The European Commission has practically ready the reform of the Regulation to guarantee the security of gas supply in Europe. The Community Executive – which is preparing to impose a minimum stock level of 80% for this year – is willing to expropriate the shares or rights held over the storage facilities if their managers represent a risk to supply.
The measure may open the door to the expropriation of gas storage managed by Gazprom in Europe. The Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission may order provisional measures to ensure that said managers cannot exercise any control over them until the shares are disposed of and guarantees that they would subsequently receive the appropriate compensatory measures.
The Commission intends to approve this regulation with a term of validity of five years (2022-2027) considering that the current regulations are not prepared to deal with sudden and serious geopolitical events where supply shortages and price spikes may be due not only to infrastructure malfunctions or extreme weather conditions but also to intentional major events or to sudden or prolonged supply interruptions.
For this reason, the Commission opens the door to its withdrawal when it is published another final document in which the Brussels technicians are already working, which would mean a revised text on the internal gas market.
Brussels considers that the current situation in the sector is serious and is willing to allow state aid to help fill the storage facilities. According to the regulation, states may apply a 100% discount on transportation fees based on capacity at the entry and exit points of such facilities in a way that makes it more attractive to operators.
The European Commission will simultaneously maintain strict control over the levels of reserves (see graph) and compliance with the milestones set in order to be able to take measures if urgently necessary. So if warehouse managers with a capacity greater than 3.5 TWh If they were filled to a level below 30% of their maximum capacity, action could be taken quickly. However, Brussels will create a system that will take into account any risk to the security of supply at national, regional or Union level and that will allow countries that do not have storage facilities to also be responsible for the cost of their security. The Commission may force countries to increase purchases or take additional measures, but always taking into account their level of dependence on gas.
Brussels also considers that additional safeguards are required in the storage network to avoid any threat to public order and security and ask that the certifications of the installations are accelerated larger to be able to deal with the crisis in an accelerated manner.