The SEEGAS initiative, which aims to enhance the security of gas supplies to central and southeast European nations, has made significant progress in diversifying away from Russian gas. Gas transmission system operators from the region held their third extraordinary crisis response meeting in Vienna on March 30th and reported the implementation of various measures to achieve this goal. These measures include the commissioning of the Baltic Pipe connecting Poland to Denmark and Norway, the completion of much-needed interconnectors in central and southeast Europe, and the expansion of regasification capacity in Greece and Turkey.
Greek operator DESFA has announced its intention to increase the capacity of the Greek gas grid to enable more internal and regional supplies by holding a market test, following the successful recent auctions for regasification capacity and booking of unloading slots for the period 2023-2027. Turkish gas incumbent BOTAS also expressed its readiness to contribute to the region's security of supply, with a current annual export capacity to Bulgaria of three billion cubic meters, potentially increasing to 15-20bcm. However, concerns were raised about possible supplies from Turkey, given the lack of an interconnection agreement defining the technical details related to cross-border flows between Turkey and Bulgaria.
The forum also highlighted the lack of cross-border trading between Ukraine and Romania, as the latter does not allow volumes to be exported to Ukraine from the domestic market. Representatives of the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator GTSOU and storage operator UTG reiterated the importance of foreign companies doing business with Ukraine by importing and injecting volumes into local facilities.
Additionally, the SEEGAS forum continued on March 31st with a meeting of regional exchanges. These exchanges are working together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and international consultants Kantor to produce a study for the integration of regional clearing operations. The forum also welcomed the CEO and founder of the Tel Aviv-based East Med Energy Exchange (EMEX), Doron Liban, who presented the exchange's gas physical spot market, which opened last November.
The SEEGAS initiative remains committed to further diversifying and integrating gas markets in the region. The regional exchanges are collaborating with the EBRD and international consultants Kantor to produce a study for the integration of regional clearing operations.
The conclusions can be found here.
Vienna, 30-31 March 2023