This balance group will allow voestalpine to supply all its sites in Austria with natural gas on demand from 2013 onwards. By establishing its own balance group voestalpine acquires trading status in accordance with the Austrian Gas Industry Act (GWG), thereby giving the Group greater room to maneuver, for example in terms of direct imports from abroad, the full supply of sites, or the independent parceling out of quantities between various sites. This enables voestalpine to better react to the demands of the new Gas Industry Act, and to intensify its participation in the liberalized gas market.
As well as rapid access to large quantities of natural gas within the space of only a few hours, the balance group also simplfies organization. Supply contracts with suppliers are agreed centrally and the quantities distributed autonomously. As a result, the entire supplier portfolio and appropriate individual quantitiies are available to all the sites.
As a consequence of natural gas market liberalization in 2002 the so-called “balance group model” was introduced to Austria. A balance groups brings together suppliers, natural gas traders and end users into a virtual group which balances the provision and distribution of natural gas internally. Every network user connected to the Austrian natural gas network who supplies or extracts gas from the network must either belong to a balance group or establish one themselves.