WARSAW, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Poland wants 70 percent of gas consumed in the country to be sold via the fledgling gas exchange by the middle of next year to help lower prices and open the market, a deputy economy minister said on Tuesday.
State-controlled gas monopoly PGNiG sells nearly all of the gas available in Poland, of which around 70 percent goes to industry and the rest to individuals. Gas prices are capped by energy market regulator URE.
Deputy Economy Minister Tomasz Tomczykiewicz told a parliamentary committee the government will require PGNiG to trade 30 percent of its gas on the exchange by the end of the year and 50 percent by June 2014.
Poland will require the 70-percent target to be reached by July 2014.
Tomczykiewicz said the dates could be moved if they don’t work out in practice, although the final target will remain in place.
“The intention is to implement the target of 70 percent of gas going through the market as soon as possible and we are sure this will help lower gas prices,” he said.
Poland launched the gas exchange last month to pare PGNiG’s dominant position in the 14 billion cubic metres (bcm) market, but trade has been nearly non-existent.
PGNiG and the regulator agreed a few months ago that the monopoly would offer at least 0.1 bcm of gas per quarter at the launch of the exchange, less than 1 percent of Poland’s quarterly gas consumption.
Tomczykiewicz said he expected the new regulations to be signed into law in March. (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; writing by Chris Borowski; editing by James Jukwey)