Order ITC/863/2009, of 2 April which regulates the auctions for the purchase of natural gas to be used as a reference for setting the last resort tariff, in its additional provision one, designates Operador del Mercado Ibérico de Energía-Polo Español, S. A. (OMEL) through its subsidiary OMEL Diversificación, S.A.U. as the entity in charge of organising the following auctions, for the purchase of natural gas for supply to consumers protected by the last resort tariff, auctions for the purchase of natural for operation and for the minimum level of transmission network and regasification and underground storage facilities, and the auctions for assigning the capacity of underground natural gas storage facilities.
The Order ITC which lays down the transit and access charges associated with access by third parties to gas facilities and which updates certain aspects relating to the payment of the regulated activities of the gas sector, lays down that the transmission companies shall annually purchase the natural gas necessary for self-consumption (operating gas) and for the minimum filling of gas pipes (check gas) and the gas needed for the development of underground storage of the core network (cushion gas).
Said provision establishes that an auction be held annually for the purchase of said gas and its rules shall be laid down in a ruling by the State Secretary for Energy.
The auction procedure is regulated in the Ruling of 19 May 2008 by the General Secretary for Energy in which the auction procedure for the purchase of natural gas for use in operation and the for maintaining the minimum level of the transmission, regasification and underground storage facilities is outlined.
As per said Ruling, the purchase of all the necessary natural gas for operation (operating gas) for transmission, storage and regasification facilities (full requirement) and the minimum level of the regasification plants and gas pipes of the transmission grid (cushion gas) is auctioned for annual periods from 1 July to 30 June of the following year.
The participants, product sellers, shall be the gas retailers having completed the prequalification and qualification processes provided for in the Auction Rules.