In order to secure the EU's energy supply at affordable prices in the current geopolitical context and to phase out dependency on Russian gas, the European Commission has established with the Member States an EU Platform for the common purchase of gas, LNG and hydrogen. A first virtual meeting, chaired by Director General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, was held yesterday, with representatives of the 27 Member States.
As agreed by the Heads of State and Government in the European Council on 25 March, it will be a voluntary coordination mechanism, bringing together the Commission and the Member States, supporting the purchase of gas and hydrogen for the Union, by making optimal use of the collective political and market weight of the EU.
The Platform will help ensuring security of supply, in particular for the refilling of gas storage facilities in time for next winter, in line with the Commission's proposal presented on 23 March. It will also see to an optimal use of existing gas infrastructure. In addition, it will enhance long-term cooperation with key supply partners, extending also to hydrogen and renewables, possibly through Memoranda of Understanding.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said: “It is abundantly clear that the European Union is too dependent on Russia for our energy needs. The answer lies in renewable energy and, in the more immediate term, diversification of supply. Through the EU Energy Purchase Platform Member States can now work together on purchasing gas from other suppliers and developing an international market for hydrogen, to the benefit of all countries. For the EU, replacing gas imports from Russia will help to end our over-dependence and provide much needed room to manoeuvre”.
Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, said: “The Russian aggression against Ukraine has radically changed the geopolitical context of Europe's energy security. We have decided to end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels and need to partly replace them with alternative sources of supply. To succeed in this task, the EU must use its collective political and market power on global gas markets. With the EU Energy Platform, we build on the experience gained over the past months to ensure a coordinated European approach to securing gas imports at the best possible conditions.”
The EU Energy platform will ensure cooperation in areas where it is more effective to act in a coordinated way at EU level rather than at national level. These areas include:
- Demand pooling: The Platform will work with Member State representatives to maximise leverage to attract reliable supplies from global markets and at stable prices that reflect the predictability and the size of the common EU market. This will allow moving, when appropriate, towards joint purchases.
- Efficient use of EU gas infrastructure: the Platform will coordinate actions to maximise Liquefied Natural Gas imports absorption, comply with gas storage obligations  and ensure security of gas supply. It will also help identifying additional infrastructure needs, suitable to cater for future hydrogen use.
- International outreach: Considering the need to secure significant volumes of non-Russian gas already in 2022 and the global market tightness, the EU Energy Purchase Platform will also coordinate and reinforce EU's international outreach to gas partners and markets. This will include the main LNG exporting and importing countries with a view to define and agree on potential arrangements for diversification, including towards hydrogen. This work will take account of partners' supply capacities, long-term contracts and existing as well as planned interconnections and storage infrastructure in the EU. The recently announced EU–US Joint Statement on European Energy Security is a guiding example.
The Platform will build on existing EU policy initiatives with Member States, transmission system operators, associations and market players. It will make use of existing coordination structures for security of supply (Gas Coordination Group, including network of gas operators ENTSO-G) and the regional assessment of energy infrastructure (e.g. High-Level Groups: CESEC, BEMIP, South West Europe).
The Commission will operate the Platform covering all aspects of the value chain, global supply and demand, market mechanisms, infrastructure and security of supply.
Working with EU industry
To ensure access to market insights and expertise on the gas supply chain, the Commission will establish a dedicated consultative working group consisting of industry experts. The group will have an advisory role and operate in compliance with EU antitrust rules, with strong safeguards against conflict of interests.
 In particular, the obligation to fill gas storage up to 80% of their capacity for winter 2022, as per the Commission's proposal of 23 March.