EU launches joint gas purchases platform, Naftogaz already in
The European Union on Tuesday launched AggregateEU, a new tool for joint gas purchases designed to avoid a repeat of last year's price hikes, Bloomberg reports.
The platform was created to bring gas buyers and sellers together in one place. The first transactions are expected to be made after 17 May.
It remains to be seen whether major buyers, such as Germany's Uniper SE and France's Engie SA, will use the tool and how big the collective purchases might be.
Following the first tender, the EU plans to organise more joint purchases every two months mandating that governments pool demand for 15 percent of their storage-filing obligations. That target equates to roughly 13 billion cubic metres this year, or about 3 percent of the EU’s total demand for the fuel, per Bloomberg.
AggregateEU is open for participation to Ukraine, as well as some other non-EU countries. Ukraine’s deputy energy minister Mykola Kolisnyk said that an agreement had been struck to place one Ukrainian virtual trading point (VTP) with delivery capabilities on the platform.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogaz said to have already registered on AggregateEU.
"The more participants we have, the higher the chances of finding attractive gas deals. This is the moment to make full use" of the new instrument, European commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič said last week.
The EU expects the first contracts with suppliers – from the US to the Middle East and Africa – to be signed around June.
Active participation in the EU’s joint gas purchases initiative will strengthen the energy security of Ukraine and the region, Ukraine’s energy ministry said in a statement.
"The Energy Platform is another manifestation of solidarity for the whole of Europe and the achievement of energy security," Mr Kolisnyk was quoted as saying.
In the face of Russia's full-scale aggression, the possibility of attracting European loans will not only help stabilise the gas market but also stimulate domestic gas production, he added.