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    Spanish Industry Calls for New Laws


Overcharged and under-appreciated: Spain's heavy consumers want change.

by: William Powell

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Complimentary, Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Corporate, News By Country, Spain

Spanish Industry Calls for New Laws

Spain's major gas users said in a May 2o statement that economically priced gas would be critical for their future. The president of lobby group GasIndustrial Javier Esteban told the annual conference May 14 in Madrid that: "The new gas framework is an opportunity for the industry," and "gas is strategic for hundreds of Spanish industrial companies."

But Spanish industry pays on average a fifth or a quarter more for its gas than its European competitors. And in the final cost this difference rises, since transport fees in Spain are 45% above the European average. This directly affects the competitiveness of sectors such as paper, steel, ceramic, cogeneration, chemical , glass, refining and many others whose production processes are gas intensive, he said.

To make Spanish industry competitive, he said, system costs should correspond to services actually provided, and not be used to repay historic debt. He also said the French regulator CRE should lower the price of transport to cross over from France and that the pipeline across the eastern Pyrenees (Step) should be built. 

A liquid Iberian gas hub, including LNG trade, with pricing visibility out to two years would also help make the market more competitive, with major buyers also trading, he said.

Esteban also said that various member associations made up of heavy industry would lobby for legislative changes that would enable lower fees and greater market participation.

High gas costs "represent a clear comparative disadvantage compared to their counterparts in France, Germany or Italy with those who compete in global markets," the statement continued. "With competitive gas, Spain will be able to promote reindustrialisation."

GasIndustrial said that the cost of gas accounts for "up to 60%" of its members energy costs. And industry accounts for 62% of the country's total gas consumption.