The European Commission has unveiled plans this week to wean the bloc off Russian gas. Leaders in Europe are seeking to end their reliance on Russian gas by 2027, and the plans include diversifying oil and gas suppliers, growth in hydrogen and increased renewables. This announcement comes as the European Union plans another wider sanctions package that would include a phase-out of Russian oil.
Securing EU Energy Supplies
According to a draft of the document, the “REPowerEU” plan aims to substitute Russian gas with “renewables, low carbon energy sources, energy efficiency and savings.” To increase its non-Russian gas imports, the EU will need to add mostly liquefied natural gas (LNG) (+50 bcm), but also pipeline gas (+10 bcm). The EU will also look to established international partners like the U.S. and Canada for these LNG and hydrogens deliveries.
Additionally, the bloc plans to sign agreements with Egypt, Israel, Algeria and Azerbaijan. However, the EU is emphasizing its suppliers must take targeted actions to reduce methane leaks, address venting and flaring, and sell it. For its hydrogen plans, the EU plans to establish three major hydrogen import hubs in the North Sea, the southern Mediterranean and Ukraine as soon as possible.
Russian Energy Sanctions
Last week, the sanctions package to ban Russian oil imports was delayed by objections from Hungary, which feared economic damage. Germany’s Chancellor Scholz plans to pursue an oil ban regardless of whether the EU agrees to the new package. For Slovakia and Czech Republic, which also rely heavily on Russian oil, the proposal offers them until 2024 while the rest of the Union would wean off in the next six months. The Union will continue the sanctions package at the next summit scheduled for late May.
Any new rules or requirements by the EU in this proposed plan for suppliers, such as the U.S., to mitigate flare gas and methane leaks could affect Council Members and their operations. Like prior sanction packages by the EU, future packages that continue to decouple Europe from Russian fossil fuels could impact energy service operations in the region. The Council’s International Trade and Government Affairs committees will continue to monitor these developments and implications for energy service company operations in the U.S. and Europe.
Maria Suarez, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific and international policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.