About the purchase of natural gas based on offers indexed with the forward market prices



Arkadiusz Somnicki

Member of the Board

How will the high prices of natural gas affect the current market by changing the market shares of sellers and the products they offer? Verification of the strengths and weaknesses of individual market participants is already taking place, and one of the main driving forces accelerating change are entrepreneurs looking for cheaper alternatives to purchase blue fuel. Is a change of gas supplier, or maybe its purchase based on offers indexed with forward market prices, a chance to lower the bill?

According to the data of the Energy Regulatory Office, since the beginning of the liberalization of the gas market, the gas supplier has been changed by 281 thousand. with approx. 6.5 million of all recipients (as of Q3 2021), of which only 5% were industrial recipients (tariff groups with markings from W5 to W10). The PGNiG Group is the undisputed leader in gas sales in Poland, with a market share of approximately 85% in 2020. We will soon find out how the current situation will affect the new distribution of market shares (according to the ERO data, at the end of 2020 in Poland there were approx. 90 companies actively involved in trading in natural gas, with 185 entities having a license to trade in gaseous fuels. ).

The decision to change the seller is influenced by the level of customer awareness and their motivation to change (nowadays mainly the level of the offered price), as well as the ease of making such a change (no complicated procedures) and the availability of competitive offers on the market.

The prices of gas fuel offered by various sellers often differ by several or even several percent, and a significant increase in price differences has been observed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Most sellers set prices based on the current gas exchange quotations, adding excise tax, the cost of the so-called white certificates, margins but also mark-ups, which play an important role in recent months, allowing to secure the commercial risks of sellers. The current gas prices for 2023 listed on the Polish Power Exchange exceed the level of PLN 465 / MWh (updated on 04/25/2022), which means more than fivefold increase in prices over the last year.

Much has been said in the public space about future gas price predictions. Politicians, journalists and other commentators often bet on only one direction of change (expectation of further price increases or a reversal of the trend in a downward direction). A message from experienced analysts is timid, suggesting that in the current geopolitical conditions it is difficult to make an unambiguous forecast of gas prices. However, based on the current market knowledge, it is worth determining the likelihood of further increases or decreases in prices. Such an assessment of the market will become the basis for the preparation of the company's strategy, taking into account purchasing tactics in the event of the materialization of individual price scenarios. It is important that the strategy correlates directly with the products available on the market that determine the possible conditions for purchasing gaseous fuel.

One of the most interesting product solutions available on the market is the purchase of gas products based on offers indexed with the prices of the forward market. Depending on the price changes observed on the market, companies may decide to accelerate or postpone the purchase of individual gas tranches (usually sellers give the opportunity to purchase at least several tranches, while pointing out that the minimum amount of gas purchased should not be less than that indicated in the contract is a percentage of the total volume). The tactic of purchasing smaller amounts of gas over time brings measurable benefits, as long as you have adequate market knowledge to rationally assess the level of current prices and their future changes. It is worth mentioning that it is possible to purchase only one type of product - a band contract but with a different delivery period (month, quarter, year and, which is characteristic for the gas market, also the summer or winter season).

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