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IP/09/1917

Brussels, 14 December 2009

Gas Coordination Group discusses the gas supply outlook and the emergency preparedness in the EU

In a meeting held today in Brussels, the Gas Coordination Group, under the chairmanship of the Commission, has discussed with Russian Gas Company Gazprom the gas supply and demand outlook and investment strategy of the company in both Russia and the EU. During the meeting, the Group also had an exchange of views with Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz concerning the transit of Russian supplies via Ukraine to the EU and the outlook for the winter 2009/2010 in Ukraine.

The Gas Coordination Group, comprising Member States, national regulators and the European organisations representing the gas industry and the consumers, continued the assessment of the emergency preparedness of the EU and the Energy Community contracting parties for a potential supply disruption in the winter 2009/2010. The Group focused in particular on measures to ensure gas supplies to the protected customers in the countries in Central and South-East Europe that were affected by the January gas crisis.

In addition, Members of the Gas Coordination Group assessed the gas infrastructure development in the EU and the security of supply aspects to be addressed in the 10 year network development plan under preparation by ENTSO-G and ERGEG. Moreover, the Group continued to examine various supply disruption scenarios at regional level to identify the best possible responses at Community and regional level.

The Gas Coordination Group will meet again on 12 January 2010.

Background

The Gas Coordination Group was created in 2006 according to Directive 2004/67 relating to measures that guarantee security of natural gas supply. Chaired by the European Commission, it is composed of gas competent representatives of Member States, the European organisations of the gas sector and consumers. The Group meets regularly (at least 4 times per year) to exchange information and to develop both short and long term concrete measures which reinforce the security of gas supply to the EU.

Directive 2004/67 sets out a three step approach in case of supply crisis: the industry takes the necessary measures; if these are not adequate to mitigate the crisis, national measures are activated; if still not adequate and if the crisis reaches the major supply disruption indicator (20% of all imports are missing) the Community mechanism is activated: the Gas coordination Group is convened to discuss what further steps can be taken and to assist the Member States in difficulty. The Group can then propose further measures to the Council.

In July 2009 the Commission has proposed a new Regulation on security of gas supplies in revision of the directive to strengthen the measures for a more effective action in case of gas crisis. The January 2009 gas crisis showed that a more coordinated approach is needed on European level to provide stable and secure energy supply to European citizens. The crisis also showed the vital role of gas storages and reverse flows as short-term crisis response. Therefore, the Commission suggests a common infrastructure standard to ensure the infrastructure for the security of supply, including reverse flows, and supply standards to protected customers, as well as the elaboration of preventive action plans and emergency plans to be activated automatically in case of the occurrence of supply disruption. The European Council of October 2009 has urged Member States and the Parliament to make fast progress on these proposals for the security of gas supply.

The last Gas Coordination Group met on 18 November 2009.

For further information, please see IP/09/1735 or visit the website of the Gas Coordination Group.


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