Central European Gas Hub and Wiener Börse start joint gas exchange

Source: Wiener Bourse

The start of gas trading activities by the CEGH Gas Exchange of Wiener Börse today marks a further step towards positioning the Central European Gas Hub (CEGH) as an important international hub and trading gateway into the CEE area, whilst strengthening competition and the further liberalization of the market. The Austrian Minister of Economic Affairs Reinhold Mitterlehner, OMV Executive Board Member Werner Auli, Vienna Stock Exchange CEO Heinrich Schaller and the Managing Director of CEGH AG, Harald Wüstrich, gave the go-ahead to the international spot trading at today's opening ceremony.

The CEGH ranks among the largest gas trading platforms in Continental Europe and seeks to facilitate access to gas trading. There are 100 trading participants currently registered on the platform and total trading volumes have increased, by roughly 2 bcm per month, since the founding of the gas hub four years ago. The start of trading activities by CEGH at Vienna Stock Exchange now marks a further important step.

"The opening of CEGH Gas Exchange of Wiener Börse sets another milestone for the creation of an European gas market and considerably strengthens the energy trading sector in Austria. This further improves the security of gas supply for Austrian customers based on market-oriented measures," commented the Austrian Minister for Economic Affairs at the opening celebration.

For OMV, which still has a 100% share in CEGH, the expansion of these gas trading activities contributes further to consolidating its logistic gas business.

"The direct access to the infrastructure of the OMV distribution node Baumgarten, which is an interconnector of important transit pipeline systems and comprehensive storage facilities, allows the CEGH to be in a position to fulfill all necessary prerequisites of a state-of-the-art energy trading platform," stressed Werner Auli, OMV Executive Board Member for Gas & Power. Furthermore, the cooperation between the CEGH and the Vienna Stock Exchange will further enhance the pivotal role of the Baumgarten compressor station, which is wholly owned by OMV Gas GmbH, as a physical distribution node in Central Europe. Roughly one third of total Russian gas exports to Western Europe are already transported via the OMV compressor station in Baumgarten. Short-term trade will optimally complement longterm delivery agreements, whilst safeguarding competition on the deregulated energy market.

"The CEGH Gas Exchange of Wiener Börse secures - for both of us - one of the most important positions for the future gas market at a regional and a European level. And it shows that at the Vienna Stock Exchange we have further expanded our strategic business fields," explains Heinrich Schaller, Board Member of the Vienna Stock Exchange. The Vienna Stock Exchange will hold a 20% stake in CEGH.

Trading on the spot market of the CEGH Gas Exchange of Wiener Börse will be carried out via the Vienna Stock Exchange XETRA® electronic trading system. The

CEGH will be responsible for the market and customer relationship management, while overall market supervision will be with the Vienna Stock Exchange.

Stock exchange trading at the CEGH Gas Exchange of Wiener Börse is subject to strict rules and requirements in accordance with the Stock Exchange Act, which guarantees a clear structuring and regulation of trading activities minimizing any risk for all trading participants. The settlement of trading activities on the spot market will be split in line with the standard practice of the energy business between the Leipzig-based European Commodity Clearing AG (ECC), which will be in charge of the financial settlement of transactions and the clearing of the gas volumes, and the hub trading points of the CEGH, which will be responsible for the physical settlement of trading activities on the basis of the stock exchange trading.

"This Stock exchange trading will ensure the highest degree of standardized trading and round off the wide range of services currently available; optimally

complementing OTC trading," added Harald Wüstrich, Managing Director of the CEGH AG.

A cooperation agreement signed between OMV and Gazprom in January 2008,envisages the participation of Gazprom Germania and Centrex in the CEGH with a

30% and 20% stake respectively. This is subject to prior approval under EU merger control law granted by the European Commission. This envisaged partnership will further enhance a secured supply of gas, via the distribution node Baumgarten, whilst also increasing liquidity for short-term trading activities.

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