The Commission has proposed today to prolong emergency legislation on measures to reduce gas demand by 15% for another 12 months. With the existing regulation, agreed in July 2022, expiring at the end of March, Commission analysis shows that it is important to continue this provision for another year in order to avoid security of supply issues next winter. Today’s proposal, under article 122 of the Treaty, will be discussed by energy ministers at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE) Council on March 28. EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson already signalled to Ministers in February that a proposal along these lines was to be expected.
Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said:
Our collective efforts on gas demand reduction have been key to get through this winter safely. We have made good progress on supply diversification and reduced our dependency on Russia, but global gas markets are expected to remain tight over the coming months. Continued gas demand reduction will ensure our preparedness for the next winter and allow us to reach more easily the 90% gas storage target by 1 November. I count on the support of Member States for continuing this EU effort, all together.
As the heating season comes to an end (at the end of March) levels of gas storage are historically high and new infrastructure has been built to help diversification. Moreover, Russia can no longer weaponise energy and introduce uncertainty in the system to the same extent as in 2022. Nevertheless, global gas markets are expected to remain tight in the months ahead, with a number of possible risks and challenges (such as weather conditions, global LNG demand, and macroeconomic conditions). Commission analysis finds that, in order to fully compensate for the permanent decrease in Russian gas, a continuation of the gas demand reduction is needed to complement the additional LNG and pipeline gas sourced from other countries, and new renewable capacity installed since early 2022. It concludes that continuing the 15% reduction in April for one more year would be sufficient to achieve the 90% gas storage filling rate by 1 November and ensure no concerns related to security of gas supply throughout the next winter. Reducing gas consumption and facilitating a regular filling of storage over a longer period of time will also help maintain current market conditions - with lower prices and less volatility than last year - and limit any possible adverse effect on additional volumes being imported in Europe.
Latest available figures indicate that the introduction of this regulation last July has generated savings of 19%, equivalent to 41.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), between August 2022 and January 2023, which helped mitigate security of supply issues until today.
One small change in the new proposal will be for the Commission and Member States to monitor and report the data on savings per sector every month, rather than total gas demand every two months. This will help the member States to implement more targeted measures in the future, if necessary.
- Secure gas supplies
- Action and measures on energy prices
- Report on how the existing regulation has functioned COM(2023) 173
- Publication date
- 20 March 2023
- Directorate-General for Energy