Friday, November 25, 2022

EU countries agree to exclude Russian gas from joint purchasing — European Commission

EU energy ministers agreed to exclude Russian gas from joint purchasing during an informal meeting on Thursday, the European Commission said in a statement.

"The new rules will make it possible for member states and energy companies to purchase gas jointly on global markets," the document says. "Member states made it explicit that Russian gas will be excluded from joint purchasing."

However, the term ‘Russian gas’ has not been clearly defined, and it is yet unknown whether gas produced in Russia and purchased with the help of an intermediary or a chain of intermediaries will be considered as such.

"In practice, member states agreed that gas companies and companies consuming gas in EU and the Energy Community countries will submit their gas import needs. The EU will hire a service provider to calculate the aggregated demand and seek for offers on the global markets to meet the total demand," the statement says. "Member States will require domestic undertakings to use the service provider to aggregate demand for volumes of gas equivalent to 15% of their respective gas storage filling obligations for 2023 (around 13.5 billion cubic metres for the EU as a whole)."

The move is yet to be formally adopted during a scheduled meeting of the EU Energy Council, due in December. However, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Sikela, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council this month, said after the informal meeting that all discussions on the issue have been completed and it is to be approved without any prior consultations.

Therefore, European Union would oblige gas companies to purchase a certain volume of gas not directly on the market, but with the European Commission’s mediation. This means that EU countries have delegated another portion of their sovereign functions to the European Commission.

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