MEPs back plans to restock gas reserves before next winter

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Parliament backs plans to accelerate the refilling of Europe’s strategic gas reserves, so households and businesses have enough gas for the next heating season.

The proposal, adopted under Parliament’s urgent procedure process, will now be negotiated with EU ministers. MEPs want to establish a mandatory minimum 80% level of gas in storage facilities by 1 November 2022, and 90% for subsequent years, in order to ensure security of supply and protect Europeans from possible supply shocks.

All storage operators will also have to undergo a new mandatory certification, in order to avoid risks resulting from outside interference. Operators who fail to secure this certification will have to give up ownership or control of EU gas storage facilities. Moreover, operators will not be able to close a gas storage facility without authorisation from the national regulator.

In order to speed up the refilling of gas reserves, the new law will also incentivise energy companies with a discount on transmission tariffs to – or from – storage facilities.

Quote

“This key legislative proposal is not only about new and much-needed legal provisions – it is first and foremost about securing gas supplies for next winter ” said MEP Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL), who is leading the European Parliament negotiation team.

“This is what our citizens – households, SMEs and industry – expect today from the European Union. We have to live up to these expectations and we are ready to start negotiations immediately. I believe the Council shares this approach” he added.

Parliament backed the proposal with 516 votes in favour, 25 against and 15 abstentions. MEPs sent the matter back to committee for negotiations, which will start when EU ministers have agreed their position.

Background

The legislative proposal was adopted by the Commission on 23 March, in the context of the Russian war against Ukraine. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee requested that the urgent procedure (Rule 163) be applied. Parliament voted on Tuesday in favour of triggering such a procedure.

At the Versailles Summit, EU leaders requested measures to address the issue of energy independence. The proposal from the European Commission, welcomed by the European Council at their 24-25 March summit, aims to reduce the risks to security of gas supply.

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