EU countries agree on joint gas storage
The European Member States approved the Commission's proposal to join forces to increase available gas stocks in order to prepare for the coming winters. Countries which do not have their own storage capacity will have access to reserves in other countries and will have to contribute financially to the storage.
The Commission's proposal aims to guarantee security of gas supply in Europe. By filling up to 90% of the storage capacity by 1 November each year, it should be possible to absorb supply shocks. The available gas storage facilities in Europe were filled considerably less last winter than in previous years, which, combined with a disrupted gas market, led to a sharp increase in gas prices. On top of this, from the end of February onwards, uncertainty was created by the war in Ukraine.
The EU member states approved the Commission proposal on Wednesday and can now start the final negotiations with the European Parliament. Among other things, agreements have been made to ensure that countries with large storage capacity - Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France - will not have to bear a disproportionate burden. Countries without their own capacity will have access to the reserves in other countries and will have to contribute financially to the storage.
The obligation to replenish reserves applies until the end of 2026, but, for the time being, Cyprus, Malta and Ireland are not affected. For obvious geographical reasons, they do not currently have direct gas connections with other Member States.
© BELGA PHOTO - Pipes and valves in the underground gas storage facility.