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Gas network codes

EU-wide network codes for gas regulate the cross-border gas trade and the use of gas infrastructure.

A fully functioning and interconnected internal energy market is crucial for maintaining security of energy supply, increasing competitiveness and ensuring that all consumers can purchase energy at affordable prices.

Europe's cross-border gas networks operate according to rules that regulate who can use them and under what conditions. To further advance interconnection and boost trade, the rules, which previously fell under national legislation, have progressed into EU-wide network codes and guidelines.

The European Gas Regulatory Forum (Madrid Forum)

The European Gas Regulatory Forum, also known as the Madrid Forum, gathers key stakeholders across the European energy sector to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the further development and decarbonisation of the internal EU gas market and to its integration with other energy sectors.

The forum participants include national regulatory authorities, EU national governments, the European Commission, transmission system operators, gas suppliers and traders, consumers, network users, and gas exchanges.

The forum is organised once to twice a year and the venue is provided by the Spanish energy regulator Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia.

How network codes for gas are developed

Each year, the Commission draws up an 'annual priority list' of areas to be included in the development of network codes, with input from a public consultation. On the basis of this, as well as further input from the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), the Commission adopts proposals for network codes.

To ensure coherence between the national and the EU level, a gas cross-border committee with specialists from national energy ministers reviews the proposals before the Commission adopts them, with approval from the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

In addition, the network codes are being applied, step by step, in the Energy Community, an international organisation that brings together the EU and its neighbours to create an integrated pan-European energy market.

Adopted network codes

The network code on interoperability and data exchange rules coordinates the complex technical procedures used by network operators within the EU and possibly with those used by network operators in the Energy Community and other countries neighbouring the EU.

The network code on gas balancing of transmission networks sets out gas balancing rules, including the responsibilities of transmission system operators and users.

The network code on capacity allocation mechanisms in gas transmission systems requires gas grid operators to use harmonised auctions when selling access to pipelines. These auctions sell the same product at the same time and according to the same rules across the EU.

The Commission's rules on congestion management procedures aim to reduce congestion in gas pipelines. Companies are required to make use of their reserved capacity or risk losing it, while unused capacity should be placed back on the market.

The network code on harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas enhances tariff transparency and coherency by harmonising basic principles and definitions used in tariff calculation, and it includes a mandatory comparison of national tariff-setting methodologies against a benchmark methodology. It also stipulates publication requirements for information on tariffs and revenues of transmission system operators.


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