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The European Union is keen to attract international natural gas suppliers to offer volumes for sale on the EU’s new joint gas purchase platform to keep prices low and avoid another winter of fears of gas shortages.
“All international suppliers of gas should come and bid,” Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, told Bloomberg TV in an interview on Friday.
“We have to be vigilant, the situation is still very fragile,” Sefcovic said, commenting on the EU energy security this year.
Last week, the EU Energy Platform for the joint purchasing of gas launched the first call for placing a demand to buy gas.
“This marks an important milestone in order to prepare for next winter and the storage filling season,” the European Commission said in April.
Under the new platform and joint purchase mechanism, the demand volumes submitted to the platform will subsequently be aggregated and ultimately matched with sellers’ bids through a tender. Each tendering round – every two months over the next 12-month period – will last approximately two weeks. Both the type of delivery, liquefied natural gas (LNG) or national balancing point, and the date, should be indicated by a company when placing its gas demand.
“The more participants we have, the higher the chances of finding attractive gas deals,” Sefcovic said at the time.
In the interview with Bloomberg, he said today that more than 100 companies have joined the platform, of which 65 are seeking to buy gas. The key objective of the joint purchases is to drive gas prices lower and avoid another hit to energy-intensive industries, which have suffered from skyrocketing gas prices in the past year, Sefcovic said.
Benchmark European natural gas prices hit a 21-month low this week, but Europe is not out of the woods yet for next winter’s supply. As fears of a gas crunch did not materialize this past winter, pulling European gas prices down, Europe shouldn’t count on another warmer-than-usual winter and less competition from Asia as it prepares for the 2023/2024 winter.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.