New EU Gas Security of Supply Regulation 2017/1938

The European Commission  published the long-anticipated Regulation to safeguard the security of gas supply (EU) 2017/1938 yesterday. From tomorrow (1 November 2017) onwards it replaces Regulation (EU) 994/2010. The new regulation is available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2017.280.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2017:280:TOC 


According to a press release by the Commission  the new regulation is aimed at improving the security of supply in the EU and will enter into force on 1 November 2017. The process of revising the `old` gas Regulation 994/2010 started in February 2016. The new Regulation 2017/1938 includes a new `solidarity principle`according to which countries will need to help neighbouring countries, to which they are directly connected, to provide gas to vulnerable customers in case of an extreme supply shortage. Although solidarity was present in Regulation 994/2010 and already even in its predecessor documents, the `solidarity principle`is now clearly linked to particular, clearly defined obligations for the first time.

However, the initial idea of the Commission to group countries into so called regional cooperation groups that should exercise solidarity in case of a gas emergency has been criticized by the Member States for its, perceived, arbitrary nature. The `gas regions` have now been re-grouped and custom-tailored, compared to the initial proposal of the Commission. The task of the regional groups is now to assess the potential for disruption to their gas supplies and agree on joint actions to mitigate consequences.

In addition, gas companies will also have to officially notify national authorities about major long-term supply contracts that may be relevant to security of supply. The Regulation also requires the European Network for Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) to perform an EU-wide gas supply and infrastructure disruption simulation in order to provide a high level overview of major supply risks for the EU.

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