EU States Mull Deal on Emergency Rules to Fill Gas Storage

European Union countries will this week debate a possible deal to share out the costs of buying gas to fill storage and build a supply buffer ahead of next winter, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

EU countries are negotiating proposed rules that would require them to fill their gas storage to at least 90% of capacity by Nov. 1 each year from 2023 and 80% this year – an attempt to reduce the leverage of Russia, which supplies around 40% of EU gas.

The proposal had worried some states with gas storage, including Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands, which feared their companies would be forced to buy large volumes of gas at near-record prices, while those in countries with little or no storage would not.

Diplomats from EU countries will this week discuss a compromise deal, which if approved could lead to negotiations with European Parliament on the final rules.

The draft proposal would keep the 90% target, but only apply it to storage sites that serve the host country’s domestic consumers – meaning a state would not be obliged to fill gas storage on its territory that is mainly used by another country.

A country’s contribution to filling storage would also be capped at 35% of its average annual gas consumption over the last five years, under the proposal by France, which currently chairs meetings of EU countries.

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