The legislative proposal includes LNG, as requested by Spain
BRUSSELS, June 23 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The plenary session of the European Parliament this Thursday approved the EU’s strategic gas stocks targets ahead of next winter, which envisage a minimum storage threshold of 80% before November and 90% in subsequent years up to 2026 in order to guarantee supply at community level.
By 490 votes in favour, 47 against and 55 abstentions, MEPs backed the legislative proposal to ensure minimum gas storage capacities by 2026, which the Council is now considering ahead of its publication in the EU Diario Official and its entry into force.
The agreement provides that Member States will be able to draw on reserves of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet this 90% minimum, as well as other alternative fuels, a point in line with the request made by Spain and Portugal at the end of April LNG’s role in energy security is taken into account and it would be given the same consideration as underground gas reserves when meeting these minimum storage levels.
The new regulation aims to ensure that both citizens and businesses in the EU have enough gas for the upcoming winter season and increase energy independence in the EU market after Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
In this sense, the popular Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek has emphasized that Gazprom “uses energy as a weapon so that we create a protective shield for ourselves”.
The European Commission presented this legislative proposal on March 23rd, which the European Parliament gave its support to launch its accelerated procedure last April.
Member States will aim to collectively reach 85% of underground gas storage capacity in 2022, and the storage obligation will be capped at 35% of each EU country’s annual gas consumption over the last 5 years, a measure that aims to place a disproportionate burden on countries with avoid large storage facilities.
Countries that do not have gas storage facilities can draw on those of other Member States and have access to 15% of their annual gas consumption over the past five years, for which they must meet financial commitments to maintain storage capacity tiers.
In this regard, the President of the European Parliament’s Industry Commission and popular MEP Cristian Busoi has pointed out that Member States that “do not have reserve capacity will have to make agreements with other Member States to store the necessary volumes”. .
The agreement provides for mandatory certification for all gas storage operators in order to avoid risks from external influences on EU-critical infrastructure that could endanger the supply.