Security of Gas Supply 

The Commission has proposed a new Regulation which aims to safeguard the security of Europe’s gas supply. This decision has been taken in the context of geopolitical events, such as the recent Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis, which revealed certain inadequacies in Directive 2004/67/EC, the current piece of legislation governing this issue.

Background

Directive 2004/67/EC, which would be repealed by this proposed Regulation, established a common framework within which Member States were asked to define general, transparent and non-discriminatory security of supply policies compatible with the requirements of the competitive internal gas market. The Directive established a Gas Coordination Group and required Member States to prepare in advance and/or update national emergency measures.

Certain flaws with the existing Directive – particularly the lack of coordination between Member States - were already apparent when the Commission published a Communication on the implementation of Directive2004/67/EC in November 2008. Moreover, in the wake of the most recent gas crisis in January 2009, the European Council and European Parliament called for an accelerated revision of the existing Directive.

Aim of the Proposal

The Regulation proposes to repeal Directive 2004/67/EC and replace it with legislation which more clearly defines the respective roles of the gas industry, Member States and the Community institutions in the event of a supply disruption in the short term and also lays down provisions for necessary infrastructure developments in the longer term. It responds to flaws identified in the current Directive by proposing greater coordination at Community level and Community level preparations for potential gas crises.

Competent Authorities

Member States would be expected to designate a Competent Authority that will be responsible for implementing the measures outlined in the Regulation to secure gas supply. These would be expected to cooperate closely with industrial gas consumers and the Commission. The Commission will coordinate the Competent Authorities through the Gas Coordination Group.

The measures outline in the Regulation that the Competent Authorities will be responsible for include:

• A biennial risk assessment;
• The establishment of Preventative Action Plans;
• The establishment of the Emergency Plan;
• The continuous monitoring of security of gas supply at national level.

N-1 Infrastructure Standard

The Regulation requires that by 31 March at the latest, the Competent Authority ensures that in the event of a disruption of the largest gas supply infrastructure, the remaining infrastructure (N-1) has the capacity to deliver the volume of gas necessary for the normal functioning of services. This volume is calculated as the volume necessary for a period of sixty days of exceptionally high gas demand. ‘Exceptionally high demand’ is calculated as the coldest period statistically occurring every twenty years.

Preventative Action Plan and Emergency Plan

The Competent Authorities will be expected to draw up Preventative Action Plans and Emergency Plans. Before adopting these Plans, the Competent Authorities will be expected tol exchange information and consult each other and the Commission to ensure that their Plans and measures are mutually consistent at the appropriate regional level.

Community Response to Emergency

The Regulation lays down the criteria under which an emergency will be declared and also outlines the procedures that will need to be followed when an emergency has been declared. In a Community Emergency, the Commission will be responsible for coordinating the actions of the Competent Authorities.

Gas Coordination Group

The Gas Coordination Group, which was established by Directive 2004/67/EC, will continue to assist the Commission on issues related to the security of gas supply. The Group will be composed of the representatives of the Competent Authorities, ACER, ENTSO-G, representative bodies of the industry concerned and relevant customers. The Commission will decide on the composition of the Group, have responsibility for ensuring its representativity and chair the Group.