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EU energy chief reassures households over winter gas shortage threat

EU energy chief reassures households over winter gas shortage threat
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No household should be left out in the cold this winter, according to the EU’s energy commissioner.

Stress tests – carried out across the EU and neighbouring countries – have revealed that authorities could intervene to prevent gas shortages, if supplies from Russia are disrupted.

Gunther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, said significant improvements have been made in recent years.

“We have more storage capacity, our reservoirs are fuller than ever and we have built new pipelines. We are close to the commissioning of new liquified natural gas terminals,” he said.

“We are now in a far better position than five years ago.”

But a disruption in Russian flows could still affect markets such as Britain and Bulgaria, who have little capacity to store gas.

Russia is Europe’s biggest gas supplier, meeting around a third of the region’s demand. The EU gets around half of the Russian gas it needs via Ukraine.

The European Commission has been working on emergency plans since the start of the Ukraine crisis, including steps such as banning gas exports from the EU and limiting industrial use – in order to protect households.

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