Written by Monika Dulian with Oleksandra Klochko.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU took immediate action to stem rising energy prices and secure energy supply to its Member States. In its communication on the REPowerEU plan from March 2022, the European Commission proposed that the Member States use joint purchasing, collecting of orders and matching of supply and demand to support gas storage refilling operations. The Commission also proposed a ‘joint European platform’ to lead bilateral negotiations with major gas producers. Accordingly, the EU Energy Platform was established on 7 April 2022, initially on the basis of a European Council mandate. The legal basis for the platform is Council Regulation (EU) 2022/2576 of December 2022, which lays down the rules for the joint purchasing mechanism. The latter is to remain in operation for 1 year as of the moment the document enters into force and the service provider in charge of the joint purchasing mechanism is selected.
The EU Energy Platform aims to ensure security of supply by purchasing natural gas, LNG and hydrogen for the Member States jointly and at affordable prices, after aggregating their demand (at least 15 % of the Member States’ storage filling obligations are subject to demand aggregation). Once a Member State submits a demand, it is under no obligation to actually purchase gas; from that moment on it is for energy companies – from within the EU and the EU Energy Community – to negotiate and make business decisions. Natural gas and LNG demand from these companies is aggregated and then matched with reliable EU or non-EU sellers. This happens through AggregateEU – a demand aggregation and joint purchasing service operated by a service provider chosen by the Commission based on predefined criteria. The EU Energy Platform is also in charge of the outreach to international suppliers with a view to diversifying gas supplies.
The evolution of the platform will depend on the political will and readiness of the Member States to pool a larger part of EU gas demand. Major gas-consuming countries in particular would have to be convinced to give away their privileged market access in order to build a common and effective mechanism. In the long run, the platform could shift its focus towards hydrogen procurement and distribution to accelerate the energy transition towards renewable sources.
Read the complete briefing on ‘EU Energy Platform: Facilitating joint purchases of gas‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.