Natural Gas: Russia

Department for Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 11th March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other European governments to secure natural gas supplies to Western Europe.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

During the Commission exercise on stress tests last summer when all Member States were asked to consider the impact of one and six month winter disruptions of Russian gas to the EU under two scenarios (total cessation of Russian gas supplies by all routes and cessation of all transit gas to the EU via Ukraine), the UK had detailed discussions with immediate neighbours, including with Belgium and the Netherlands, on security of supply assumptions and preparedness. Those discussions confirmed general alignment as regards our respective security of supply positions and relative demand, supply and import profile assumptions, including any impact on possible flows through the interconnectors. Indeed the Commission stress test analysis last Autumn on the pan-European situation acknowledged the relative robustness of western states to a disruption given its diversity of supply sources and routes and the efficient functioning of the liberalised western and north western markets, which are more liquid and price responsive than other regions of the EU.

Notwithstanding this there is a need for strengthened co-operation amongst all Member States to increase resilience throughout the EU and to urgently reduce dependence of some Member States on a single or major third country supplier, particularly in the South East and Baltic regions. We strongly support the Commission taking an active role in those regions to help achieve that. Security of supply is a key priority of the Energy Union, which the UK endorses.

The UK has also been very actively engaged in supporting the process for selecting Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) whereby key cross-border infrastructure projects are accorded PCI status and can benefit from streamlined ‘one stop shop’ planning regimes, regulatory certainty for higher risk projects, a mechanism for agreeing cross-border cost allocations for projects and possible funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Increased interconnection and the supply diversity that it will facilitate, together with a sustained push to ensure full implementation of the internal market legislation and co-operation on a regional basis in emergencies will enhance security of supply for all Member States. Strong energy efficiency and demand reduction measures and increased use of indigenous low carbon energy resources are also essential and will play a key part in the drive for a secure Energy Union.

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