Europe to mull strategic reserves for gas: press
Members of the EU may be called on to voluntarily store natural gas in order to form strategic reserves, the Reuters news service reported December 13.
European natural gas prices are nearly 10 times what they are in the US due to declining storage levels, surging demand and lower deliveries from Russia, one of the EU’s major suppliers.
Gas storage held by Russian energy company Gazprom in the EU is already low and gas exports to the bloc between October and November were about 25% lower than during the same period last year.
The European Commission is proposing a voluntary mechanism for natural gas purchases to go to a strategic reserve. The commission could move to update EU gas market rules as early as this week to accommodate the proposal.
"The proposals will include an enabling framework for the joint procurement of gas strategic stocks by regulated entities on a voluntary basis," Reuters quoted a commission document as stating.
The commission said gas storage would be a coordinated means to ensure supplies are adequate in the event of a bloc-wide emergency. Storage could also serve as a gauge of a member state’s exposure to supply-side risks.
“Member states, through joint cooperation at regional level, should be able to rely on storage in other countries in case of needs,” the document added.