Member States agree on a negotiating mandate for the gas storage proposal

The Council today reached a negotiating mandate with the European Parliament on a gas storage proposal. In order to improve the EU’s security of supply in the current geopolitical context, the proposal aims to ensure that gas storage capacities in the EU are filled before the next winter season and can be shared between Member States in a spirit of solidarity. The mandate was decided by the representatives of the member states in Coreper.

The mandate specifies the rules for underground gas storage, possibilities for measuring liquefied natural gas (LNG) stocks, as well as limiting the obligations to a certain volume of annual gas consumption by Member States over the last five years, in order to avoid disproportionate impacts on certain Member States with large storage capacities to avoid.

Since not all Member States have storage facilities on their territory, the mandate provides that Member States without storage facilities have access to a gas storage reserve in other Member States and must share the financial burden of compliance obligations.

Member States have also agreed on mandatory certification of all storage system operators to avoid potential risks of external influence on critical storage infrastructures that could jeopardize energy security or other essential security interests.

Member States agreed that the filling obligations would expire on December 31, 2026. Finally, the mandate provides for Cyprus, Malta and Ireland to be granted an exemption as long as they are not directly connected to the gas network of other Member States.

Context and next steps

On March 23, 2022, the European Commission adopted its proposal for a European gas storage policy. The proposal amends two existing regulations on security of gas supply and access to gas transport networks.

On 24 and 25 March 2022, the European Council mandated the Council to examine the work on the Commission’s proposals, taking due account of and respecting the interests of Member States with significant storage capacities in order to ensure a fair balance. The European Council considered that the recovery of gas stocks across the Union should start as soon as possible, taking full account of national precautionary measures.

The Council Presidency will now start negotiations with the European Parliament in order to quickly agree on a final version of the text. The two institutions will then formally adopt the regulation.

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