The creation and development of the Iberian Natural Gas Market is of particular relevance to consumers and suppliers. Taking into consideration the significant demand in the Iberian Peninsula for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the European and global contexts, it is possible to foresee the affirmation of the Iberian Natural Gas Market (MIBGAS) as a reference market on an international level. Indeed, according to 2006 data, this market consists of approximately 7.3 million consumers (6.4 million in Spain and 0.9 million in Portugal) involving annual sales of about 446,000 GWh, which places it as the fourth largest market in terms of sales in the European Union. The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imported by the Iberian market represents more than half the total volume of LNG imported by Europe.
It is therefore considered that the integration of the systems of the natural gas sector in Spain and Portugal is beneficial for consumers in both countries.
Access to all players with conditions of equal treatment, transparency and objectivity should be ensured in MIBGAS. The legal framework for its development must be stable, and be in line with applicable European laws and regulations.
The creation of MIBGAS has the following objectives:
- Increase the security of supply through market integration and coordination of both systems of the natural gas sector and strengthening of interconnections.
- Increase the level of competition, reflecting the larger size of the market and the increase in the number of participants.
- Simplify and harmonize the regulatory framework in both countries.
- Encourage the efficiency of regulated and liberalized activities as well as market transparency.
The harmonization and construction process of MIBGAS has been developed gradually and with mutual agreement between Spain and Portugal, with an underlying active contribution of both countries in achieving a European market for natural gas.
With the objective of coordinating the work of regulatory harmonization, needed for the development of the Iberian Natural Gas Market, the creation of a MIBGAS Coordination Committee constituted by the regulatory authorities of Spain and Portugal (CNE and ERSE) was proposed, with the possibility of operators of natural gas systems (ENAGAS and REN) as well as stakeholders in the Iberian Natural Gas Market being invited to be heard although with no right to vote. The role of this Committee is aimed at preparing proposals for regulation and recommendations needed for the development of MIBGAS.
In developing MIBGAS, the best practices of transparency should be used, seeking the involvement of all interested parties, through the systematic use of public consultation processes.