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EU to allow joint gas buying, plots low-carbon gas shift

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The European Commission on Wednesday proposed rules allowing EU countries to jointly buy strategic reserves of gas, under plans that would also bolster gas storage and aim to add more low-carbon gases to the network, according to Reuters. 

European Union countries including Spain, Greece and Romania have called for joint gas buying, a move they say would help shore up supplies. Gas prices surged to record highs in recent months, stoked by factors including high demand and lower-than-expected exports from Russia.

The European Commission has responded by proposing a system by which countries’ transmission system operators (TSO) could jointly buy strategic stocks of gas, which could be used in an emergency situation of severe scarcity.

Participation would be voluntary and countries would first need to notify the Commission, sharing details including the volume to be bought, the operating procedures to activate the supply in an emergency, and expected costs and benefits.

EU countries would also need to include storage in their regional assessments of gas supply risks, including relating to foreign ownership of storage infrastructure under the Commission proposal. If they identify risks, countries should consider measures such as obliging TSOs to buy strategic stocks.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera told reporters on Tuesday that joint rather than individual purchasing could help secure better terms in global gas markets.