Energy 18 September, 2017 10:00 am   
COMMENTS: Jerzy Buzek

Buzek: Revision of the SOS regulation marks the end of concerns over gas supply security from Germany to Poland (interview)

On Tuesday 12 September, the European Parliament adopted regulations on the security of gas deliveries at first reading. According to the press release published on the EP’s webpage, every EU Member State that will face a gas shortage will be able to notify its neighbors and trigger cross-border assistance to prevent the decrease in supply. This pertains to the so-called review of the SOS regulation. Professor Jerzy Buzek, rapporteur of the project comments on the new rules. Does the SOS regulation fulfill the expectations of its initiators? 

Jerzy Buzek: The previous regulation on the security of gas supply from 2010 did not have three decisions. First, it did not ensure supply to the so-called vulnerable consumers (households, hospitals, emergency services, retirement homes, hospices, heating networks) during the most severe crises. Secondly, it did not facilitate regional cooperation with regard to risk assessment, designing preventative measures and crisis plans. And thirdly, it did not enforce the transparency of gas agreements with suppliers from outside of the European Union, which would offer everybody a level playing field on Europe’s competitive, single market. All of these three drawbacks have been fixed now.

Which mechanisms offer protection against supply shortages?

We introduced a legally binding solution for the vulnerable customers, the so-called solidarity mechanism, which says that in case of the most severe supply crises gas needs to be delivered from neighboring countries. The EU has to ensure gas deliveries to the vulnerable consumers at all cost.

Can these regulations be applied to the Energy Community countries? 

We agreed in the European Parliament that Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the six Western Balkans countries should be encompassed by the regulation. However, those states need to first introduce EU legislation. It is a long road ahead.

Theoretically, what would Poland’s and Germany’s cooperation look like in case of supply problems? 

We will be meeting with German representatives to jointly conduct risk assessments of gas deliveries from outside the EU, design preventative and emergency measures in case of a severe crisis. If we run out of gas for households or hospitals, Germany is obliged to deliver the fuel to us – even at the cost of its own industry. Here is a specific example: Germany will have to stop the fuelling of its storage facilities and free transmission capacity for us by opening the gas connectors on the border. This is a key solution for us, which ends the controversies surrounding the Katharina storage facilities owned by Gazprom Germania and the possible transmission of gas to Poland from Germany via the physical reverse flow in Mallnow.

Interview by Wojciech Jakóbik