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25 Apr, 2023 14:26

EU launches mechanism for joint gas purchases

Brussels hopes collective market power will help member states to negotiate better prices with suppliers
EU launches mechanism for joint gas purchases

Member states of the European Union can now switch to joint gas purchases as energy companies from across the bloc can register their needs via the AggregateEU mechanism, the European Commission (EC) announced on Tuesday.

The measure seeks to prevent a repeat of last year’s price surge due to competition for supplies among EU countries, after the bloc decided to abandon imports from Russia.

The EU’s executive branch believes the new tool will help the bloc to refill gas stores for next winter “in a coordinated and timely manner, using its collective market power to negotiate better prices with international suppliers.”

“[The mechanism] is particularly valuable to smaller entities or those in landlocked countries to secure stable supplies of gas at lower prices, by gaining access to new suppliers and harnessing the EU’s collective market weight,” the EC said in a statement.

“In particular, this access could be achieved with the assistance of central buyers or agents… who will provide support in negotiating and transporting gas supplies.”

While member states are hoping that the scheme of joint gas-buying will help lower prices, economists worry that, with demand for gas in the EU as high as it is, bulk buying could actually push prices higher instead of reducing them.

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