European officials have met to discuss the details of a new scheme that would enable member states to jointly buy gas.
This is part of new proposals unveiled by the EU in October last year to address high gas prices and security of supply.
Chairing the first meeting of the Steering Board of the EU Energy Platform, European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič said: “We are working on a tight schedule to prepare in time for the next winter and the storage refilling season.
“I have therefore encouraged member states to swiftly engage with key market players at national level – first, to identify those to participate in the Platform and second, to estimate volumes as well as the destination of gas to be purchased through the Platform.
“At the same time, I have called on the industry to express their interest in joining a European consortium. The objective is to publish the aggregate demand to attract supply offers in early spring, followed by the first joint purchasing well before summer.”
Mr Šefčovič is expected to meet gas-intensive consumers, including the ceramic, chemical and fertiliser industries next week.