For the last 20 years, we were told that Europe must transform from a plethora of gas markets that are dominated by national utilities with monopolies into free-market players that trade. Gas hubs were established, gas was traded, a spot market came into existence and the legacy long-term supply contracts came to be seen as a burden in time. It took some time but eventually, most players went for spot and short term and ditched security of supply. But the free market has two faces – we chose to ignore the other side of the coin. Now we pay for that.
Europe is set to get its first cold spell of the winter season, putting the continent’s already scant energy supplies under pressure.