The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has opened a sanctioning file against liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading companies for failure to comply with discharge programs at regasification plants. According to the regulatory body, which keeps the names of the firms involved, the cancellation has been detected without sufficient notice. The cancellation of these vessels without the minimum notice of five days constitutes a serious infringement of the legislation of the hydrocarbons sector, which can lead to fines of up to six million euros or 5% of the amount of the annual turnover of the offending company.
Since April 2020, gas traders have acquired gas discharge capacity at the terminals through an auction system. The regulatory framework for access, designed by the CNMC, establishes that the allocation of LNG discharge capacity in Spanish regasification plants is binding for the parties involved (marketer and installation). In any case, it allows the marketer to modify, up to two times, the date of the ship’s unloading, the unloading plant and the size of the ship to be unloaded, provided that it communicates this at least five days in advance. .
The standard aims to determine the operation of the gas system for the regulated access of third parties to the facilities, including the definition of the services and capacity products to be offered to the market, the procedures for the allocation of capacity, the general criteria of the technical operation of the system. , the foundations for the establishment of guarantees related to capacity contracting and congestion management mechanisms.
A CNMC circular regulates the gas market
The regulation develops the contracting of capacity services individually or in aggregate, while defining new services, so that users will have greater flexibility by being able to choose the combination of capacity services that best suit their supply portfolio. and clients. On the other hand, the contracting procedures were standardized in all the system’s facilities, establishing, by default, the allocation of capacity through market mechanisms.
The circular established a new joint management system for the regasification and storage capacity of the LNG plants, with the aim of simplifying logistics and favoring the exchange of LNG between agents regardless of the plant where the gas was discharged. . This allows, in the opinion of the CNMC, to favor competition and liquidity in the market and the appearance of a hub of LNG in Spain, in addition to seeking greater use of plants.
As of the initiation of these files, a maximum period of 18 months is opened for their investigation and resolution by the CNMC, which recalls that the initiation of these files does not prejudge the final result of the investigations.