The Council of the European Union, which represents the 27 Member States, definitively adopted, on Monday, the regulation aimed at ensuring that, despite the disturbances observed on the gas market due to the war in Ukraine, the capacities of gas storage in the EU are filled before the winter season and can be shared between Member States, in a spirit of solidarity.
The regulation provides that underground gas storage facilities on the territory of the Member States must be filled to at least 80% of their capacity before the start of winter 2022/2023 and to 90% before the start of the following winter periods. At the global level, the Union will strive to collectively reach a filling level of 85% of the total capacity of underground gas storage in the Union in 2022.
The agreement stipulates that as gas storage capacities and national situations vary greatly, Member States may, depending on the situation, partially achieve the storage objectives by counting stocks of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or alternative fuels.
In order to take into account the situation of Member States with very large storage capacities with regard to their national gas consumption, the obligation to fill underground stocks will be limited to a volume of 35% of the average annual gas consumption of Member States over the past five years.
For Member States which do not have storage facilities on their territory, the regulation provides that these States store 15% of their annual national gas consumption in stocks located in other Member States and thus have access to reserves of gas stored in other Member States. This mechanism will make it possible to strengthen their security of gas supply, while sharing the financial burden of filling the Union’s storage capacities.
The regulation also provides for the compulsory certification of all operators of underground gas storage sites by the authorities of the Member States concerned. According to the Council, this certification aims to avoid potential risks of external influence on critical storage infrastructures which could jeopardize the security of the Union’s energy supply or any other essential security interest. .
This regulation will very soon be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force the day following its publication.