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IP/09/533

Brussels, 2 April 2009

Gas Coordination Group: supplies in South Eastern Europe under control after gas pipeline explosion

The members of the Gas Coordination Group (CGC) have discussed today the situation of gas supplies in South Eastern Europe after an explosion damaged an important gas pipeline that supplies the region. After hearing reports of the countries most affected GCG concluded that the situation appears to be under control. The Commission yesterday alerted the members of the group and asked them to report to the regular meeting of the GCG scheduled for today in Brussels.

The Romanian authorities indicated that their country was not affected by the accident. Bulgaria reported a decrease in gas supply which could be compensated by using gas from underground storage. The only country in the Energy Community with supplies normally coming from the exploded pipeline is FYROM. However, as their gas demand is down after the January gas crisis the reduced supply can be compensated using gas in the transport system ("line pack").

The explosion on a trunk gas pipeline in Moldova has affected gas supply to EU countries and the Energy Community but only to a minor degree. The explosion occurred on Wednesday 1 April at 05h35 local time in a field several kilometres from Tiraspol, in the north of the Republic of Moldova. The blast affected a pipeline 1,200 millimetres in diameter, which passes 2 meters underground. Repair of the pipeline should be completed within the next week. Two parallel pipelines transiting gas along the same route appear unaffected by the blast.

After the blast the Commission was been in contact with authorities of the concerned Member States and the Energy Community. Contacts have also been taken with relevant gas organisations.

The Commission will follow closely the evolution of the situation in the next few days. However, even if this situation appears under control, the latest event confirms once again the need to speed up the revision of the Gas Supply Directive as well as initiatives to promote the construction of the necessary infrastructures to improve gas interconnections within the EU and with our main suppliers.

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.

The recent Communication of the Commission, adopted on 13 November 2008 together with the Strategic Energy Review, to strengthen the measures to have a more effective action in case of gas crisis. In this Communication, the Commission proposes the revision of the directive and the elaboration of regional and EU emergency plans to be activated automatically in case of the occurrence of supply disruption of a certain importance.


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