Parliament approves plans to restock gas reserves before winter

(Credit: Unsplash)

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


n response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, this law aims to refill Europe’s strategic gas reserves more quickly before winter to ensure energy supplies are secure.

The new regulation, already agreed upon with EU ministers, sets a mandatory minimum level of gas in storage facilities at 80% by 1 November 2022. Member states and operators should strive to reach 85%. The target will be 90% for subsequent years to protect Europeans from possible supply shocks. The text highlights the need for EU countries to diversify gas supply sources and boost energy efficiency measures.


Mandatory certification for gas storage facilities


Under the regulation, gas storage facilities will become critical infrastructure. All storage operators will have to undergo new mandatory certification to avoid risks of outside interference. Operators who fail to secure this certification will have to give up ownership or control of EU gas storage facilities.


Joint procurement


By August 2022, the Commission will issue guidance on how EU countries can jointly procure gas, to be activated voluntarily by two or more member states.


Quotes


“The regulation is the answer to the current situation. Gazprom is using energy supply as a weapon (…) so we’ve got our protective shield”, said MEP Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL), who is leading the Parliament’s negotiating team.


With the regulation, “no one who uses energy as a weapon (…) will be responsible for our storage capacities. Also, we can formally start our joint purchasing of natural gas in the EU” he added.


“Countries with large storage capacities will be obliged to have at least 35% of their consumption there. Countries that do not have a storage capacity will need to conclude agreements with the other member states to store the necessary quantities of gas for them. This is a solidarity mechanism incentivised by this regulation”, said rapporteur and Industry, Research and Energy Committee Chair Cristian Buşoi (EPP, RO).


You can watch the full video statements here.


Next steps


The legislation was adopted on Thursday with 490 votes to 47, and 55 abstentions. It now requires the formal approval by Council before publication in the Official Journal and entry into force.


Background


The legislative proposal was adopted by the Commission on 23 March, in the context of the Russian war against Ukraine. Parliament voted on 5 April in favour of triggering a fast-track procedure and backed the proposal two days later. At the Versailles Summit, EU leaders requested measures to address the issue of energy independence.

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