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Gas Coordination Group discusses security of gas supply in the light of the current winter situation in Europe

Commission Européenne - IP/10/13   12/01/2010

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IP/10/13

Brussels, 12 January 2010

Gas Coordination Group discusses security of gas supply in the light of the current winter situation in Europe

In its first meeting in 2010, the Gas Coordination Group, under the chairmanship of the Commission, has focused today on the assessment of the situation on security of gas supply in the EU-27 and countries of the Energy Community and discussed priorities for the work of the Group in 2010.

Considering the severe winter conditions prevailing in some Member States, the Gas Coordination Group, comprising Member States and the European organisations representing the gas industry, regulators and the consumers, assessed today the situation in the EU-27 and Energy Community contracting parties regarding gas demand and supply, storage levels and gas imports from third countries. In the light of the exceptional situation in some countries due to specific weather and Import conditions the Commission noted that storage levels in the EU are above last year s' levels and welcomed the ability of the European gas industry to ensure continuous gas supplies to all consumers.

In its first meeting in 2010 the Members of the Gas Coordination Group took stock of the work done in 2009 during and following the January 2009 gas crisis and held an exchange of views on the future work by identifying the priorities for the work of the Gas Coordination Group in 2010.

On the basis of the work carried out in the taskforce on the simulation of supply disruptions, the Group continued to examine various supply disruption scenarios developed by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE).

The Gas Coordination Group will meet again on 15 February 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 14 December 2009.

For further information, visit the website of the Gas Coordination Group.


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