Poland's gas exchange chief says new products will fuel growth
WARSAW Dec 5 (Reuters) - Poland's power exchange and energy regulator sees an increased number of foreign players entering the local gas trade, as the country's attempts to diversify supplies and launch new financial products promise a boost in liquidity.
Poland started the gas exchange at the end of 2012 to comply with European Union requirements for the country to liberalise its 14 billion cubic metre gas market dominated by state-controlled monopoly PGNiG.
Since December 2012, when the exchange saw just one transaction, the energy market regulator URE has granted 15 foreign gas trade licences, allowing entry to the market, and is now working on another eight.
New gas links and a planned liquefied natural gas terminal on the country's Baltic coast should increase volumes to make trading more attractive in eastern Europe's biggest economy, said Ireneusz Lazor, the head of Poland's power exchange POLPX.
"We see an increased interest among foreign entities in our gas market," Lazor said. "Increasing the number of supply directions may result in growing liquidity on the exchange and the development of our products and instruments."
Poland, which imports by pipeline most of the gas it consumes from Russia, plans to open a liquefied gas terminal in Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea in 2014.
The country is also working on new cross-border links to connect its gas network with neighbouring nations, including Germany and the Czech Republic. Exchange officials have also said they would like to introduce financially-settled products to further boost trading.
"We have recorded a significant increase in the number of entities interested in gas trading on the Polish market, which is reflected in the constantly growing number of licences," regulator URE said in response to emailed questions.
Other players are also seeking to exploit growing liquidity in the region. The Prague-based Power Exchange Central Europe is in partnership with Vienna's Central European Gas Hub plant to launch Czech gas futures trading on December 9.
Poland's gas exchange, owned by the Warsaw Stock Exchange, got a boost when the country required gas companies to sell 30 percent of the volume supplied to the network via the exchange by the end of 2013, 40 percent next year and 55 percent in 2015. (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; additional reporting by Pawel Bernat; editing by Michael Kahn and Keiron Henderson)
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