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Disagreement Over Gas Price Cap Threatens EU Energy Crisis Solutions

Four EU countries are threatening to derail a package of measures designed to address the current energy crisis, including measures for joint buying of natural gas and speeding up permitting for renewable energy projects.

The four countries, Belgium, Greece, Italy, and Poland, threatened to block the entire package of energy-related measures designed to alleviate the energy crisis in 27 EU countries because a natural gas price cap plan is not included in the current list of detailed proposals.

It is just the latest in a series of arguments over the controversial natural gas price capping mechanism, and the persistent delays could prevent energy ministers from approving a price cap at the November 24 meeting as was previously expected.

 The four countries are demanding a comprehensive proposal, Reuters reported, on a nat gas price cap from the European Commission before that meeting date. If not, the four would not agree to the whole package of energy-related measures that will go up for approval on that date. Those measures include joint gas purchases by EU countries, and speeding up renewable energy project permitting.

The European Commission, in turn, responded by promising to come up with details for the gas price cap in time for the meeting.

The European Commission, however, told countries on Monday that there was no way to create a gas price cap—contrary to EU leader requests—without affecting existing long-term contracts. The EC proposed “market correction mechanism” instead. Belgium, Greece, Italy, and Poland have been credited with the original idea of a natural gas price cap, although industry experts and analysts have raised questions as to the feasibility of such a price cap.

The European Commission was never on board with the price cap, although more than half of the EU member states supported the gas price cap idea.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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