Turkish households consumed the cheapest natural gas in Europe in 2017, paying 2.4 euro cents for per kilowatt-hour (kWh) electric equivalent of gas, according to the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat). Turkey topped the list for cheapest natural gas for households among 21 EU countries, as well as Moldova, Macedonia and Serbia.
It was followed by Romania and Moldova at 3 euro cents, Serbia at 3.4 euro cents and Bulgaria at 3.5 euro cents. Among the 25 countries, the most expensive per kWh electric equivalent of gas was sold in Sweden at 11.9 euro cents, followed by Ireland at 9.6 euro cents, Portugal at 9.3 euro cents, Denmark at 8.8 euro cents and the Netherlands at 7.9 euro cents.
Meanwhile, Kosovo had the cheapest electricity prices for households, spending only 6.5 euro cents for per kWh of electricity. It was followed by Serbia at 7.3 euro cents and Macedonia at 8.1 euro cents.
The list for electricity price included 24 EU countries as well as Turkey, Norway, Iceland, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro.
Turkish households had the fourth cheapest electricity price at 9.5 euro cents for per kWh of electricity, followed by Bulgaria at 9.7 euro cents.
Among the 32 countries, Belgium had the most expensive electricity price for household usage, 28.4 euro cents for per kWh, followed by Denmark at 26.6 euro cents, Portugal at 23.5 euro cents, Ireland at 21.1 euro cents and Austria at 19.3 euro cents.
Competitive gas trading structure to be introduced
The price and reliability of energy supplies are key elements in a country's energy supply strategy. Gas prices are of significant importance to ensure international competitiveness because gas might represent a significant proportion of total energy costs for industrial and service-providing businesses.
In contrast to the price of other fossil fuels, traded on global markets with relatively uniform prices, there is a wider range of prices within the EU member states for natural gas as the statistics have shown.
While EU has taken major steps to liberalize its energy market since the 1990s, Turkey has also initiated the liberalization of its energy sector. In 2001, the country took steps to create a liberalized, transparent and reliable natural gas energy market, where reference prices are set for contracts in a stable environment.
Under the natural gas law enacted in 2001, the state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ), which still controls the 80 percent of Turkey's natural gas market, transferred 350 billion cubic feet of its import contracts, equal to about 20 percent of Turkish natural gas consumption, to seven private companies.
Moreover, Turkey's energy stock market, Energy Exchange Istanbul (EPİAŞ or EXİST), which was established in March 2015, started operating in the power generation sector with day-ahead and intraday power markets.
The success and effectiveness of electricity companies trading on EPİAŞ led to the demand for a spot natural gas market to provide investors and gas companies with a reliable pricing mechanism and financial products with the trade of contracts and derivatives.
In addition to the electricity stock exchange, the natural gas trade will also start on EPİAŞ on Sept. 1, Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) recently said.
Preliminary activities have already started as the natural gas stock exchange, called the Natural Gas Continuous Trading Platform (STP), was launched virtually on April 1 this year. The system was heavily tested by natural gas supply license holders during the virtual application.