Faced with the threat of supply disruptions by Russia, the EU Gas Storage Regulation requires that Europe's gas reserves are refilled before the winter, and their management protected from outside interference. In particular, the new rules will require the EU Member States to fill storage facilities to 80% of capacity by November this year – and to 90% in the years after.
The rules were adopted in record time thanks to the Parliament and Council's readiness to examine the legislative proposal as a matter of urgency, against the backdrop of Russia's war against Ukraine.
Welcoming the adoption at the Energy Council in Luxembourg, Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: I would like to pay tribute to the positive and constructive approach that the Parliament and Council have shown on this proposal. This is an important statement of EU unity, determination and speed of action in the face of the Kremlin's moves to weaponise their gas exports. It is now crucial that we press on with meeting the new storage targets and step up our preparedness in case the situation further deteriorates.”
Under the new legislation, the 18 Member States with underground gas storage facilities are required to fill 80% of their storage capacity by 1 November – and are encouraged to aim for 85%. In the coming years, the target will be 90%. Member States without storage infrastructure are required to agree bilateral arrangements for sufficient quantities to be stored for their use in neighbouring countries, in a spirit of solidarity. Gas storage facilities will now be considered critical infrastructure and all storage operators in the EU will have to go through a new certification process to reduce the risks of outside interference.
The Commission tabled a legislative proposal on minimum gas storage obligations on 23 March, to ensure security of supply at reasonable prices for next winter and beyond. The new regulation was a rapid response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the EU Leaders' call in the Versailles Declaration to ensure sufficient levels of gas storage for the winter through coordinated refilling operations.
On 24 and 25 March 2022, the European Council instructed the Council to examine the Commission's proposals, acknowledging that refilling of gas storage across the Union should start as soon as possible. On 5 April, the Parliament voted in favour of triggering a fast-track procedure to adopt the rules.
Today's formal approval by the EU energy ministers follows a positive vote by the European Parliament last week. The new Gas Storage Regulation is now formally adopted and will enter into force on the day after its publication on the EU Official Journal.
For more information:
- Publication date
- 27 June 2022
- Representation in Cyprus