17 December 2012

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Call for tenders

Agreement reached to connect Bulgarian and Serbian gas transmission systems by the end of 2015

On 14 December 2012, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, signed in the presence of the European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger, an agreement to put in place the first gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Serbia.
The Nis-Dimitrovgrad-Sofia pipeline will contribute to the security of gas supply of the countries. This is particularly important given that both of them were severely affected by the 2009 gas supply disruption. This bi-directional pipeline is also critical to the development of the gas market of the entire region. It is part of the Energy Community Gas Ring concept promoted by the European Commission. The investment required for this 180- kilometer long pipeline, with a capacity of ca 1.8 billion cubic meters per annum, is estimated at 100-120 million Euro.

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Commission welcomes decision to grant Moldova more time for energy legislation

6 December, Brussels - The European Commission welcomed the decision to give Moldova almost four extra years to unbundle its gas pipeline network. The Ministerial Council of the Energy Community has extended Moldova’s deadline for the implementation of ownership unbundling rules in the gas sector until 1st January 2020. This decision reflects the particular situation of Moldova’s energy sector, which is 100% dependent on a single gas supplier.

Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Energy, said: "Yesterday's decision responds to a request by the Moldovan government to take into account Moldova's very specific situation. Securing the uninterrupted supply with gas for the Moldovan citizens and businesses is the priority and Moldova can count on the solidarity of the European Union and Energy Community partners on this. The Republic of Moldova is moreover fully committed to transpose the remaining internal energy market rules by 2015, as agreed last year in Chisinau under Moldovan Presidency of the Ministerial Council. I encourage the EU and Moldovan energy experts to together look for solutions so that Moldovan citizens can soon enjoy the same benefits of internal energy market as do the citizens of the EU."

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The EU-US Energy Council. Joint Press Statement

5 Dec Brussels - The fourth EU-U.S. Energy Council met today in Brussels and was chaired by EU High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton, Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. The Energy Council, a central component of the EU-U.S. energy relationship, promotes transparent and secure global energy markets; fosters co-operation on regulatory frameworks that encourage the efficient and sustainable use of energy; and identifies joint research priorities that promote clean energy technologies. These actions help to boost economic growth, reduce carbon emissions and create new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Commissioner Oettinger welcomes faster decisions on infrastructure

28 November, Brussels - Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy said: "This is really a breakthrough and will give a big push to much needed infrastructure: Rather than waiting up to 12 years or longer for a permit, developers of crucial cross-border infrastructure - such as pipelines or power grids - will have a decision in about 4 years. This will save them time and money – and will help us creating a true European market where energy systems are physically connected with each other. Consumers and companies will profit because competition keeps costs down.''

A political agreement has been reached on the regulation on Guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure. European Parliament and Council still need to formally approve the regulation.

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State aid: Commission opens two in-depth inquiries into Italian support measures in energy sector in Sardinia

20 November, Brussels - The European Commission has opened two separate in-depth investigations under EU state aid rules regarding public support measures in the region of Sulcis-Iglesiente in Sardinia, Italy. Firstly, the Commission will investigate the compliance with state aid rules of support measures amounting to over €400 million granted by Italy since 1998 in favour of Carbosulcis, the company exploiting the Nuraxi Figus coal mine. Secondly, the Commission will verify whether subsidies that Italy intends to grant for the 'Sulcis project', i.e. the construction of a coal-fired plant fitted with a Carbon Capture and Storage Demonstration (CCS) Section, are in line with EU state aid rules. The opening of in-depth inquiries gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measures. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

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Internal energy market: Commission refers Poland and Finland to Court for failing to fully transpose EU rules

21 November, Brussels - The European Commission is referring Poland and Finland to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully transpose the EU internal energy market rules. To date Poland has transposed the Gas Directive into national law only partially. Finland has not fully transposed neither the Electricity nor the Gas Directive. These directives had to be transposed by the Member States by 3 March 2011.

"Enforcement of the internal energy market legislation is vital for the completion of the single market," said Commissioner Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner. “Today’s infringement cases follow our last week’s Communication on internal energy market. The legislation lays the groundwork for a truly functioning market and we are serious about achieving this everywhere in the EU. Only then can consumers reap all the benefits a competitive market can offer.”

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Study on Liquefied Natural Gas solution in the Baltics published

23 November, Brussels - The European Commission has published a study on gas supply issues in the East-Baltic region, requested by concerned Member States. According to the study, the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminal in the East-Baltic area should be built on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The study provides the strategic framework based on which concerned Member States and project promoters should make future decisions. It also identifies the infrastructure required for proper functioning of the internal market and security of supply in the region.

See full study here

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