EU energy regulator to launch LNG price assessment on Friday
Brussels, Jan 10 (Reuters) - European Union energy regulators will start publishing a daily liquefied natural gas (LNG) price assessment on Friday, the first step in the EU's plan to form a new European benchmark price for the super-chilled fuel.
After a year of volatile gas prices driven by Russia slashing gas supplies to Europe, Brussels wants to make LNG pricing more transparent to avoid EU countries bidding against each another for supplies and potentially driving up prices further.
The EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) will publish its first price assessment for LNG deliveries into Europe on Friday, a spokesperson told Reuters.
The assessment will be based on transactions data which LNG market participants are required to provide. Using this data, ACER will start producing and publishing a daily European LNG benchmark price by the end of March.
The price assessment aims to "provide more transparency to member states and other market participants on the prevailing price of LNG imports to Europe", according to the EU regulation detailing the planned new benchmark price.
Market participants will be able to voluntarily use the benchmark as a reference price in LNG contracts and trades - although the benchmark's success would depend on whether the gas industry opts to use it.
The Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) gas hub price has historically been used as a benchmark for LNG deliveries into Europe. The TTF is guided by gas pipeline supply and the EU says this price no longer represents a European market that includes more LNG. EU countries hiked LNG imports last year to replace Russian pipeline gas.
A major reduction of Russian gas supplies after Moscow's February invasion of Ukraine last year made the TTF price volatile and often more expensive than LNG prices.
However, analysts say the spread between LNG prices and the TTF has narrowed significantly in recent weeks, as European gas prices have fallen amid unusually warm weather.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Nina Chestney and Bernadette Baum)