Network and market development
Snam is already working with other operators in the sector, who are its partners, to ensure the security of bidirectional gas flows between the UK and Italy and between France and the Iberian peninsula. These actions are the first step towards the European integration of networks, but there is still a lot of work to do to make changes and become true system operators providing market-oriented services with a focus on the quality of production to satisfy the ever changing needs of shippers and end customers.
In this context, regulators and institutions need to support the integration processes and ensure the full use of existing storage and the development of additional capacity through a framework that offers stability, continuity and transparency in addition to adequate economic returns to make the investment strategies sustainable.
Shared storage: Snam’s proposal on gas for Europe
The sudden change in developments in the gas market made it clear to European legislators and operators that energy security is fragile. As a result, the idea of common strategic storage at the European level is gaining ground and credibility. This concept was launched by the Snam Group to face the need of ensuring the security of procurements, which translates into operators’ ability to store gas not only in their country, but wherever it is more convenient for their business within the European continent. From this standpoint, storage would take on a strategic value because it would perform two essential functions for the security of procurements: modulation, meaning the ability of shared storage to serve as a clearinghouse for shippers’ decisions in the event they decide to import less gas than the amount requested; and the “role” of warehouse for those traders who intend to buy gas at the best price possible to use it when it is actually needed.
The Snam Group’s idea must be discussed at the European level because, on the one hand, all nations must accept the shared and coordinated management of energy resources, and on the other hand, they must undertake, to the extent applicable, to increase storage capacity within their countries.