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2 June 2014 | Will Green
The European Commission (EC) has produced a new energy security strategy to tackle the region’s dependence on fuel imports.
Currently the EU imports 53 per cent of its energy requirements at a cost of more than €1 billion (£812.4 million) a day, representing more than a fifth of total EU imports.
In 2013 39 per cent of gas imports came from Russia, 33 per cent from Norway and 22 per cent from Algeria and Libya combined. Gas shortages in 2006 and 2009 and events in Ukraine have focused minds on the EU’s reliance on external suppliers, with six member states (Finland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) entirely dependent on Russia for gas imports.
The strategy, due to be discussed by EU heads of state at the European Council on 26-27 June, includes creating a well-functioning internal energy market and building infrastructure links to improve energy flows across the EU, diversifying supplier countries, increasing indigenous energy production and increasing energy efficiency.
To ensure uninterrupted gas supplies this winter, the Commission is proposing “stress tests” at regional or EU level simulating a disruption of the gas supply and using this to develop emergency measures such as raised stock levels.
Work also continues on a southern “gas corridor” to access supplies from the Caspian region and the Middle East.
EC president José Manuel Barroso said: “The EU has done a lot in the aftermath of the gas crisis of 2009 to increase its energy security. Yet it remains vulnerable. The tensions over Ukraine again drove home this message. In the light of an overall energy import dependency of more than 50 per cent we have to make further steps.”
Almost 90 per cent of EU crude oil is imported, as well as 66 per cent of natural gas and 62 per cent of coal.
Global energy demand is predicted to increase by 27 per cent by 2030, while EU domestic energy production decreased by almost one-fifth between 1995 and 2012.