At a macroeconomic level, global growth prospects were tempered with respect to previous years; the latest growth figures published by the IMF for 2015 point to +3.1%, that is, 0.3 points lower than for 2014.
The current macroeconomic environment can be summarised into three main lines:
|Disparity in the performance of the different regions||Uncertainty surrounding the evolution of China||Widespread fall in commodity prices|
While advanced economies recorded slight upturns in their growth rates, emerging markets experienced a slowdown for the fifth year in a row.
Major structural change is expected in China towards a production model focused on domestic consumption, thereby boosting the services sector and high-value-added manufacturing.This transformation is expected to be accompanied by more moderate growth rates, leaving behind the double-digit levels of the past. However, the country will continue to grow at rates that could be double those forecast for advanced economies.
Oil prices dropped to $30 a barrel, which represents a fall of around 45% compared to the price in early 2015. This is due to an abundance of supply and to the reappearance of Iran; a country with a high potential for crude oil production that will foreseeably increase the volume of exports. Fluctuations in certain currencies also had an impact, such as the appreciation of the US dollar and the depreciation of the yuan).
Metals also traded at low prices, largely affected by a fall in demand in China (the main importer, with 50% of the worldwide share).
To this macroeconomic context, we can add the huge challenge of climate change.
As a result of the historic agreement to combat climate change that was reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), the energy sectors have taken on a leading role in the national plans announced by the different countries (the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions).
Enagás supports firm, coordinated action to deal with a global problem that requires a global solution. Gas must be a major part of that solution.
In this regard, Enagás' strategy incorporates sustainability as one of the core business drivers.
In 2015, a low price environment for natural gas was consolidated. Market trends point to an abundant supply being maintained in the short and medium term, in a context of moderate growth in demand which, combined with the falling price of crude oil and its knock-on effect on the price of indexed gas contracts, further adds to the downwards pressure on prices.
Such a setting increases the relative competitiveness of natural gas while introducing greater liquidity and optionality in the market, thereby improving its efficiency.
In Spain, the demand for natural gas increased in 2015 by 4.5% over the previous year, the largest rise since 2008. It is worth highlighting the strong growth in the use of gas within the electricity sector (+18%), following several consecutive years of falling demand in this segment.
In addition, sustained growth in future demand of around 3.5% is expected, mainly due to an improved macro context in Spain, a recovery of the gas-based power generation segment and greater penetration of gas among end users.
Last year, the Iberian gas market, MIBGAS, was launched. This market, combined with the major supply capacity, both pipeline and LNG, the availability of a robust, developed network of gas infrastructures and the boost from interconnections with Portugal and France, will facilitate the creation of a price reference for the Iberian Peninsula.
Demand for natural gas in Spain
Forecasts on gas demand in Spain 2015-2020e (TWh)