EU has taken necessary measures to reduce dependence on Russian gas - Sefcovic
After all the measures taken and lessons learnt from experience in energy supply, the EU can be calmer about dependence on Russian gas, European Commission Vice President for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic has said.
Energy security is important for the EU. The situation has improved in 22 out of 28 countries, he said, when asked whether Brussels was worried that the EU bought an unprecedented volume of Russian gas this year.
There has been an improvement in energy security, firstly due to energy efficiency. Member states are using less energy than before. Secondly the volume of renewable types of energy has become more significant and especially in countries dependant on energy imports. Thirdly, another important factor, "we have learnt lessons from recent events, better using interconnectors with their inversion possibilities," Sefcovic said at a press conference in Brussels on Feb 1.
"We are monitoring the volume of gas in storage facilities and are bearing in mind the stress tests on gas use carried out two years ago," he said.
Sefcovic said that the EU is in a more secure situation today and market conditions are more favorable. He gave a positive account of the EU's situation in this area.
Energy exporters to Europe must understand that competition will be fierce in the future, he said. "We are operating on an open market. We want fair and transparent tariffs," Sefcovic said.
He said that the efforts in the diversification of energy sources are ongoing. The Southern Gas Corridor will be built. "I think that we will be receiving Caspian gas in Europe [via the Southern Gas Corridor] by 2020," Sefcovic said.
Sefcovic also spoke about the Eastern project in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally the EU, taking advantage of the rivalry for energy markets between the U.S. and Australia, expects to get fairer tariffs.
In such conditions, "we can feel calmer" than before, Sefcovic said. Competition remains the key principle. There will no longer be an abuse of a dominant position since there is an investigation into Gazprom, which ha still not been closed, and the Commission's priority is to guarantee a fair and transparent environment for competition.