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energate Gasmarkt Issue 07|2024

Topic of the month: Interview with Torsten Frank and Sebastian Kemper, Managing Directors of THE

Dr. Heiko Lohmann Dr. Heiko Lohmann

This edition is full of market rumours. However, this is mainly due to the sluggish political and bureaucratic decision-making processes. I couldn't even say for sure whether this is due to differences of opinion between the coalition parties, the work processes within the ministries or simply the complexity of the issues. But whether it's the hydrogen import strategy, the hydrogen storage strategy or the biomass strategy. The processes take longer than expected, additional expert reports or consultation processes are supposed to improve the outcomes. Market participants are constantly providing bits and pieces of information about what is currently happening but there are no transparent processes.

This also applies to the German government's power plant strategy, but for slightly different reasons. It has not yet been approved under state aid law. In June, reports circulated that the German government and the EU Commission had reached an agreement and that approval was only a matter of days away, but this also proved to be a premature assessment. Economics Minister Robert Habeck told the BDEW congress that all the "major" issues had been resolved with the Commission. But the devil is obviously in the detail. There is still no white smoke from Brussels. Potential investors in such power plants are eagerly awaiting the strategy and the capacity tenders based on it. But the longer-term prospects for the design of the electricity market, such as a capacity market or the further development of the CHP Act, also depend on the adoption of the strategy. The lengthy process is making people nervous.

This month's topic is an interview with the managing directors of Trading Hub Europe. We talked about several issues. For many market participants, the most important message is probably that there could be a distribution of surpluses in the balancing neutrality charge accounts: "Oh God," was the spontaneous reaction of one sales manager when I told him about it. Such a payout had already taken place once before, but at that time it had only led to tense discussions between the sales companies and their customers.

This is my last issue before my summer break. Enjoy the summer, dear readers, even if turbulence in the energy market cannot be ruled out. We'll be back in early September.

Topic of the month: Interview with Torsten Frank and Sebastian Kemper, Managing Directors of THE

Since 2022, the market area manager THE, which was founded in 2021, has experienced turbulent times. As a reminder, the joint market area has been in existence since 1 October 2021; THE was the result of the merger of Gaspool and NCG. During the gas crisis, the company briefly became the state arm for LNG procurement. The market area manager then became responsible for achieving the state filling level targets for storage facilities. THE was criticised fiercely, mainly for its storage management. However, the company's own business has also been characterised by the gas crisis since 2022. Prices for system control energy rose to unprecedented levels. The liquidity buffers for the SLP and RLM levy accounts were drastically increased, and the corresponding neutrality charges rose to record highs. [...]