The European Commission has proposed new legislation that will require EU member states to fill their gas storage by at least 80% before next winter, increasing to 90% for the following years.
The proposal to ensure EU countries have their underground gas storage filled up to at least 80% of capacity by 1st November 2022 is to ensure security of energy supply in the EU, with plans for intermediary targets from February to October.
The Commission is also proposing a new mandatory certification of all storage system operators to avoid potential risks resulting from “outside influence” over critical storage infrastructure, meaning non-certified operators will have to give up ownership or control of EU gas storage facilities.
For a gas storage facility to close down its operations, it would need to have an authorisation from the national regulator.
In addition, the Commission has outlined options for market intervention at European and national levels to address concerns about continued high energy prices.
It suggests EU partnerships with third countries to collectively buy gas and hydrogen can improve resilience and bring down prices.
It “stands ready” to create a Task Force on common gas purchases at the EU level, which would facilitate and strengthen the EU’s international outreach to suppliers to help secure well-priced imports ahead of next winter.
A joint negotiation team led by the Commission would hold talks with gas suppliers and prepare the ground for future energy partnerships with key suppliers, looking beyond liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas.
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy said: “Global and European energy markets are going through turbulent times, particularly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Europe needs to take swift action to ensure our energy supply for next winter and to alleviate the pressure of high energy bills on our citizens and businesses. Today’s proposals are another step forward in our intensive work on this front.”