The purpose is "To maintain and enhance the interest of the natural gas market participants in the possibility to store natural gas in the storage facility," the PUC said, adding that it is planned that the new amendments will apply to the 2022/2023 storage cycle.
Alda Ozola, Chair of the PUC, said: “In 2020, with the launch of the common Finnnish, Estonian and Latvian natural gas transmission entry-exit system, the interest of natural gas market participants in the possibility to store natural gas in the storage facility increased significantly. The planned amendments to the regulations on the use of the storage facility will have a positive impact on the awareness of the system users about the process of booking and using the storage capacity in order to plan operational activities in advance, as well as improve the predictability and transparency of natural gas storage. This will prevent the congestion of the storage facility and will promote its sustainability.”
Considering the experience gained in 2021, when auctions were used to book the capacity of the Inčukalns underground gas storage facility, the joint natural gas transmission and storage system operator JSC “Conexus Baltic Grid” prepared proposals for amendments and submitted it to the PUC. After evaluating and clarifying the submitted proposals, the PUC prepared draft amendments.
The draft amendments include the regulatory framework aimed at ensuring transparency of storage capacity booking auctions, preventing possible congestion during the natural gas injection season, as well as clarifying the procedure for transferring the stored natural gas and the capacity product and ensuring compliance with contractual obligations.
The most significant change in the storage usage regulations is the amended storage capacity booking procedure, stipulating that a system user has simultaneously booked the corresponding natural gas injection curve for the injection quarter or injection month when booking bundled capacity products, as well as specifying that auctions take place in several rounds in which capacity products for the relevant injection quarter and injection month are booked.
The Inčukalns underground gas storage facility is managed by JSC "Conexus Baltic Grid" and plays a strategically important role in promoting the security of energy supply in Latvia and the region. It is the only functioning natural gas storage facility in the Baltic States and allows for the seasonal storage of natural gas, thus avoiding volatility in the price of natural gas during the heating season.
On 29 November 2021, a seminar for JSC “Conexus Baltic Grid” market participants will take place, where, among other things, market participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the above-mentioned amendments.
The consultation document is available on the PUC website (https://ieej.lv/c6xdO). Proposals and comments on the draft regulations can be sent to the PUC by email: [email protected] until 6 December 2021.