Gas, growth opportunity

   The Spanish Gas Association (Sedigas), organization which I chair, held its annual meeting in Madrid under the motto that heads this article: Gas, growth opportunity. We were 27 and 28 of May 28 of this year taking stock, sharing expectations and illusions.

   The gas, a growing sector, is a key driver of recovery symptoms provided by macroeconomic data. 2013 was not a bad year for the sector. The demand reached 28.5 bcm, the industrial sector remained the main consumer. We continue consolidating our position as one of the economic engines of Spain. Represent 0.5% of GDP and the sector employs over 150.000 people.

   We are allies in key industrial sectors and we want to become decisive and final lever for development. All this while achieving the goals set by Brussels.

   The gas is a fuel efficient, with continuous and secure supply, competitive and respectful with the environment -is one of the cleanest fuel respect to emissions of greenhouse gases and gaseous pollutants. We can not hide the fact that the system suffers some transient and small mismatches. There is not, therefore, structural problems. Falling demand in relation to the forecasts made at the time is the cause of the current distortion. The crisis and energy policy decisions that have affected the configuration of primary and final energy mix explain everything.

   However, we are convinced that the recovery in demand will help resolve this situation. This expansion of which I speak is the result of the natural evolution of the industry and the leitmotiv of this annual meeting.

   In Spain, the penetration of gas for domestic and commercial use is 29%, while the European average is over 50%. There is thus an encouraging growth margin. We continue to invest in increasing the capillary network to increase the supply points (7.5 million currently) and municipalities with options to provide natural gas to their fellow citizens (1.600 today). We also identified potential for growth in the use of gas for land and sea transport. The gas is cheaper -about 30%- and cleaner than traditional fuels. Big cities as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Sevilla have begun to introduce into their fleets many buses and waste collection trucks powered by natural gas.

   The competitiveness that provides the gas industry is evidenced by the fact that, not being an essential service like electricity, must wrest market share from other energy sources. And that is mainly achieved by cost and quality of service.

   We are a young sector in Spain, wanting to continue working on an expansion to facilitate the arrival of this clean and competitive energy source for more homes and businesses. And wanting to get the goal that gives meaning to our commitment: to help the growth and development of the economy.

   The future Iberian gas hub will undoubtedly contribute to the expansion of which I speak. We are engaged in this project, collaborating with the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, and we will continue to do so, because we are convinced that it is a transcendental sector development opportunity.

   In Europe lies precisely another of our strengths. The new Russian-Ukrainian crisis has again highlight the weaknesses of the European gas energy system: low diversification, insufficient interconnections and lack of a single energy market. We can make use of our strengths to assist in mitigating these weaknesses. We have capacity for expansion outside the sector. Spain can become a natural gas transit route to Europe. We can provide, in a first stage, up to 12% of the gas that the EU currently imports from Russia.

   This desirable international expansion would bring an increase in the transit of natural gas by the Spanish gas system, and we were fully integrated into the European gas system.

   Growth opportunities are just around the corner and there you will find us committed to promote them.


By Antonio Peris, President of the Spanish Gas Association (Sedigas).

Cinco Días

May 22, 2014


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