The European Union has achieved an unprecedented energy shift since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thanks in part to the implementation of a wide range of policy measures at EU and Member State level. In a report published today, the European Commission reviews the functioning of the so-called ‘Solidarity Regulation’, adopted last December, as part of the emergency framework.
The Commission’s review considers the different aspects of the regulation - notably measures to jointly purchase gas, to limit excessive gas prices and market volatility as well as measures to tackle in a coordinated manner a possible gas supply emergency. The report concludes that these measures have played an important role in stabilising energy markets and ensuring an adequate supply of gas to the EU over the past year, and that certain aspects of the demand aggregation and joint purchasing mechanism could be considered to be integrated (in a more structured way) in the EU Gas Regulation, which is currently being revised.
The report finds that overall the EU gas market has been able to make up for the 70 billion cubic metre (bcm) drop in Russian pipeline gas imports in 2022 by increasing LNG supplies (+50 bcm), securing alternative pipeline supplies, and reducing overall gas consumption (corresponding to -58 bcm). The EU also managed to reach gas storage levels of 90% by 18 August, 2023, well ahead of the legal deadline of 1 November.
The EU Energy Platform – through the joint purchasing platform, AggregateEU - has contributed to the EU’s supply diversification and storage filling ahead of winter 2023/2024 and increased market transparency for buyers and end consumers, the report finds. The first two rounds were successful with total aggregated gas demand of 27.5 bcm from 91 buyers (compared to the mandatory demand aggregation target of 15% of storage capacity, corresponding to around 13.5 bcm) and 33.9 bcm of supply offers from 40 international suppliers. In the end, 22.9 bcm of demand was matched to suitable offers.
According to the report, the provisions to enhance transparency made a significant contribution to optimising the use of LNG and storage capacities in the EU. In particular, the LNG price assessment and daily benchmark published by the Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER have added value for companies in the market. The structural introduction of this measure is foreseen in the new REMIT legislation currently being negotiated by the co-legislators as part of the reform of the electricity market design.
Finally, the report recommends making permanent the default rules for solidarity in case of an emergency, with some adjustments to reflect the specificity of the LNG market, given LNG has now become the EU’s main source of gas supply.
- Publication date
- 28 September 2023
- Directorate-General for Energy