Recognize the importance of natural gas

WINGAS Chairman König underlines the importance of natural gas in the European energy mix at the international natural gas conference “Flame” | Company increases sales in Europe in 2013 by 14.1 % to 44.3 billion cubic meters

Amsterdam/Kassel. “Undoubtedly, LNG can continue to secure and supplement the European natural gas supply,” the WINGAS Chairman, Dr. Gerhard König, said at the European natural gas congress “Flame” in Amsterdam, as he commented on the current political discussions on importing more natural gas by LNG to Europe. But the energy manager does not anticipate a substantial increase in the number of LNG deliveries being shipped to Europe in the medium term. “North-West Europe is already one of the most well-diversified natural gas regions in the world. The reason for the low share of LNG is not the capacities, but the prices – these are too low in Europe compared to the global LNG prices,” König explained at an expert panel in front of numerous international industry experts today (Tuesday, 20 May 2014). While one megawatt hour (MWh) of natural gas currently costs around 40 euros in Asia, the prices on the European spot markets are about 20 euros per MWh. “Hence, the price would have to double for the share of LNG in the European import portfolio to rise – but there is simply enough natural gas, especially low-priced pipeline gas, on the market already,” König continued.

"Natural gas prices have settled at a lower level, which enhances the appeal of our product.” WINGAS itself was able to increase sales across Europe by around 14 percent to 44.3 billion euros and turnover to 12.5 billion euros (2012: 11.2 billion). The growth driver in Europe‘s natural gas trading in 2013 was once again the heating market. “The role of natural gas in the energy supply is becoming increasingly important worldwide, but in Europe, and particularly in Germany, coal is gaining ground in the power generation segment,” the WINGAS Chairman explained. However, if this trend continues, it would not be possible to reach the climate protection targets of the EU.

“While Germany, Europe’s biggest energy market, is still designing the energy transition, while the rest of the world is watching, the USA has long since implemented its energy transition – by increasing the share of natural gas,” König said. Despite economic growth, CO2 emissions were declining there, while in Germany they continue to rise – regardless of the energy transition.” From 2012 to 2013 alone, CO2 emissions rose by two percent to 760 million tons. As König said: “It is becoming increasingly evident that the core objective of the energy transition, climate protection, has so far been neglected, and hasn’t really been given due consideration.”

For the WINGAS chairman it is clear that natural gas will play a role in the modern low carbon energy landscape: “Only the increased use of natural gas teamed up with renewable energies can reduce CO2 emissions quickly and affordably,” König emphasized. “For example, if we were to replace all Germany’s coal-fired power stations with gas power stations, this could save about 150 million tons of CO2 a year – which is equivalent to the total annual emissions of Austria,” the 48-year-old continued. “A well targeted climate policy that makes CO2 reduction at the lowest possible costs the benchmark cannot get by without natural gas either.”

WINGAS is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas in Germany. The energy company is active in natural gas trading in Belgium, Denmark, France, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Its customers include municipal utilities, regional gas suppliers, industrial firms and power plants.

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