European Parliament and EU countries agree on plans to replenish gas reserves before winter

European Parliament and EU Council negotiators reached an agreement on May 19 on a new regulation setting the mandatory minimum level of gas in storage facilities at 80% by November 1, 2022.

According to the agreement, EU countries and operators should strive to reach 85%.

The objective will be 90% for the following years in order to protect Europeans from possible supply shocks.

A statement from the European Parliament said that during the negotiations, MEPs succeeded in pushing for more ambition on targets and filling trajectories.

From 2023, Member States will establish individual filling trajectories with the Commission.

MEPs agreed that the regulation stresses the need for EU countries to diversify gas supply sources and step up energy efficiency measures.

EU countries that do not have underground storage capacity will have to ensure that at least 15% of their average consumption over the past five years is stored in another Member State. Alternatively, they will need to develop a burden-sharing mechanism that provides financial support to achieve filling targets.

The European Commission will publish guidance on how to use a joint gas supply mechanism, which will be activated voluntarily by two or more Member States, by 1 August 2022.

Under the regulation, gas storage capacities will become critical infrastructure. All storage operators will have to submit to a new mandatory certification to avoid the risk of outside interference.

MEPs called for the certification phase to be as short as possible. Member States will have to publish draft certification decisions by November 2022.

Operators who fail to obtain this certification will have to relinquish ownership or control of EU gas storage facilities.

In addition, operators will not be able to shut down a gas storage facility without permission from the national regulator.

The European Commission, which proposed the minimum gas storage obligations in March this year in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, welcomed the political agreement between the European Parliament and EU member states. EU.

The new rules would ensure security of energy supply across the EU every winter, the Commission said in a May 19 statement.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson represented the Commission in this week’s negotiations and said this morning: “Filling the EU’s gas storage before next winter is crucial to ensure our security of supply.

“Today’s agreement on the Commission’s storage obligation proposal is therefore an important step towards preparing for the next heating season, ensuring that our gas storage will be at least 80% full”, Simson said.

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