Fluxys Belgium and GRTgaz to launch first virtual interconnection point in Northwest Europe

On 1 December 2017 Fluxys Belgium and GRTgaz will introduce Virtualys, a single virtual interconnection point between the Belgian ZTP and French PEG Nord gas trading places with a view to facilitate cross-border trading. 

Simplifying network utilisation for shippers

The introduction of virtual interconnection points is one of the provisions in the European Network Code for Capacity Allocation Mechanisms. With a view to facilitate cross-border trading, the Network Code requires transmission system operators by 1 November 2018 at the latest to establish virtual interconnection points for marketing available capacity between adjacent markets instead of using multiple physical interconnection points. The rationale is that virtual interconnection points will make it easier to flow gas flexibly across the European Union following price signals, hence enhancing competition and gas-to-gas price formation.

Virtualys combines all physical interconnection points

The virtual interconnection point Virtualys – a nod to the river Lys flowing through both countries - will combine all physical interconnection points for high calorific gas between France and Belgium: Alveringem, Blaregnies Troll and Blaregnies Segeo for Fluxys; Alveringem and Taisnières H for GRTgaz. Instead of booking and nominating capacity on one or more of these points, shippers as from today can manage their flows by simply booking and nominating on Virtualys. All underlying logistic complexity will be taken care of by Fluxys Belgium and GRTgaz.

Tariffs and existing contracts remain unchanged

The transition to Virtualys is straightforward: tariffs and capacity on offer remain the same and no changes to existing contracts are required. Capacity will be offered through bundled products on the PRISMA platform.

Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium, and Thierry Trouvé, CEO of GRTgaz commented: “We are proud of our joint effort to launch the first virtual interconnection point in Northwest Europe largely ahead of the November 2018 deadline. Virtualys marks a new step in simplifying network utilisation and will support further liquidity build-up at the French and Belgian gas trading places.”