EU group prepares for possible Ukraine gas shortage

At a meeting scheduled for July 2, the European Union's Gas Coordination Group is to prepare for the possibility of another gas shortage in case Russia again shuts down the flow of its gas through Ukraine to the EU.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, July 1 -- At a meeting scheduled for July 2, the European Union's Gas Coordination Group is to prepare for the possibility of another gas shortage in case Russia again shuts down the flow of its gas through Ukraine to the EU.

Ukraine is still looking for a $4.2 billion loan to pay for Russian gas deliveries. About 80% of Russia's gas supplies to Europe pass through Ukraine and accounts for one third of the EU's gas imports.

The directive that established the Gas Coordination Group in 2006 includes a three-step approach in dealing with a supply crisis. The first calls for the industry to take measures to resolve the emergency. If that fails, national programs are activated. If those fail and 20% of gas imports are curtailed, the coordination group provides assistance to countries in difficulty.

The January crisis showed a more coordinated approach is needed at EU level, and the commission suggested emergency plans be activated automatically in the event of supply disruption. It suggested the commission should have the authority to force member states to provide gas from their strategic stocks. These new measures should be proposed to the council and parliament before the end of summer.

More in Government