G20 told global gas database might be public by yearend

A global natural gas database will become publicly available by yearend “or as soon as feasible,” report three international organizations central to the initiative.

The database is under development by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), which now collects and publishes data on oil production, consumption, and trade movements.

The International Energy Forum, Riyadh, coordinates JODI in partnership with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Working Group, Eurostat, International Energy Agency, Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and United Nations Statistics Division.

IEA, IEF, and OPEC reported progress toward a comparable gas database—JODI-GAS—in response to a request last November by the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G20) for recommended steps member countries and organizations might take to increase transparency of international gas and coal markets.

In their report, the three groups said JODI partners had launched a test version of the gas database last January. Access at first was limited to JODI partners but now has been expanded to countries and economies providing gas data.

JODI partners and their member countries are reviewing and improving the database, the organizations said.

Participation in JODI-Gas has reached nearly 70 countries covering roughly 80% of global natural gas supply and 82% of global gas demand, the organizations reported.

JODI will review progress on the gas initiative at its third Gas Data Transparency Conference June 4-5 in Bali, Indonesia.

To the G20, IEA, IEF, and OPEC recommended increased participation in JODI-Gas; improved timeliness, data coverage, and sustainability of submitted data; and intensified training on JODI reporting for statisticians of participating countries.

The organizations also called for “sustained commitment at all levels” of governments of participating countries.

Other recommendations

Recognizing that “no global natural gas market is likely to take shape anytime soon,” the organizations also made recommendations not specifically related to JODI-Gas.

They urged countries developing regulations for opening access to gas markets to make technical information understandable and easily accessible at all entry and connection points to market participants.

“Even when the basic rules for market access are transparent and clear, the more technical information that market parties need to analyze in order to get access to a market can in some cases still form a bottleneck,” they said.

One approach would be to support a transmission-system operator using a “central platform where all relevant data and documents are available, preferably in multiple languages of which one has to be English.”

The organizations also recommended discussion at their second Symposium on Gas and Coal Market Outlooks of the need to take national and regional “circumstances, specificities, and priorities” into account in matters concerning capacity expansions and availability.

And they recommended “a continuous feedback loop between the regulatory and market participants” in regulatory efforts to increase transparency. The communication, they said, “would allow the regulator to assess in what areas data availability and market transparency can be improved.”

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