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Gas – Regulatory framework

AEEG Resolution no. 192/08

On 19 December 2008, AEEG issued a resolution regarding “Urgent measures to amend the criteria for the update of terms and conditions for the supply of natural gas to protected category customers and update for the quarter January-March 2009”. In order to ensure prompt implementation of article 3, subsection 8, of Decree Law no. 185/08 (the so-called Anti-crisis Decree Law), the resolution renewed the no-change threshold starting from the update for the January-March quarter of 2009. This action entailed an immediate economic impact on wholesalers in terms of lower margins on volumes sold in the first quarter of 2009 which then resulted mostly not recoverable (for Hera Trading, around Euro 600 thousand).

AEEG Resolution no. 64/09

On 28 May 2009, AEEG approved the "Code for the retail sale”, which simplifies and streamlines provisions regarding retail sales of natural gas and introduces important news. In particular, one single value, at national level, for the price of retail sale is defined, thus guaranteeing sellers a more consistent coverage of trade costs (e.g. call centre, staff, invoicing) and equal treatment to all customers, even the small ones.

In view of enhancing a higher transparency of the market, the Code also sets out that in their website sellers must publish the economic terms of the protection service for each single location in which they operate, highlighting the various components.

The Authority also reviewed the mechanisms for the protection service of customers and related supply terms, while redesigning the framework of end users who might take advantage of this service.

As regards the economic supply conditions, which will be in force together with the tariffs for distribution and metering services, this Code introduces simplified elements which take account of continuity.

As regards the various components that play a part in defining the end price of a supply, the Code substantially confirms the calculation criteria for whole sale marketing costs, although it simplifies the quarterly updating formula (since 1 October 2009). This resolution had no substantial impact of Hera Trading transactions.

Law no. 99/09

Art. 30 of this Law confers the Electricity Market Operator the task of organizing a market for gas exchange within six months from the execution of this Law: the procedure to create a new market should be similar to the electrical market one, through the setting out of rules issued by the Electricity Market Operator, after hearing the competent Authority. These rules shall be approved through a decree, by the Ministry for Economic Development.

AEEG Resolution no. 114/09 (Gas release)

On 7 August 2009, with this resolution AEEG set out the implementation modalities of gas release with which, within the following 3 September, ENI shall conclude auctions to sell a gas volume of 5 billion of cubic meters on the market, for the 2009-2010 thermal year, through non-discriminatory competitive procedures, based on provisions set out by the Ministry for Economic Development to implement the “Anti-crisis Decree Law”. According to law provisions, the Authority set forth that procedures shall guarantee the utmost impartiality and that the offer is divided in lots, “characterised by constant daily quantities over the entire delivery period”.

The following will be provided: annual lots (delivery from October 2009 to September 2010) and half-year lots (delivery from October 2009 to March 2010).

The assignment procedures of the lots include the definition of one single price for each type of product.

Like other primary operators, Hera Trading did not take part to the procedure as it has already completed its sources/usage portfolio.

AEEG Resolution no. 165/09

In compliance with provisions set out by Art. 3 of Law 102/09, by this resolution the Authority introduced a new weekly market session in order to favour the ex post balancing of users who will be then able to adjust their positions with respect to the previous week.

AEEG Resolution no. 173/09

On 28 December 2009, by this resolution AEEG started an investigation into the procedures and conditions for the procurement of natural gas for supplies to protected categories and to promptly assess possible structural changes which may occur to those conditions. The objective is substantially to assess to what extent Spot supplies, available on the market in the current “long-term” situation, affect long-term agreements taken as a reference for the procurement terms in question. In view of the limited impact of these agreements and their high price volatility, it is reasonable to state that, in the short period at least, no substantial changes should occur in the updating modalities of the above terms and conditions.

AEEG Resolution no. 198/09 (Transport tariffs)

On 21 December 2009, by this resolution AEEG approved the tariff proposals concerning natural gas transport and dispatching payments, the transitory payment of the gas transmission metering service for 2010 and corrections of material errors in Part II of the Code for the natural gas transmission and dispatching service for the regulatory period 2010-2013. This resolution had no substantial impact of Hera Trading transactions.  

Gas- Significant events

2009-2008 Thermal year storage capacity

During March, the contracts with Stogit and Edison Stoccaggi for the modulation storage service, for the 2009-2010 thermal years, were renewed.

Finalisation of new procurement contracts

During May, modulated gas procurement contracts to REMI were concluded, for around 1,800 million of cubic meters related to the 2009-2010 thermal year, with ENI Gas & Power (1,030 million of cubic meters), EDISON S.p.a. (730 million of cubic meters), R.E.I. S.p.a. (15 million of cubic meters) and Flame Energy (25 million of cubic meters). Further procurement contracts for non-modulated gas were concluded in the same period, with supplies abroad, at national borders, and at the virtual point of exchange, for around 540 million of cubic meters/year (200 million of cubic meters by EDISON S.p.a., 210 million of cubic meters by VNG, 130 million of cubic meters by ENI Gas &Power). Subsequently, at the end of August and connected with the unexpected Spot price shrinkage on the European market, mainly due to the impact of the economic crisis, the economic terms of agreements signed with ENI Gas & Power and EDISON were reviewed and reduced in volumes.

Summer streamlining of agreements

During summer, streamlining of agreements gave remarkable economic advantages thanks to flexibility and Spot prices, which were exceptionally low on the European market.

Participation in the Austrian gas stock exchange

Since December, the Austrian Stock Exchange is operative in Baumgarten. Hera Trading has been an active member since the beginning, also aiming at taking advantage from the remarkable availability of transport capacity on the Trans Austria Gasleitung (TAG).

Management during 2009-2010 winter

As regards 2009-2010 winter, in spite of the weather trend, which was more severe compared to the last few years, the management is going on without any particular problems. The portfolio position is maintained continuously balanced through transactions, even daily transactions, on the market to carry out the necessary adjustments.  

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