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EU Members Clash Over Natural Gas Consumption Plan

European Union officials are discussing on Monday revisions to plans unveiled last week for cutting natural gas use by 15% by next spring after several EU member states expressed concerns about the target for reduction, a draft document seen by Bloomberg showed. 

Last week, the European Commission unveiled measures for the EU to conserve gas in the face of risks of further reduction or a shutoff of Russian gas deliveries, asking member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% until the spring. 

The Commission proposed a new legislative tool and a European Gas Demand Reduction Plan, setting a target for all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% between August 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. The new regulation would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after consulting Member States, a 'Union Alert' on the security of supply, imposing a mandatory gas demand reduction on all Member States, the EC said.

Spain, Portugal, Greece—and the latest, France—however, have expressed their disapproval with the plan and several governments have asked for more flexibility in gas cuts that would take into account each member state's specific needs and ability to contribute to the consumption cuts.  

Related: High Crude Prices Are Here To Stay

Under the current plans, the gas cut could be made mandatory if three EU member states request it, while the current Czech presidency of the EU has proposed a new version, raising to five the number of the countries necessary for a mandatory cut, according to the draft document Bloomberg has seen.  

EU members want "national specificities to be taken into account while setting up mandatory reduction targets" and "increasing flexibility in designing reduction measures," the draft document says.

The European Commission is also considering the possibility of capping gas and electricity prices, following a request by EU members, the document seen by Bloomberg showed. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • brek randolph on July 25 2022 said:
    Has the thought ever occurred to these fools to diplomatically resolve Ukraine and end these sanctions? Resolving this insanity with Russia would resolve Europe&#039;s energy issues. They always talk about democracy, how about putting sanctions up for a vote by the people? Is a reduction in your lifestyle or poverty worth Russian sanctions?
  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 25 2022 said:
    The EU is in a real muddle about what policies to adopt to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and oil exports.

    The latest fad calls on members to reduce their consumption of gas by 15% but some members have expressed their disapproval with the plan asking for national specificities to be taken into account.

    However, the hapless EU doesn’t realize that every time it proposes a legislation to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas, prices shoot up adding to a very hefty energy bill that EU members are footing now while Russia continues to rake in cash.

    It is high time for the EU to understand that Russian gas supplies are replaceable now or in 20 years from now and that the more sanctions it impose on Russia the deeper the economic hole into which it digs itself.

    By the time the Ukraine conflict is over, the EU will be a divided organization and its economy suffering from a very harsh recession.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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