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IP/09/965

Brussels, 18 June 2009

Gas Coordination Group, in the light of explanations given by Gazprom and Naftogaz, studies the measures possibly needed to secure next winter season's supplies

Due to the rising concerns on a possible disruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe coming through Ukraine, the Commission has chaired today a meeting of the Gas Coordination Group to assure a stronger EU coordination and to secure energy supplies to European citizens. After having listened to Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy representatives on their supply and transit prospects for the next winter, the Gas Coordination Group discussed the risks and possible measures in the short and medium term to guarantee energy supplies to all European consumers.

The Commission urged both parties, Gazprom and Naftogaz, to reach a stable and long-term arrangement to secure transit towards the EU. The European Commission emphasized that all parties should fulfil their legal and contractual obligations as far as transit to EU is concerned.

The possibility of a new gas shortage in summer calls for an in-depth investigation of its impact on the next winter, as this will affect the preparedness of the EU shippers to supply their customers. Member States, national regulators and the European organisations representing the gas industry and the consumers gave their own assessment of the likely impact on their situation.

The Commission is to examine a more detailed level of preparedness of the authorities and the natural gas undertakings at a forthcoming meeting of the Gas Coordination Group to be held on 2 July 2009.

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.

The Commission in its Communication adopted on 13 November 2008 together with the Strategic Energy Review proposes the 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. Therefore, the Commission suggests the elaboration of emergency plans to be activated automatically in case of the occurrence of supply disruption of a certain importance. A joint approach of these emergency plans is of great importance to ensure mutually supportive measures. The Commission is preparing new measures on security of gas supply to be proposed for adoption by the Council and the Parliament before the end of this summer.


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