The Dynamics of a Liberalised European Gas Market – Key determinants of hub prices, and roles and risks of major players
Hub pricing is dominant in north west European gas markets and is spreading to the south and east of the Continent. A new study by Howard Rogers and Jonathan Stern finds that the most important determinants of European hub prices will be global gas market dynamics. Changes in these dynamics will create price competition between LNG from a variety of sources (including North America) and Russian pipeline gas in Europe. Changes in prices and contracts in the new competitive environment of European gas markets have had significant impacts on the roles and risks of the major groups of European gas market players. Mid-stream energy trading companies have encountered the biggest problems because hub pricing has rendered their traditional business model (at least partially) unworkable, and an urgency to move to a hub-minus/hub-plus commercial model. Should this prove impossible, companies are likely to exit the natural gas sector with significant impacts on security of supply, and the likelihood that many existing long term contracts will be unable to survive into the 2020s.