Energy regulators from across the EU have launched a new regional market scheme which they hope will deliver the genuine gas market openness that has to date eluded the region.

Focused on a desire to generate genuine full market competition and cross-border co-operation, Ergeg – the European regulators’ group for electricity and gas – has proposed a four region pilot system.

The North-West region will include Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland and the UK. The North region will consist of Germany, Denmark, Sweden and again Netherlands. Southern France, Spain and Portugal make up the southern region, while Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, Poland and Czech Republic form the South / South-Eastern region.

The regional system is designed to improve communication, transparency and access between logical gas trading neighbors, with the ultimate aim of improving gas supply security and reliability for the whole European community.

The Regional Energy Markets (REMs), as the areas will be known, will report back on progress at a Madrid forum in late autumn 2006.