The European Commission convened today a high-level industrial roundtable to support the work of the EU Energy Platform in further advancing on joint gas purchasing which is due to kick off in 2023. Today’s meeting follows the adoption yesterday by EU Energy Ministers of the Commission’s proposed Regulation on enhancing solidarity through better coordination of gas purchases, exchanges of gas across borders and reliable price benchmarks. This Regulation provides the legal basis for aggregating EU gas demand, joint purchasing and more efficient use of infrastructure, including of EU LNG terminals.
The meeting was opened by President Ursula von der Leyen and chaired by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, and was attended by high-level representatives from 33 companies from EU Member States and Energy Community Contracting Parties. The meeting focused on the need for genuine engagement by the EU gas industry, both larger and smaller market operators, in the Platform. The objective of the Platform is to help coordinate gas purchases, while using the EU’s collective negotiating and political power, to secure supplies from reliable partners at sustainable prices for EU citizens and businesses. In January, the Commission will convene the first official meeting of the Steering Board, composed of EU Member States, to help coordinate both the process of demand aggregation and joint purchasing.
President von der Leyen said: “We have made great steps forward this year in diversifying our gas supplies and replacing Russian fossil fuels. But we know that 2023 will be tougher, and we may face a potential shortfall of almost 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas next year. By making joint purchasing of gas a reality, we will use the EU’s economic and political weight to secure more supplies for our citizens and industry. Today’s meeting will kick start this process.”
The EU Energy Platform was initiated in April 2022 in response to the need to diversify from Russian gas and support all EU Member States and Energy Community Contracting Parties in securing gas supplies for the winter 2023/2024. A dedicated task force has been created within the Commission to support the process. An Industry Advisory Group has been established and been meeting regularly to assist the Commission in providing the industrial dimension; five regional groups have been set up to identify the needs, opportunities for common use of infrastructure and potential new suppliers.
The Platform has also been key to our diversification efforts over the past months, facilitating the signature of Memoranda of Understanding with key gas exporting partner countries, and supporting international outreach to support our REPowerEU Plan. The proposed Regulation on joint gas purchasing was agreed by EU Energy Ministers on 19 December, at the Council meeting attended by Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.