Enron chief sees Europe gas market
growing very fastFeb. 24, 1997 Europe's competitive natural gas market is set for phenomenal growth and will be worth
$ 250 bn by the end of the next decade, the Chairman and CEO of Enron Kenneth Lay said recently. "Within the next
five years there will be a $ 100 bn retail market in Europe and by the middle or end of next decade the retail and
wholesale markets will be worth $ 250 bn," Lay said. This would echo the huge growth in the United States where the
combined markets for natural gas and electricity continue to see liberalisation at the retail level. "The combined
retail market for electricity and natural gas (in the US) will be worth $3 bn this year," said Lay. "In 1998, this
will be $ 30 bn. And by 2001 a $ 150 bn market will be wide open for competition - that's two thirds to three
quarters of all retail natural gas and electricity business." Including the wholesale sector, Lay puts the total size
of the electricity and natural gas market in the US at $ 300 bn.
Lay said he was encouraged by the progress made opening up the energy market in parts of Europe other than Britain. He saw the European Commission talking of phasing in deregulation over nine years. "We're in favour of a more accelerated schedule," he added, seeing liberalisation as inevitable. "It's hard to imagine how any one country can hold out." "Germany will probably be first," Lay continued, but added that progress has also been made in the Netherlands. "It's irresistible in that it results in much lower energy costs," he said. "I've yet to see any market where competition led to higher prices."
Enron is already active across Europe.