Brussels, 2 December 2010
New EU rules on security of gas supply for citizens
Today, the new Regulation No 994/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to safeguard security of gas supply and repealing Council Directive 2004/67/EC entered into force.
What are the new rules?
A well functioning internal gas market as first crisis response
The Regulation will ensure that the gas market can take effective action to solve any supply shortcomings. Liquid markets make sure that gas can flow where it is needed. Non-market measures can be introduced as a last resort when the markets alone cannot solve a supply disruption. Emergency measures have to be transparent, non-discriminatory and must not distort the market or hamper the access to infrastructure or the flow of gas across borders.
Gas supply security for EU consumers
The Regulation sets out a common concept of the customers whose gas supplies have to be protected. Importantly, supplies to households have to be guaranteed. Depending on the role of gas in the energy mix of the Member State, district heating installations, SMEs and essential social services may also be protected.
Natural gas undertakings have to secure supplies to these protected costumers under severe conditions: in the event of a seven day temperature peak and for at least 30 days of high demand or the case of an infrastructure disruption under normal winter conditions.
More physical interconnections and gas infrastructure for security of supply
Together with the investment incentives of the new internal energy market framework and the co-financing of almost € 4 bn under the European Energy Programme for Recovery (around €1.4 billion for gas), the Regulation provides standards for a more interconnected EU gas market and gas infrastructure for the security of gas supply.
Member States have to ensure that the gas network is robust enough to withstand the disruption of the largest infrastructure (N-1 standard) at national or regional levels. Each Member State will decide on how to best achieve the N-1 standard by the end of 2014.
The Regulation underlines the benefits of physical interconnection between gas systems. In a bottom-up approach procedure, system operators will have ensure that permanent physical bi-directional capacity is available on all cross-border interconnections between Member States by the end of 2013 (some exemptions).
Better preparedness and crisis response at national or regional levels
The Regulation requires all Member States to take effective action to prevent and mitigate the consequences of potential disruptions of gas supplies. As a new element, all Member States need to establish national preventive action and emergency plans with well defined crisis levels (early warning, alert, emergency), in consultation with neighbours at regional level, based on a detailed assessment of the risks.
Regional cooperation and a European approach
A well defined role of the Commission and of the Gas Coordination Group, gathering the competent authorities of the Member States and the EU representative bodies of the regulators, the gas consumers and gas industry, will ensure a European approach on prevention and crisis management.
National emergency measures must not endanger the security of supply of other Member States or of the Union. If national Plans are inconsistent with the plans of other Competent Authorities or even endanger the security of gas supply to other Member States or the Union as a whole, the Commission has to ask Member States to change their Plans. The Member States concerned will have three months to amend their plans accordingly. The Member States also have to inform the Commission about the emergency measures they take.
Union or regional emergency
Under the new rules, the Commission may declare a Union or regional emergency if one competent authority has declared a national emergency, but has to declare it if two EU countries are in state of emergency. The Commission will convene the Gas Coordination Group and coordinate the actions, in particular with regards to third countries.
Increased transparency and information exchange
Already within one month, Member States have to publish all the public service obligations that relate to security of gas supply. Together with the transparency requirements under the second and third internal market packages, the new rules will ensure greater access and sharing of data that is vital for the security of gas supply, such as transparency on storage levels and cross-border flows.
Transparency is also extended to external relations, on gas contracts and international gas or pipeline agreements. The Regulation provides a sound basis for the EU to defend its interests more effectively in its relations with external gas suppliers.
Further detailed information as well as facts and figures on security of gas supply is available at the website of DG ENER: