4.7.2022

The Spanish energy regulator (CNMC) fines GASELA GMBH and SOLSTAR Limited €6 million each for manipulating the Spanish gas market

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The Spanish energy regulator (CNMC) fines GASELA GMBH and SOLSTAR Limited €6 million each for manipulating the Spanish gas market

What is it about?

On 23 June 2022, CNMC adopted a sanction decision imposing fines of:

  • €6 million on GASELA GMBH (GASELA)

  • €6 million on SOLSTAR Limited (SOLSTAR)

for manipulating the Spanish wholesale gas market in breach of Article 5 of the Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT).

CNMC found that, especially between 15 and 21 April 2019, GASELA and SOLSTAR carried out pre-arranged transactions on the Spanish wholesale gas market (MIBGAS) aimed at keeping prices at an artificially higher level than what would have resulted from the oversupply caused by GASELA during Easter week (which is typically characterised by lower demand and liquidity).

GASELA and SOLSTAR issued pre-arranged orders and performed transactions in the within-day, daily, and weekend gas products to keep prices high. They also colluded to prevent other market participants from benefiting from the abnormally high prices.

Hence, according to CNMC, their actions breached Article 5 of REMIT by:

  • sending misleading signals on the supply, demand, and price of the gas wholesale products and

  • setting the prices of such gas wholesale products at an artificial level.

Access CNMC’s decisions (in Spanish).

The decision can be subject to an appeal.

ACER Guidance

ACER provides guidance to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on implementation of the REMIT regulation.

In 2021, ACER updated its Guidance on REMIT (6th Edition) to anticipate upcoming NRA decisions on market manipulation such as sending false/misleading signals and setting prices at an artificial level, including new examples on collusive behaviours between market participants and on pre-arranged trades.

ACER welcomes CNMC’s decision under REMIT.