EU member states agree on negotiating mandate for gas storage proposal
By ECCT staff writers, Europa
The European Council has reached a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on a proposal on gas storage. According to a press release on the EU’s official website, Europa, the mandate was made in order to improve EU security of supply in the current geopolitical context, the proposal aims to ensure that gas storage capacities in the EU are filled before the next winter season and can be shared between member states in a spirit of solidarity. The mandate was agreed by the representatives of the member states in Coreper (Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union).
The mandate specifies the rules for underground gas storage and possibilities for counting stocks of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while limiting obligations to a certain volume of the annual gas consumption of the member states over the last five years, in order to avoid a disproportionate impact on certain member states with a large storage capacity.
As not all member states have storage facilities on their territory, the mandate stipulates that member states without storage facilities will have access to gas storage reserves in other member states and will have to share the financial burden of the filling obligations.
Member states have also agreed on mandatory certification for all storage system operators in order to avoid potential risks of external influence on critical storage infrastructures, which could jeopardise security of energy supply or any other essential security interest.
Member states agreed that the filling obligations would expire on 31 December 2026. Finally, the mandate provides for a derogation to be granted to Cyprus, Malta and Ireland as long as they are not directly interconnected with the gas system of other member states.