The European Commission has on Tuesday released new proposals for a raft of measures related to prevention of gas crises and better coordination between EU countries.
The proposals will also “tighten-up so-called intergovernmental agreements in the energy field between EU and non-EU countries and set out a strategy for boosting energy security through access to LNG and gas storage,” the European Commission said in a statement.
These proposals are part of the Commission’s Energy Union strategy and will give “a strong push to improving the EU’s energy security and solidarity“. They are also in line with the EU’s commitments to fighting climate change taken at the Paris climate summit towards the end of last year, the statement said.
On gas crisis prevention, the Commission plans to improve coordination between EU countries and create rules that would require an EU country to help out its neighbour if it is experiencing a very severe gas crisis. Under the so-called solidarity principle, an EU country in trouble would see gas supplies to its households and essential services ensured by neighbouring EU countries.
Gas currently covers one quarter of the EU’s energy consumption and the EU is the biggest gas importer in the world. The expected decline of domestic EU gas production will also impact on gas imports. Besides, gas is also seen to play a determinant role in accompanying the EU’s transition to a low carbon energy system since it is a back-up fuel for renewables when weather conditions hamper renewable energy production.
The Commission has also published a proposal to tighten-up so-called intergovernmental energy agreements between an EU country and a non-EU country. The new rules will allow the Commission to take action before such agreements are signed if it assesses that such an agreement could affect the security of gas supplies in another EU country or hamper the functioning of the EU’s energy market, according to the statement.
Finally, the Commission has outlined how better access to a rapidly developing global market in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and better use of gas storage across the EU would allow EU countries that are dependent on very few gas suppliers to diversify their supply and hence strengthen their energy security, the statement added.
LNG and gas storage strategy
The EU has a “major opportunity to improve its energy security and its competitiveness thanks to the positive development of the global LNG market,” the statement said.
Ensuring that all member states have access to liquid gas markets and diversified sources of supply is “therefore a key objective of the EU’s Energy Union.”
Europe’s overall LNG import capacity is significant – currently it is enough to meet around 43% of total current gas demand 2015, the statement said.
However, significant regional disparities as regards access to LNG remain. The Commission sets a “liquefied natural gas strategy that will improve access of all member states to LNG as an alternative source of gas.”
“The central elements of this strategy are building the strategic infrastructure to complete the internal energy market and identifying the necessary projects to end single-source dependency of some of the member states,” the statement said.(source: LNG World News Staff)