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EC, Norway agree to develop tools to stabilize market, limit price volatility

Highlights

Brussels, Oslo share 'common determination' to reduce prices

Market stabilization also needs to ensure security of supply

Norway single biggest gas supplier to European market

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Natural Gas
  • Topic
  • Europe Energy Price Crisis

The European Commission and Norway have agreed to develop tools to stabilize energy markets and limit the impact of price volatility, EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Oct. 6.

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In a joint statement, von der Leyen and Støre said the EC and Norway also shared a "common determination" that prices should be significantly reduced.

The EC wants to use the EU's common negotiating power to be able to agree with its "trusted" supply partners ways to bring down the cost of gas imports into the EU.

European gas prices have been at sustained highs since September last year and remain highly volatile.

Platts assessed the Dutch TTF month-ahead price at an all-time high of Eur319.98/MWh Aug. 26, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights. It was last assessed at Eur178/MWh Oct. 5.

In their statement, von der Leyen and Støre said they had agreed to "jointly develop tools, each of us acting within our competences, to stabilize energy markets."

These tools, they said, would also be designed to "limit the impact of market manipulation and of price volatility, in order to reduce excessively high prices in a meaningful way in the short and longer term."

"Substantial stabilization of the energy markets needs to fully ensure security of supply," they added.

Commercial operators

In an interview on Sept. 30, Norway's state secretary for energy, Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, said Norway was doing everything it could to supply as much gas to Europe as possible given the "serious security situation."

Eriksen stressed, however, that it was commercial operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf that are responsible for gas sales.

"They sell their production in the market at commercial terms. Gas flows to the landing point with the highest price," Eriksen told S&P Global Commodity Insights.

But, he said, Norwegian companies were doing "their utmost" to deliver as much gas to the market as possible.

In their statement Oct. 6, von der Leyen and Støre also said commercial players could provide a "sound basis" for reducing prices in their business relations.

Norway is now the biggest single supplier of gas to Europe after Russian flows were sharply curtailed, with Norwegian deliveries meeting around a quarter of European demand.

'Critical juncture'

Von der Leyen and Støre said Europe was at a "critical juncture" in terms of security and stability. "We therefore also need to rethink and reshape energy security in Europe," they said.

"Through manipulation and weaponization of the energy market, Russia deliberately tries to blackmail and split close partners, hurt households and businesses, and weaken essential, rule-based regional cooperation," they said.

Von der Leyen and Støre said both the EU and Norway had already acted to reduce demand for energy as one way to stabilize prices.

"Norway has also boosted production to increase supply, which is the other key to such stabilization. Both sides are determined to continue these efforts," they said.

Von der Leyen and Støre also said the "abnormally" high level of energy prices was neither politically nor economically sustainable.

"These prices are deeply detrimental to households and industries. High gas prices are driving up the price of electricity. They reduce purchasing power and lead to a loss of competitiveness for companies," they said.