Eurogas challenges EU Energy Council issues

Eurogas has expressed some reserve about "the three major political issues" on the agenda of the EU Energy Council Oct. 10 in Luxembourg.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Oct. 15 -- Eurogas, which encompasses some 40 gas companies and associations in Europe, has expressed some reserve about "the three major political issues" on the agenda of the EU Energy Council Oct. 10 in Luxembourg.

The issues were the unbundling compromise that was unanimously adopted and two issues where clear consensus failed to be achieved and which are still hanging in the balance, according to authoritative opinion that OGJ obtained. These involve the "third country" clause and the "level playing field" notion.

Under the third country clause, or Gazprom clause, a non-EU company such as Gazprom would be allowed to invest in an EU country only if it abides by European legislation and does not threaten the energy security of the country concerned or of Europe's. The level playing field notion aims to prevent EU integrated companies from taking stakes in transport networks of the EU countries that have opted for full unbundling.

Eurogas said these issues "leave open a lot of practical concerns." In particular, Eurogas says it recently analyzed Parliament and Council draft texts and "identified several issues which require definite improvement, as well as important discrepancies between Council and Parliamentary texts."

Although Eurogas Senior Manager of Media relations Simona Basiu was careful to tell OGJ that Eurogas "has a positive attitude towards the Energy Council's work and decisions," Europa also expressed concern that the regulatory agency would have too much power of intervention in supply and trading activities and that there would be a risk of competence overlap between regulators and competition authorities.

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