The European Union has launched its first international tender for joint gas purchases, as the bloc looks to assure its supplies in the face of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The 27-nation bloc is pushing to get the best price it can as it fills its storage ahead of next winter and avoid the record price spikes seen after Moscow launched its invasion last year.
The tender comes as the EU has scrambled to end its reliance on Russian energy in the wake of the war, while Moscow has in turn cut gas deliveries to the bloc.
“This is a historic milestone because, for the first time ever, we are leveraging the EU’s collective economic weight to increase our energy security and tackle high gas prices,” European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said.
For this first tender, which covers deliveries expected between June 2023 and May 2024, 77 European companies have clubbed together with applications for a total volume of around 11.6 billion cubic meters of gas.
International gas suppliers, excluding Russia, are now invited to respond to this aggregated demand by submitting their bids by May 15.
The best bids will then be passed on to the client companies for commercial discussions until the deal is concluded. Brussels has said new calls for tender will take place every two months until the end of the year.
The EU has set a target to get gas storage capacity up to 90 percent full by November as it readies for the winter.__EuroNews