Emerging markets have to focus their gas market reforms on making gas prices competitive, respecting the demand/supply balance, Jean Baptiste Dubreuil, senior gas expert at the International Energy Agency (IEA) told a MEDREG workshop in Lisbon.

He noted that liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction capacity is growing faster than demand but emerging markets will need to build the proper facilities; investment is key. However, gas trade routes may vary significantly in the future, and Europe may not be the only buyer of Mediterranean gas.

On July 5, on the eve of its 25th General Assembly, the Association of Mediterranean Energy Regulators (MEDREG) held a workshop on the “Future of Gas in the Mediterranean Region” to inform further the work of Mediterranean regulators in this area. Hosted by the Portuguese regulator, ERSE, the event gathered gas experts from International Financial Institutions, regulators, Transmission System Operators (TSOs), policy-makers and industry, who shared their views on the current trends of the sector in the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.

Given the high potential of the Mediterranean as a future gas supplier and its geostrategic situation for energy transit, MEDREG said the group is enhancing its long-standing focus on gas issues to reflect the sector’s rapid evolution.

Meanwhile, Portuguese TSO (REN) Planning Director Rui Marmota noted that “while the global gas demand in the Mediterranean region is growing, this is not the case in Europe, and in particular in Portugal, where requests to connect renewable sources are increasing significantly at the expense of gas.”

Meanwhile, the World Bank emphasised the role of energy regulators. Lex

Huurdeman, senior oil and gas expert noted that regulators are key to attract investors in gas infrastructure projects by ensuring strong and predictable regulation. “However, the regulatory framework is not the same everywhere in the Mediterranean; it is still developing and growing in some countries. One solution does not fit all, as policy contexts differ from country to country with specific national interests and priorities to be balanced. Some policies working in EU countries are not necessarily pertinent in some other parts of the world,” he said.

The workshop also saw the presentation of two reports recently published by MEDREG, the “Gas Infrastructure map” and an “Assessment of Natural Gas Competition and Market Prices in the Mediterranean Basin”. Participants were also updated on the recent developments of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) that should improve the security of Turkey and South East Europe’s energy supply, according to MEDREG.