Miguel Ángel Lasheras: “Regulation on the gas sector has thus far allowed the economic equilibrium of the system, and must now address the challenges of the ecological transition.”
“Regulation on the gas sector, since Law 18/2014, has avoided the accumulation of deficits, and allowed a balance between profitability and the security of the system.” Miguel Ángel Lasheras, an economist specialising in energy markets, made this statement today during a conference on the gas sector organised by the Naturgy Foundation.
Lasheras presented the “2018 Report. The Spanish natural gas sector in numbers”, prepared by the energy company’s foundation, and which aims to be the start of an annual series of publications to bring together, in one single document, all the official and public data available for the sector in Spain.
The economist explained that the report provides a cross-sectional and integrated view of the entire value chain and offers a perspective over time, which shows that “the sector’s accounts are balanced”. According to Lasheras, “over the past five years there has been investment driven by natural growth, with prices that reflect costs and follow international price profiles”.
In the current context of energy transition, the gas sector faces new challenges in responding to changing consumer preferences. Lasheras said EU regulators must clarify the role of natural gas in the energy transition, and prevent it from going through “growth until 2030 for subsequent decommissioning from 2030 to 2050”.
In this sense, he stressed that “in order to adapt the current natural gas business model to consumer preferences for a decarbonised world, additional investments are needed, the costs and profitability of which must be basically cleared up by clear, stable and unambiguous public policies”. Lasheras also recalled that “the development of renewable gases will require the contribution of external resources until technologies that reduce production costs emerge”.
The energy market expert also stressed the importance of clear statistical information to make the right decisions in any economic activity and referred to the regulatory and market risks of the gas sector at the current moment of energy transition, as well as the challenges for this sector in the future.
To meet these challenges for the sector in the coming years, Lasheras stressed “the need to pay special attention to statistical information on the sector, and what it tells us in terms of financial balance and profitability, costs and impact of new technologies, and prices and internalisation of costs during the energy transition”. He concluded that the new report presented today is based on this vocation, providing “comprehensive, summarised information with perspective”.
New book on the gas rate
The conference also included a presentation of the book ‘La tarifa del gas. De los costes al precio final’, by Celia Mosácula Atienza and José Pablo Chaves-Ávila, from the Technological Research Institute of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería (ICAI)-Universidad Pontificia Comillas, and published by the Naturgy Foundation.
The book explains in detail the cost structure of natural gas and how the costs associated with the supply of gas to different consumers are passed on; it presents an evolution and comparison of the final prices of natural gas for consumers in EU countries, pointing out the main causes of price differences; and it also includes a summary of the CNMC’s 2019 Proposed Circular, which establishes the methodology for calculating tolls for transport, local networks and natural gas regasification.