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Breakthrough: 4,6 billion dollar deal secures gas for Ukraine and EU

After seven rounds of gas negotiations, last night's talks moderated by Günther H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission, yielded finally a breakthrough: A 4,6 billion dollar winter package, agreed by Russia and Ukraine, secures gas for Ukraine - and ultimately also for Europe.

Vice-President Günther H. Oettinger said: "This breakthrough will not only make sure that Ukraine will have sufficient heating in the dead of the winter. It is also a contribution to the de-escalation between Russia and Ukraine."

Press conference:

European Commission releases Stress Test Communication on Security of Gas Supply

The European Commission has released today a Stress Test Communication on Security of Gas Supply. The communication analyses the resilience of the EU energy system to a potential crisis in the coming months. It is based on stress tests carried out by 38 European countries which simulate a disruption in the gas supply from Russia.

While the tests show that a prolonged supply disruption would have a substantial impact on the EU, protected consumers would remain supplied even in the event of a six month disruption if all EU countries cooperate with each other.

Results show that all countries could benefit from the implementation of short term measures, such as more energy market coordination and behavioural changes to help boost energy efficiency and lower demand. These actions will not only help ensure secure supplies of energy for European homes and businesses, but also ensure a better functioning internal energy market for the future.

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European Commission releases Internal Energy Market progress report

The European Commission has released its Internal Energy Market progress report today. The report takes stock of what we have achieved so far and what still needs to be done.

Thanks to the integration of the EU's energy markets, wholesale electricity prices have declined by a third and wholesale gas prices have remained stable between 2008 and 2012. Consumers also have more choices than ever before when it comes to picking their energy supplier, and missing infrastructure links between countries have been built or are under construction.

At the same time, further actions are necessary to ensure secure and affordable supplies of energy to EU citizens and to mitigate climate change. In particular, more investment in infrastructure should be undertaken most importantly to end gas market isolation in the Baltic States and connect electricity grids across Europe. The Commission also underlines the importance of regional cooperation and the urgent need for adoption of a set of simple, harmonised rules to facilitate cross-border flows and trade of energy in the EU.

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EU-Norway Energy Conference

Today the second EU-Norway Energy Conference "A reinforced energy partnership between Norway and the EU" took place in Brussels. The conference opened with keynote speeches by Günther Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy, and the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien. More than 150 delegates attended the conference. It focused on EU-Norway energy cooperation, in particular on recent developments in power and gas markets, renewables and on security of supply issues.

Vice-President Oettinger and Minister Lien also met in the framework of the European Commission-Norway Energy Dialogue. Several key areas of energy cooperation were addressed, such as security of supply, the latest developments in EU and Norwegian energy policies, energy security stress tests, carbon capture and storage and the Internal Energy Market.

For decades, Norway has been a reliable partner of the EU. 92% of Norway's oil exports and more than 98% of its gas exports have been delivered to EU countries.



Geothermal Energy in Europe

Today Vice-President Günther H. Oettinger met with Icelandic Minister for Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir as part of a high-level roundtable on geothermal energy in Europe. Over 60 high-level Icelandic and EU representatives from geothermal industry, academia and finance met to discuss barriers to the growth of geothermal energy and, in particular, geothermal district heating in Europe. At the roundtable it was emphasised that more support from policymakers is needed to improve the contribution of secure, stable and indigenous renewable heat to the overall European Energy mix and that many lessons can be learned from Iceland's exemplary leadership in this field. Iceland is a world leader in the use of geothermal district heating. Today, almost 90% of Iceland's houses and buildings are heated by natural hot water. Europe has considerable potential for geothermal energy and further development thereof would assist many EU Member States in achieving their renewable energy targets and becoming more self-sufficient.

Outcome of gas talks between Vice-President Oettinger and Russian Energy Minister Novak

At today’s meeting in Moscow with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Vice-President of the EU Commission Günther H. Oettinger reiterated his proposal to have an interim solution including an interim price.

Both agreed that a solution should contain the following four elements:

  • the interim price
  • the fulfilment of all supply and transit obligations
  • a repayment plan for the unpaid bills to be developed by the next few weeks
  • the use of OPAL pipeline

At the press conference following the bilateral meeting, Vice-President Oettinger said:

  • “We have to agree on an interim gas price for the next few months, while waiting for the Stockholm arbitration court to decide on the final price.  In addition:  Ukraine has to pay an account for the gas to be delivered in the months to come."
  • “Our main goal is to secure gas supply to the EU and its citizens, but also to the citizens in Russia, Ukraine, the Western Balkans, including accession countries and Moldova.”

Speaking about the worsening situation at the Eastern border of the Ukraine, Vice-President Oettinger expressed his concern:

  • "I came to Moscow to prepare the next trilateral gas talks as agreed in Minsk. At the same time, I have to express my concern. The news that Russian soldiers are operating inside Ukraine does not reflect the spirit of Minsk. Respecting the sovereignty of national borders is vital to preserve peace."

Press statement