WINGAS is presenting itself at the World Gas Conference with the motto "Climate efficiency with natural gas" / Company boosts natural gas sales
Paris / Kassel. The largest international meeting of the gas industry – the World Gas Conference just started in Paris – showcases the worldwide significance of natural gas as an energy source. "The demand for natural gas is growing primarily in emerging markets, but forecasts in the European markets also indicate solid sales for our natural source, despite greater subsidies for renewable energies," as Gerhard König, spokesman for the WINGAS management, explained at the conference. "We see overall long-term growth potential for natural gas as fuel for heavy duty transport and in the shipping industry." In addition, he said that reduced domestic production in Europe would necessitate increased imports of natural gas. König: "As a gas provider active throughout Europe, we want do our part to secure future supply in our core markets in northwest and central Europe." In Germany – the largest gas market in Europe – the joint venture between BASF subsidiary Wintershall and the world's largest gas producer Gazprom is one of the largest gas suppliers.
"Natural gas is basically indispensable, not only in the heating market, but also in electricity production, as a reliable, affordable and eco-friendly source of energy," stressed König. A good example is the ongoing natural gas boom in the U.S.: As a result of a significant increase in natural gas production there, not only have energy prices dropped considerably, but increased use of natural gas across all areas has led to a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions. "This shows that a successful transformation of the energy landscape is possible through a meaningful coexistence of traditional energy sources and renewable energies," said König with conviction. Furthermore, he said that it was, in particular, the extensive and affordable availability of gas in Europe that would enable increased use of the energy source in Europe.
2014 closes with record sales – goals for further growth
As one of the largest European natural gas providers, WINGAS successfully finished fiscal year 2014 with a new record sales figure of 497.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). "Despite a challenging competitive field and the relatively mild weather at the start of the year, we were able to hold our ground," said the WINGAS Managing Director, delighted about the business development. Compared to last year, WINGAS sales rose by 54.2 billion kWh – a gain of 12.2 percent. In the same period, however, revenues increased only slightly to 12.6 billion euros due to lower gas prices (2013: 12.5 billion euros). König: "On the one hand, the growth in sales is based on increased trade in the spot and futures markets and, on the other, WINGAS successfully defended its position in classic sales with redistributors, particularly in our home market of Germany."
Sales quantity in the German market totaled 304 billion kWh traded through the spot markets. WINGAS supplied a total of roughly 20 percent of the natural gas used in Germany. Around 40 percent of WINGAS sales were made in other European countries. "We were able to significantly increase our sales volumes particularly in Austria and the Czech Republic, where we have been active with our own local sales teams since 2012," as König explained. "In the last three years alone, we succeeded in quadrupling sales in the region." WINGAS now has a market share in Austria of ten percent. Along with the two countries in central Europe, the company is also active outside of Germany in Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
"To further support our growth, we strengthened our European-wide industry business in particular at the beginning of the year," said the WINGAS Managing Director. "We bundled our sales channels and more closely integrated our sales teams in the individual sales regions. In doing so, we are pursuing our strategy of focusing more intensely on sales in segments that are in close proximity to consumers." The heating market in particular continued to be a solid support for gas sales. König: "In Germany alone, more than 75% of newly installed heating systems run on natural gas."
forsa survey: Germans are concerned about rising energy costs
In this context, WINGAS presented a new survey at the World Gas Conference on energy supply in Germany conducted by the opinion research institute forsa. The survey showed that consumers primarily count costs ahead of climate protection and supply reliability: 72 percent of Germans stress that electricity and energy has to remain affordable for all. A majority of 60 percent also consider it very important for the energy supply to be safe and reliable at all times. 41 percent consider ecologically friendly energy production to be very important. Compared to a poll from the previous year, the relevance of environmental protection is slightly higher, by two points, and the importance of energy prices is slightly decreased by four percent points.
Overall, Germans have confidence in the current energy supply. More than three-quarters feel that the current supply situation for homes and businesses is secure. This positive perception is the same across all age groups, with only slight variance. Compared with 2014, the number of those who consider the supply to be secure has even risen slightly - from 75 percent to 81 percent. But doubts have surfaced with regard to the turnaround in energy policy in Germany and future energy security: 61 percent are concerned about possible shortages or downtime in the energy supply due to the energy turnaround. Only slightly more than one-third (34 percent / last year 31 percent) believe that the energy turnaround will work out as intended by the policy.
Germans have a clear opinion on the matter of which traditional energy sources should play a central role in today's low carbon energy landscape: According to forsa, 59% would like to have natural gas available as a supplement to renewable energies. Natural gas is thus clearly in the lead when it comes to other traditional energy sources and nuclear power as well.
Forsa survey 2015
WINGAS at the World Gas Conference 2015