Introduction

On December 16 2015 MIBGAS – the natural gas exchange which combines the Portuguese and Spanish markets into a single Iberian market – held the first trading session for its spot market, having registered a daily reference price of €19.67 per megawatt hour and a trading volume equivalent to 50 megawatts. MIBGAS is managed by market operator MIBGAS SA and will offer users the possibility of trading within-day, day-ahead, balance-of-month and month-ahead products at an Iberian level.

In Portugal, MIBGAS SA was authorised to act as the managing entity of MIBGAS by Ministerial Order 643/2015 of August 21 2015, which established the rules regarding the distribution of MIBGAS SA's share capital between:

  • Spanish and Portuguese market operators in the Iberian energy market; and
  • the technical manager of the Spanish gas system and the global technical manager of the Portuguese gas system.(1)

The ministerial order also provides that:

  • companies acting in the energy sector cannot individually hold more than 3% of MIBGAS SA's share capital;
  • the combined equity share held by companies acting in the energy sector cannot be more than 30%; and
  • no direct or indirect shareholder may hold more than 5% of MIBGAS SA's share capital.

Participation requirements

To participate in MIBGAS, traders must be registered as an agent. Entities registered in Spain or Portugal that may become agents include:

  • natural gas suppliers (retailers);
  • natural gas transmission and distribution companies;
  • direct market consumers (ie, consumers with contracted access capacity to the transmission or distribution facility to which they are connected for their own consumption, regardless of whether they have an ordinary contract with a retailer);
  • the technical manager of the Spanish gas system and the global technical manager of the Portuguese gas system;
  • CORES – a Spanish public company responsible for maintaining the strategic reserves of oil products and controlling oil and natural gas stocks in Spain; and
  • any party that undertakes operations involving the purchase or sale of natural gas with other market agents without accessing third-party facilities, under the limitations set out in Law 34/1998 of October 7 1998 on the Spanish Hydrocarbons Industry.

The above entities can register as agents by:

  • acquiring accredited party status in the Spanish or Portuguese natural gas systems, or both;
  • adhering to market rules on operation and settlement by signing the corresponding adhesion contract;
  • performing the requisite technical qualification tests; and
  • providing data associated with their involvement in the market and information regarding invoices, guarantees, collections and payments.

Accredited party status is granted by the technical manager of the Spanish gas system and/or the global technical manager of the Portuguese gas system. Agents that acquire accredited party status exclusively for the Spanish or Portuguese system may trade only in products delivered to that respective market.

The procedures required to complete these steps are explained in the access guide available at the MIBGAS website and the corresponding rules are set out in the Rules on the Organised Gas Market, approved by the Spanish Resolution of December 4 2015 issued by the secretary of state for energy.

Reporting services

Pursuant to the EU Regulation on Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT) (1227/2011), participants must regularly provide the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators with data on wholesale energy contracts that involve the delivery and transmission of electricity and natural gas.

According to Article 6 of Commission Implementing Regulation 1348/2014, which implements Articles 8(2) and 8(6) of REMIT, the market in which the transaction is executed or the order is placed must provide a data reporting service agreement. Accordingly, MIBGAS SA provides a reporting service for market participants.

The implementation of MIBGAS aims to foster the transparency of natural gas prices in the Iberian Peninsula and enhance market liquidity. It is an important milestone in the gradual integration of the natural gas markets in Portugal and Spain and the construction of the internal EU natural gas market.

For further information on this topic please contact Catarina Brito Ferreira or Martim Vaz da Silva at Morais Leitão Galvão Teles Soares da Silva & Associados by telephone (+351 21 381 74 57) or email (cbferreira@mlgts.pt or mvsilva@mlgts.pt). The Morais Leitão Galvão Teles Soares da Silva & Associados website can be accessed at www.mlgts.pt.

Endnotes

(1) Spanish and Portuguese market operators are respectively entitled to 20% and 10% of MIBGAS SA's share capital, and the technical manager of the Spanish gas system and the global technical manager of the Portuguese gas system are respectively entitled to approximately 13.3 % and 6.6% of the company's share capital.

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