A key part of ensuring secure and affordable supplies of energy to Europeans involves diversifying supply routes. This includes identifying and building new routes that decrease the dependence of EU countries on a single supplier of natural gas and other energy resources.
Opening up the Southern Gas Corridor
Many countries in South East Europe are dependent on a single supplier for most or all of their natural gas. To help these countries diversify their supplies, the Southern Gas Corridor provides a pipeline infrastructure bringing gas to the EU from the Caspian Basin.
Opened at the end of 2020, as of March 2022, the Southern Gas Corridor had delivered the first 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Europe. It is expected that the Southern Gas Corridor will deliver in 2022 at full capacity approximately 10.5 bcm of gas.
EU actions to support the Southern Gas Corridor include:
- keeping the infrastructure projects needed for the corridor on the EU's fourth list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI). These are projects which can benefit from streamlined permitting process, receive preferential regulatory treatment, and are eligible to apply for EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility
- supporting the construction of the Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline (TAP) to transport gas from Azerbaijan to Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea by listing them on the PCI lists
- cooperating closely with gas suppliers in the region, such as Azerbaijan
- cooperating closely with transit countries including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Albania
Developing the Mediterranean hub
The creation of a Mediterranean gas hub in the South of Europe will help diversify EU's energy suppliers and routes. To this end, the EU is engaged in an active energy dialogue at political level with North African and Eastern Mediterranean partners.
Taking into account the huge potential of Algeria, both for conventional and unconventional gas resources, as well as the new gas resources in the East Mediterranean and the associated infrastructure development plans, the Mediterranean area can act as a key source and route for supplying gas to the EU.
Israel, Egypt and Cyprus, because of their significant offshore gas reserve, make the Eastern Mediterranean region a strategic partner for the EU in its effort to diversify its gas supply routes. There are several options to bring natural gas from the region to the EU and the world market either by pipeline or as LNG. Notably, there are two Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) in gas involving the Cyprus East Med Pipeline and CyprusGas2EU LNG terminal, where the latter granted significant Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) grants at the end of 2017.
Liquefied natural gas terminals
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported to Europe through LNG terminals is a source of diversification that contributes to competition in the gas market and security of supply. To adapt to this evolution of the world gas market, in February 2016, the European Commission presented an EU strategy (COM(2016) 49 final) for LNG and gas storage.
New LNG supplies from North America, Australia, Qatar, and East Africa are increasing the size of the global LNG market, and some of these volumes have already reached the European market.
Considering that most of the existing capacity is located in Western Europe, and that internal bottlenecks exist from the Atlantic coast to the East, the EU strategy has identified a limited number of essential ‘projects of common interest’, mainly interconnectors, that would allow market players from all corners of the EU to benefit from LNG. In addition, as is the case in the Baltics and in South-East Europe, a number of LNG regasification units have been identified as Projects of Common Interest under the Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure ((EU) 347/2013).
- Communication on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage (COM/2016/049 final)
- Commission Staff Working Document on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage (SWD(2016) 23 final)
- Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure ((EU) 347/2013)