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Issue title:

20 years of Gasmarkt

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My ‘Gasmarkt’ is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The publication is almost as old as the liberalisation of the gas market in Germany. Formally, liberalisation began in 1998 with a first amendment to the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) and an amendment to the Antitrust Act (GWB). These contained two essential regulations: Every gas user in Germany was free to choose their electricity or gas supplier (EnWG amendment). In principle, every supplier had the right to use the gas or power grids to supply customers (GWB). It was on this basis that my boss at the time, Ben Schlemmermeier, managing director and partner of LBD Beratungsgesellschaft, sent me to the UK in 1999 to buy gas for municipal utilities (‘Stadtwerke’). Physically, this was feasible because the interconnector between Great Britain and Belgium had been in operation since 1998. The whole endeavour was still a bit heroic at the time, but I had offers and was already negotiating possible third-party access to pipelines in Germany (right at the beginning with the Thyssengas, which was still an integrated midstream gas company back then).

In the early years, this publication naturally focused on the ups and downs of the efforts to liberalise the gas market. It was only years later that I started to look more closely at the demand side. ‘Green gases’ in the form of biomethane were a topic in the Gasmarkt relatively early, and years later hydrogen was added as a new option to the coverage. This publication has always been accompanied by upheavals. The most recent was the epochal crisis caused by the loss of Russian volumes. In this month's issue, I try to trace the main lines of development over the past 20 years. Of course, this has resulted in a very subjective assessment.

This editorial is also an excellent opportunity to say thank you. Thanks to many, many market participants in their various roles who not only provide me with information but also discuss market developments with me and explain them to me. As a rule, they do not wish to be quoted. For me, these conversations, phone calls, emails or messages are enormously important and helpful. I also want to thank all the people at my partner ener|gate, who have wrestled with my manuscripts for 20 years and have taken care of you as subscribers. I am sure they will continue to do so.

It is unlikely that the 20 years will one day become 40 years. But I will keep on writing. I enjoy it, and as long as you, dear readers, enjoy it too, I am happy!

TOPIC OF THE MONTH 20 years of Gasmarkt

In the first edition in August 2003 (which strictly speaking means that the Gasmarkt is already a little older than 20 years) three topics emerged that are basically still relevant today: 1. E.ON's new corporate structure that integrated Ruhrgas into the Group. The merger itself had already been completed earlier. The renaming of Ruhrgas to E.ON Ruhrgas did not take place until 1 July 2004. The merger was certainly the most significant event for the development of the German gas market in terms of industry policy. The old structure and the traditional market balance, which basically dated back to the coke oven gas era, were thus dissolved. The changes from E.ON Ruhrgas to Uniper, the struggle for Uniper's independence and the near insolvency after the curtailment of Russian supplies are among the topics that have accompanied me for 20 years and were of great importance for the market structure. [...]