The energy ministers of the European Union gathered in Luxembourg on Monday to decide on joint action to reduce gas demand as the bloc grapples with cuts to Russian supplies. The new storage legislation adopted today is expected to support the EU’s security of gas supply for the upcoming and next winters.
Today’s formal approval by the EU energy ministers follows a positive vote by the European Parliament last week. Under the new legislation, the 18 Member States with underground gas storage facilities are required to fill 80 per cent of their storage capacity by 1 November – and are encouraged to aim for 85 per cent. In the coming years, the target will be 90 per cent.
Member States without storage infrastructure are required to agree bilateral arrangements for sufficient quantities to be stored for their use in neighbouring countries, in a spirit of solidarity. Gas storage facilities will now be considered critical infrastructure and all storage operators in the EU will have to go through a new certification process to reduce the risks of outside interference.
“Having concluded negotiations in less than two months, the EU now has a tool which requires all member states to have adequate gas storage for the winter period and which makes it easier for countries to share,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, French Minister for the Energy Transition adding that in the current international context, the new legislation will allows the block to reinforce Europe’s energy resilience and actual solidarity among Member states.
Welcoming the adoption at the Energy Council in Luxembourg, Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said that the EU Gas Storage Regulation is an important statement of EU unity, determination and speed of action in the face of the Kremlin’s moves to weaponise their gas exports. “It is now crucial that we press on with meeting the new storage targets and step up our preparedness in case the situation further deteriorates,” concluded the Commissioner.
Adoption by the Council closes the procedure. The regulation will shortly be published in the Official Journal of the EU, and will enter into force on the day after its publication.