EU Commission to Preview Energy Deals Signed by Member States

Energy | February 18, 2015, Wednesday // 16:02|  views

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The European Commission (EC) plans on establishing a practice of holding mandatory pre-consultations with member states, prior to signing of energy deals with third countries.

This is foreseen in a draft plan for the Energy Union as part of the strategy to diversify the EU's energy suppliers, EurActiv reports.

The EC will insist on more active participation in the negotiations of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) and their assessment in order to ensure that these are compatible with EU rules.

At present the governments of member-states must inform the EC of IGAs that affect the internal energy market and supply security.

The revision of these rules will grant the Commission with the opportunity to be involved in the negotiations of broader types of contracts.

This decision originates from a series of six IGAs signed between Russia and six EU member states – Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria.

The deals with Russian Gazprom were not compatible with EU state aid and competition rules, which led to the freezing of the South Stream pipeline.

The EC is expected to issue a communication on the Energy Union on February 25.

In order to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, the EC will seek deals with producing and transit countries such as Algeria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, the Middle East and Africa.

The EU will work towards intensifying work on the Southern Gas Corridor in order to facilitate gas supplies from Central Asia.

The draft also proposes the development of a liquified natural gas (LNG) and storage strategy, increased reliance on renewable sources and unconventional methods of extraction such as fracking.

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Tags: EU, energy, EC, energy union, IGA, Bulgaria, South stream, Gazprom, Russia, diversification, gas, fracking, renewable sources, LNG, Southern Gas Corridor


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