire sub-set of commitments (i.e. commitments pertaining to access and capacity caps at transmission entry points, as described above), upon a request from DEPA, provided that the new regulatory framework set out in Regulations (EU) 984/2013 and 715/2009 (relating, respectively, to capacity allocation mechanisms in gas transmission systems and to the conditions for access to transmission networks andcongestion management), is fully implemented, and provided that DEPA complies with all ensuing formalities and conditions.

Supply contracts with DEPA customers

  • The revised commitments further clarify certain aspects of an earlier decision (551/2012) regarding DEPA’s conclusion of new contracts or the renewal of contracts. In this context, DEPA commits, with regard to any new contract concluded or in case of renewal of existing contracts (a) to provide its prospective customers with the possibility to opt for a one-year duration contract, and ( b) to not enter into contracts of a duration longer than two years with customers that purchase more than 75% of their actual annual gas supply needs from DEPA, upon customers’ declaration that their needs do not exceed such threshold.

As for the remainder, HCC decisions 551/2012, 589/2014, 596/2014 and 618/2015 continue to apply. The HCC shall continue to cooperate with RAE for the effective implementation of the commitments.

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