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SEEGAS Committee: market integration is the only way to address Russian gas supply disruption

The Energy Community held its fourth South-East European Gas (SEEGAS) Joint Steering Committee meeting in Vienna where participants agreed that the risks of a Russian gas supply disruption in the region can only be addressed through further market integration and the harmonisation of market rules, as well as trading and post-trading structures on regional gas exchanges. 

An internal risk assessment found that in particular three countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and North Macedonia) might be highly exposed to disruptions because of reliance on limited infrastructure and insufficient financial resources to secure alternative natural gas supplies. 

Furthermore, participants agreed that the delay in signing interconnection agreements between Bulgaria–Turkey and Bulgaria–North Macedonia is one of the biggest regional challenges and the Bulgarian gas transmission system operator, Bulgartransgaz, welcomed proposed assistance from the EU to accelerate the process. 

The Ukrainian gas transmission operator GTSOU and the storage operator Ukrtransgaz also highlighted the importance of European companies working together with Ukraine to transit gas via this country and store it in its facilities. Ukrtransgaz said over 1,000 domestic and non-resident clients had signed contracts to store gas in Ukraine in recent years and pointed out that many companies could use Ukrainian storage facilities to comply with EU-mandated targets for 2022. 

The meeting took stock of plans by the EU to introduce a joint procurement platform and discussed the introduction of possible new measures including a gas price cap or destination clauses on volumes sourced via the joint procurement platform. 

Overall, the Energy Community Secretariat will propose solutions to how these challenges could be overcome in a study to be published in September 2022. 

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