Finland’s new Natural Gas Market Act entered into force on January 1, 2018.

  • As a general rule, the gas market will operate in the current manner until the opening of the market.

  • The Finnish market will be opened at 7.00 on the 1st of January 2020.

  • Gasum’s TSO (transmission system operator) department coordinated the gas market rules formulation process in cooperation with customers and other stakeholders during 2017–2019.

24.09.2019  

A bit like hitting a moving target – The opening up of the gas markets requires careful analysis and an ability to adapt to evolving conditions

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Planning for the opening up of the gas market in early 2020 is drawing to a close. Finland’s gas market will not only open up to competition but will also be interconnected with the Estonian and Latvian markets through the Balticconnector pipeline.

Although preparations have been underway since 2017, it won’t be until early 2020 and the entry into force of new market rules that we will find out how the new market will actually shape up.

The 100 or so people involved in the preparatory work to open up the market have all brought their own contributions to the discussion table. Representatives from authorities, different ministries, our customers as well as new actors seeking to enter the markets, have sat around the table. There was no off-the-shelf model for market regulations for a gas market like Finland. A broad working committee played a vital role in coming up with a concept best suited to our northern conditions during the forming of the market rules.

All those involved in the discussions have an ambition to make these markets the best in Europe. And, at least judging by the amount of work we did together, I think they will be.

One big change is that Finland, Estonia and Latvia have agreed on the zero-tariff transmission of gas between all three countries’ transmission systems. This represents a big change historically and a factor in terms of further integrating the markets on the EU scale. The interconnectivity of the gas markets is a clear step towards a common open internal market.

Opening up the gas markets to all actors wanting to participate has meant dedicating considerable time to building new IT systems ahead of the planned change. From the turn of the year, the gas in the transmission system could be that of any supplier operating in the gas system. This future change meant that we had to create a way to find out whose gas is flowing at any given time and to whom.

I would like to thank all the parties involved for helping to expertly advance this interesting process – and all while on the cusp of an historic change, as well as simultaneously striving to ensure that gas customers continue to receive as dependable a supply of energy in the future as they have in the past. The customer has been kept at the heart of planning work.

Personally, it has been a great experience to be involved in this reform and I’m looking forward to seeing the situation once the markets have opened in early 2020.

Writer is Development manager, Ville Rahkonen

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