“This is another unprecedented achievement considering the tight schedule, due to the Russian war in Ukraine. What is at stake here, is securing gas supplies for next winter for all Europeans - citizens, protected customers, SMEs, energy-intensive industries. This is why it is remarkable that we now have an EU-wide target for filling gas storages by 1 November 2022”, declared Jerzy Buzek MEP, the European Parliament Chief Negotiator on the Gas Storage Regulation.
Today, the European Parliament and the EU Member States reached an agreement on new rules that will oblige EU governments to fill their gas storages ahead of this winter and in the coming year, as well as to ensure that the owners and operators of these storage systems do not put the security of energy supply at risk.
Due to Russia's military aggression in Ukraine and soaring energy prices, EU countries have committed to filling underground gas storage facilities on their territory, aiming for 85% - at least - of their capacity by 1 November 2022. The filling target shall be set at 90% for the following years.
Buzek, who is a former President of the Parliament, underlined the strategic importance of gas storage facilities: “Data shows that the storage facilities supply 25-30% of gas consumed every winter. In addition, storage facilities are considered critical infrastructure and contribute to absorbing price and supply shocks. Therefore, we are putting in place a mechanism which will ensure that gas storages in the EU are no longer controlled by those who fuel speculative price rises and supply crises.”
Buzek stressed another important achievement, which is a provision on a voluntary mechanism for joint procurement of natural gas. “This is an idea that I first presented in a joint declaration with Jacques Delors in 2010 and which is now finally a reality. I trust that EU governments - supported by the European Commission - will make the best use of this possibility to unite their purchasing power when procuring gas on the global energy market.”
Buzek also mentioned that the negotiated regulations open up the possibility for Member States to use gas storages in Ukraine and other countries of the Energy Community. "The European Parliament strongly encourages all Member States to participate in such a cooperation - it would have a practical, as well as a symbolic dimension", he concluded.
The European Parliament intends to vote on today's agreement in the June plenary session.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States