Today, the Commission is launching a first-of-a-kind process for European companies to register their gas purchase needs via the AggregateEU mechanism, to prepare for the joint purchasing of gas at EU level. This is a key milestone for the EU to prepare for next winter by refilling its gas storage in a coordinated and timely manner, using its collective market power to negotiate better prices with international suppliers.
Registered companies have one week, until 2 May, to respond to this first call for demand aggregation. After the individual companies’ demands have been submitted, the required volumes will be aggregated and put out to tender on the global market. Once the AggregateEU mechanism matches the collective European demand with offers from international gas suppliers, the participating companies will enter into negotiations with suppliers on the contractual terms for the purchase and delivery of the gas. The Commission will not play any role in the negotiations. The first purchase agreements are expected before the summer.
Further tenders will be carried out on a regular basis, every two months over the next 12-month period. The possibility for companies to subscribe to the AggregateEU mechanism remains open. So far, 76 companies have registered, while others are in the process of subscribing. In addition, 11 companies are ready to provide services as a Central Buyer or an Agent on Behalf (see Questions and Answers).
Member States have committed to participate in demand aggregation for a minimum of 15% of their national gas storage targets, representing around 13.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year. The gas storage and joint gas purchasing targets were agreed in 2022 as emergency measures to respond to Russia’s weaponisation of its energy supplies, and to the unprecedented energy prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They aim to reduce price volatility, ensure secure and predictable energy supplies, and harness Europe’s collective market weight. To deliver on the REPowerEU Plan and diversify the EU’s energy supplies, Russian gas is excluded from joint purchasing.
AggregateEU is the EU’s mechanism enabling gas demand aggregation and joint purchasing. It was set up as a central component of the EU Energy Platform to support the EU’s efforts to get rid of Russian gas by replacing it with more reliable alternatives. It aims to ensure sufficient gas supplies, whilst reducing the risk of companies outbidding each other on the global market. The Commission has contracted service provider Prisma European Capacity Platform GmbH to establish the demand aggregation and joint purchasing mechanism through a secure online platform. The Platform is accessible to companies from EU countries and Energy Community contracting parties. Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia have so far expressed interest in taking part.
The EU Energy Platform was created in April 2022, following the mandate of the European Council and in response to the need to diversify away from Russian gas. In October 2022, the European Council endorsed the joint purchasing of gas, to facilitate negotiations with reliable partners and seek mutually beneficial partnerships by exploiting the Union’s collective political and market weight.
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Today marks a major step towards making the common purchase of gas at EU level a reality. The energy crisis has taught us that the EU works better when it acts in unity and solidarity. By allowing EU companies to pool gas demand together, AggregateEU will leverage the Union economic weight and help us ensure sufficient gas in our storage to get through next winter safely. It is equally important that we help restore full production capacity of EU energy-intensive industry, by tackling the high energy prices, so instrumental to our overall competitiveness.
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