Procedure : 2016/2059(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0278/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0278/2016

Debates :

PV 24/10/2016 - 19
CRE 24/10/2016 - 19

Votes :

PV 25/10/2016 - 7.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0406

REPORT     
PDF 405kWORD 91k
29.9.2016
PE 582.327v02-00 A8-0278/2016

on EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rapporteur: András Gyürk

AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 February 2016 on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage (COM(2016)0049),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 February 2015 entitled ‘A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy’ (COM(2015)0080) and the annexes thereto,

–  having regard to the 2030 Energy Strategy, as outlined in the Commission communication of 22 January 2014, ‘A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030’ (COM(2014)0015),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 July 2014 entitled ‘Energy Efficiency and its contribution to energy security and the 2030 Framework for climate and energy policy’ (COM(2014)0520),

-  having regard to the Fifth IPCC assessment report - Working Group I report, ‘Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis’,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure(1),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement reached in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 December 2011 on the Energy Roadmap 2050 (COM(2011)0885),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2011 entitled 'Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050' (COM(2011)0112),

–  having regard to the Third Energy Package,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 February 2016 entitled ‘An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling' (COM(2016)0051),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC,

–  having regard to the Special Report 2015/2016 of the European Court of Auditors, ‘Improving the security of energy supply by developing the internal energy market: more efforts needed’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2015 entitled 'Towards a European Energy Union'(2),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A8-0278/2016),

A.  whereas gas can play an important role in the EU energy system for the coming decades, in industrial production and as a source of heat in buildings and as a support to renewable energy while the EU meets its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewables and makes the transition to a low-carbon economy in which the role of gas will gradually decrease in favour of clean energies;

B.  whereas the European Union is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80- 95% below 1990 levels by 2050;

C.  whereas European gas import dependency in the upcoming years is expected to grow, and in certain Member States has already reached 100 % in cases where there are no or limited numbers of alternative suppliers or supply routes;

D.  whereas liquefied natural gas (LNG) presents an opportunity for Europe in terms of both increasing competitiveness by exerting downward pressure on natural gas prices and increasing security of supply; whereas natural gas is also a flexible backup to renewables in electricity production;

E.  whereas using natural gas in transportation (CNG and LNG), as provided for by Directive 2014/97/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, would generate great environmental benefits;

F.  whereas the EU should actively pursue the development of its domestic conventional gas resources, such as those discovered in Cyprus;

G.  whereas the EU, as the second largest LNG importer in the world, should play a more proactive role in the international energy diplomacy arena;

H.  whereas it is important to promote an integrated proposal for the use of indigenous energy sources, such as natural gas deposits in the Cyprus EEZ, and to support the creation of a LNG liquefaction terminal in Cyprus in order to exploit deposits from neighbouring areas also;

I.  whereas the EU is still not able to fully exploit the benefits of an integrated internal energy market, owing to a lack of sufficient interconnections and coherence and the incomplete implementation of the Third Energy Package;

J.  whereas the framework strategy for a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy defines five mutually reinforcing and closely interrelated dimensions, namely: energy security; a fully integrated European energy market; energy efficiency; decarbonisation of the economy; and research, innovation and competitiveness; whereas the strategy should also promote affordable energy prices for all;

Introduction

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication entitled ‘An EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage’; believes that an internal energy market which fully integrates LNG and gas storage will play a significant role in achieving the ultimate objective of a resilient Energy Union;

2.  Recalls that the EU strategy for LNG and gas storage is one element of the Energy Union, which aims to gives concrete expression to the EU’s ambition to bring about a quick transition to a sustainable, secure and competitive energy system, and also aims to end dependence on external gas suppliers; stresses that one of the goals of the Energy Union is to make the EU the world leader in renewable energies;

3.  Is of the opinion that energy security can be achieved in the most efficient way through better coordination of national energy policies, the establishment of a real Energy Union with a single energy market, and a common energy policy, as well as through cooperation among the Member States on the matter in accordance with the principles of solidarity and trust; believes, in this context, that further integration of energy policy should be for the benefit of the Member States, in line with EU targets and international obligations as well as with the stated objectives, and should not conflict with the interests of the Member States or their citizens; supports the efforts to forge a common EU position in multilateral energy institutions and frameworks;

4.  Considers that all EU citizens must have access to a secure and affordable energy supply; highlights, in this context, current developments in global LNG markets, where oversupply has led to lower prices, presenting an opportunity to deliver lower energy costs to EU consumers through relatively cheaper gas supplies; stresses that safe, affordable, sustainable energy is a key driving force in the European economy and is essential for industrial competitiveness; calls for the EU and its Member States, as part of the EU energy strategy, to give priority to eliminating energy poverty, and to enhance energy supply through the sharing of best practices at EU level;

5.  Stresses that an EU strategy for LNG must be consistent with the framework strategy for a resilient Energy Union, so as to contribute to increased security of energy supply, decarbonisation, the long-term sustainability of the economy and the delivery of affordable and competitive energy prices;

6.  Agrees with the assessment of the Commission that Member States in the Baltic Sea region and in central and south-eastern Europe, and Ireland – despite the huge infrastructure development efforts realised by certain Member States – are still heavily reliant on a single supplier and are exposed to supply shocks and disruptions;

7.  Acknowledges that the availability of LNG, including supporting pipeline infrastructure, in these Member States could significantly improve the current supply security situation not only in physical but also in economic terms, contributing to more competitive energy prices;

8.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote and incentivise a more efficient and better use of existing infrastructure, including gas storage;

9.  Draws attention to the potential of power-to-gas technology to store renewable energies and to make them usable as carbon-neutral gas for transport, heating and power generation;

10.  Stresses the need to make the EU gas system more diverse and flexible, thus contributing to the key Energy Union objective of a secure, resilient and competitive gas supply; calls on the Commission to develop a strategy that aims at lessening EU gas dependency in the long term, reflecting its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission to 80-95 % below 1990 levels by 2050, and stresses in this regard that treating energy efficiency as a 'first principle' and gradually phasing out fossil subsidies would significantly reduce the EU’s dependency on imported fossil fuels;

11.  Recalls that the Parliament has repeatedly called for binding climate and energy targets for 2030 of at least a 40 % domestic reduction in GHG emissions, at least 30 % for renewables and 40 % for energy efficiency, to be implemented by means of individual national targets;

12.  Stresses the need, before supporting new regasification terminals, to promote the most efficient use of existing LNG terminals from a cross-border perspective, so to avoid technology lock-in or stranded assets in fossil fuel infrastructure and ensure that consumers do not have to bear the costs of any new projects; believes that the Commission needs to carefully revise its analysis for gas demand and risks and needs assessments;

Completing missing infrastructure

LNG infrastructure

13.  Recalls that the EU as a whole is sufficiently supplied with LNG regasification terminals, and acknowledges that, owing to weak internal gas demand in past years and a relatively high global LNG price, several of the EU’s LNG regasification terminals are experiencing low utilisation rates; underlines that all Member States, especially those depending on a single supplier, should have access to LNG, either directly or indirectly through other Member States;

14.  Underlines that, in most cases, priority should be given to market-based solutions and to the utilisation of existing LNG infrastructure on a regional level; notes, however, that solutions can be different depending on national and market specificities, such as level of interconnectivity, availability of storage solutions and market structure;

15.  Stresses that in order to avoid stranded assets, it is necessary to carry out a careful analysis of LNG supply alternatives and options from a regional as well as an environmentally sustainable perspective, taking account of the Union's climate and energy targets and the principle of geographical balance, before deciding on new infrastructure, in order to improve energy security and guarantee the most efficient use of existing infrastructure;

16.  Stresses the importance of regional cooperation when building new LNG terminals and interconnections, and underlines that Member States with access to the sea should cooperate closely with landlocked countries in order to avoid over-investment in unnecessary and uneconomic projects; stresses that, in this regard, a more optimal use of west-east and north-south corridors, with improved reverse flow capacity, would increase the LNG supply options; believes that knowledge and information could be developed jointly on issues such as energy storage facilities and tendering processes for LNG and interconnectors; strongly believes that the EU strategy has to ensure that LNG is accessible at regional level all over Europe;

17.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to put in place strategies to support facilities that can be used in the future to manage the transfer and storage of renewable natural gas;

18.  Stresses that the strategy should also include the use of LNG as an alternative to the development of gas distribution and transmission infrastructure in areas where it is not currently cost-effective; notes that small LNG installations can provide the optimal infrastructure for increasing the use of natural gas in areas where investments in gas infrastructure are unprofitable, including for increasing the use of gas to generate heat and thus curb so-called low-stack emissions;

19.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to fully implement key projects of common interest (PCIs), and to assign high priority primarily to the most economically and environmentally efficient projects identified by the three regional high-level groups; stresses that building LNG terminals which are necessary for and compatible with gas demand is not sufficient, and that supporting pipeline infrastructure with appropriate tariffs is indispensable for the benefits to be realised outside the receiving countries;

20.  Welcomes the fact that important LNG projects (e.g. the North-South corridor) are being defined as projects of common interest; calls on the Commission to fully include Balkan countries when planning the further reconstruction of the gas pipeline and TEN-E network to ensure a key role of the EU energy sector in the region;

21.  Supports the Commission proposal in the ongoing revision of the Security of Supply Regulation to review the existing reverse flow exemptions on interconnectors, and endorses the increased role of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in the process; notes the understaffing and lack of resources of ACER; underlines the need to provide ACER with the necessary resources, in particular sufficient own staff, to allow the agency to fulfil the tasks assigned to it by the legislation;

Storage infrastructure

22.  Recalls that geology is a major determining factor when developing new gas storages, and notes the current excess capacities in European gas storages; stresses that regional cooperation and an adequate level of gas interconnections, as well as the removal of internal bottlenecks, could significantly improve the utilisation rate of existing gas storages; highlights the need to ensure the application of the highest environmental standards in the planning, construction and use of LNG storage infrastructure;

23.  Recalls that the cross-border accessibility of gas storages is one of the key tools to implement the principle of energy solidarity during gas shortages and emergency crisis;

24.  Emphasises that a more extensive use of Ukraine’s storage capacity will only be possible if an appropriate and stable commercial and legal framework and the integrity of supply infrastructure is guaranteed in Ukraine and provided the right level of gas interconnections is in place so that energy can flow freely across the borders without physical barriers; furthermore emphasises that as Ukraine's gas-dependent industrial sector rebounds in the short term, additional gas supplies will have to be imported; considers that the EU should support Ukraine in transitioning from dependency on Russian natural gas to LNG;

Connecting LNG and storage to markets

25.  Emphasises the importance of the work of regional high-level groups, such as the Central East South Europe Gas Connectivity High Level Group (CESEC), the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) and the South-West Europe group; believes that this type of voluntary-based regional coordination is highly effective, and welcomes the facilitating role of the Commission in these arrangements; stresses the need for pragmatic and timely execution of the approved action plans, and urges close follow-up of implementation;

26.  Stresses the importance of finding cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable energy supply options to increase long-term security of supply for the Iberian peninsula, Central and South-East Europe, the Baltic states and Ireland, all of which are insufficiently connected to and/or integrated with the internal energy market and deserve the full support of the EU in the name of the principle of solidarity; also highlights the need to support the most vulnerable countries that continue to remain energy islands, such as Cyprus and Malta, in order to diversify their sources and routes of supply; stresses, in this context, that LNG and gas storage must contribute towards ending energy isolation of whatever kind that affects Member States and regions in the EU;

27.  Calls for the prioritisation of gas production in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian regions, as well as for interconnecting landlocked countries in Central and South-East Europe to these new capacities in order to diversify supply sources in those regions; notes that this will allow for competition between gas from multiple sources and will replace imports of natural gas volumes under oil-indexed contracts, thus increasing Member States’ bargaining power; stresses that no single energy source will ever fulfil the EU's energy needs and that diversity in the case of both domestic and foreign markets is essential; considers, therefore, that the development of the domestic conventional gas resources discovered in Cyprus should be actively pursued;

28.  Supports the Commission’s ambition to provide more information and assistance to project promoters on various project financing options, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), and on various technical solutions;

29.  Notes that finding cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable solutions should be a key principle in reaching the EU and regional optimum, and calls on the Commission, the Member States and the national regulatory authorities to allocate the limited resources available to the development of critical infrastructure so as to attract private investment for LNG infrastructure and interconnectors;

30.  Expresses concern at the fact that gas imports from Russia were 7 % higher in 2015 than in 2014, and at the fact that 41 % of gas imports from outside the EU in 2015 came from Russia; highlights the vital role of LNG and gas storage, in addition to increased efficiencies and renewable energy deployment, in reducing dependence on Russian gas;

31.  Expresses concern at the proposed doubling of capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline, and the counterproductive effects this would have on energy security and diversification of supply sources and the principle of solidarity among Member States; highlights the geopolitical implications of the project and the underlying principles of a fully integrated, secure, competitive and sustainable Energy Union, stressing that as such it should not benefit from EU financial support or from derogations from EU law; underlines that a doubling of the capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline would give one company a dominant position on the European gas market, which should be avoided;

32.  Considers that if, contrary to European interests, Nord Stream 2 were to be built it would necessarily require a sound assessment of LNG terminals’ accessibility and a detailed state of play on the North-South Gas Corridor;

Completing the internal gas market: commercial, legal and regulatory aspects

Making the EU an attractive market for LNG

33.  Urges the Member States to fully implement the Third Energy Package and gas network codes;

34.  Highlights the important role that well-interconnected liquid gas hubs play on the gas markets, that would ensure a single integrated market where gas can freely flow across borders in line with market price signals;

35.  Stresses that significant gas reserves in the North African countries and recent discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean provide the region with an opportunity to emerge as a vibrant centre for transporting gas into Europe; believes that new LNG capacity being developed in the Mediterranean could form the basis of an infrastructure hub;

36.  Insists that the completion of the internal gas market and the elimination of regulatory obstacles would greatly improve the liquidity of gas markets; urges stakeholders to finalise the network code on rules regarding harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas as soon as possible;

37.  Recalls the continuous need for active cooperation between governments, national regulatory authorities and main stakeholders on cross-border investments, keeping always in mind a European perspective besides the national interests;

Gas storage in the internal market

38.  Highlights the need to develop harmonised tariff structures across the EU and to increase transparency in tariff definition in order to achieve a higher utilisation rate of existing gas storages; takes the view that the network code on rules regarding harmonised transmission tariff structures for gas should take into consideration the need for harmonisation;

39.  Supports the Commission’s proposal to enable the deployment of bio-methane and other renewable gases which comply with relevant EU quality standards in gas transmission, distribution and storage; emphasises that this should not place an additional burden on the industry; recommends, in this respect, the consideration of technical parameters, gas quality, cost efficiency, economies of scale and possible local or regional grid solutions;

40.  Urges the Member States to fully implement the third energy package, particularly in relation to the provisions on granting access to bio-methane to the grid and to storage facilities; highlights in this regard Directive 2009/73/EC, according to which Member States should ensure that, taking into account the necessary quality requirements, biogas and gas from biomass or other types of gas are granted non-discriminatory access to the gas system, provided such access is permanently compatible with the relevant technical rules and safety standards;

41.  Encourages LNG and storage operators, in cooperation with national regulatory authorities, to develop new flexible products and services, compliant with the EU current legislation, in order to make LNG regasification and storing more attractive and maximise the utilisation of existing LNG and storage facilities;

Optimising the role of storage for security of gas supply

42.  Highlights the role of the immediate, high-flexibility services that gas storage offers in certain Member States, and points out the different role that storage can play during a supply disruption compared to LNG where logistics in the supply chain might not grant the same responsiveness;

43.  Underlines the importance of eliminating regulatory barriers to developing regional storage concepts; believes that certain storages could offer tailor-made international services, i.e. storage services tied with cross-border transportation; proposes that the regional high-level groups cooperate more extensively to find innovative solutions on how to use strategically valuable assets effectively at regional and European level;

The EU as a player on international LNG markets

44.  Notes the emerging global trend of increasing liquefaction capacity and its potential impact on the European gas markets;

45.  Considers that, through its emergence as an important market, the EU can contribute to the evolution of gas trading rules with a view to improved flexibility and the convergence of global gas markets;

46.  Supports the Commission, the European External Action Service and the Member States in their active engagement in energy diplomacy in order to promote a rule-based, transparent and well-functioning global gas market;

47.  Stresses the importance of reducing or removing the EU’s gas and oil dependence on imports from authoritarian regimes that violate human rights, in keeping with the EU’s founding values and the effectiveness of EU external action;

48.  Calls for greater institutional convergence and synergy, and, in particular, for the better integration of external energy security priorities in policies pursued by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), and for better coordination between the VP/HR and the responsible Commissioners; calls on the VP/HR, along with the Member States, to enhance existing means and establish new means of energy cooperation with current and potential suppliers, as well as with transit states and other key players; calls, in this context, on the VP/HR to inform Parliament regularly on the implementation of the EU Energy Diplomacy Action Plan;

49.  Stresses the necessity of eliminating all barriers to global free trade in LNG, the production of which must be sustainable; in this context, urges US policymakers to increase investment certainty by introducing clear criteria and deadlines in the authorisation process for gas exports to non-FTA countries;

50.  Stresses that the use of LNG may also lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from maritime and road transport, provided that all effective measures are taken to minimise methane slip throughout the lifecycle of the fuel, including the production, distribution, and combustion phases; calls, therefore, for adequate measures to minimise methane slip in the overall LNG chain through the use of the best available technologies, and to ensure adequate R&D financing for that purpose;

51.  Stresses that trade plays a key role in energy security, and that strong energy partnerships, reinforced by the inclusion of energy chapters in the EU’s trade agreements, are essential tools; considers it of key importance that the EU’s trade policy should enhance the Union’s and Member States’ energy diversification and reduce their dependency on imported energy from too few suppliers; stresses that the EU should explore new partnerships, review its existing ones and hold specific energy talks with other partners in areas such as – but not limited to – Central Asia, North Africa and the Americas; notes that the EU should play a more proactive role in the international energy diplomacy arena; calls for greater coherence between the EU’s trade and energy policies; underlines the need to increase transparency in international negotiations on LNG; believes that current and future negotiations with partners such as the US and Australia should include a strong energy component; underlines that the EU should collaborate closely with international partners towards a competitive and transparent global LNG market;

52.  Recalls that in order to meet the current challenges and implement its energy and climate change objectives in the context of global constraints in those policy fields, the EU and its Member States must, on the basis of existing legal frameworks and multilateral conventions, also take common action on the international stage by raising energy security and sustainability issues in international trade forums, including with partner countries dependent on gas imports; stresses that, at the same time, the EU should support and promote energy efficiency;

53.  Considers that trade policy generating significant opportunities for EU Member States’ private and public companies in clean, secure and energy-efficient technologies is particularly important, especially in light of the growing global energy demand; calls for tariffs on clean technologies to be reduced significantly within the Green Goods initiative and also within EU free trade agreements, which must tackle non-tariff barriers to trade in energy sources;

54.  Highlights the importance for EU energy security of the ‘Energy and Raw Materials’ chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement; welcomes the Commission’s work towards removing export restrictions on US gas to the EU;

55.  Considers that the 12.2 billion cubic metres per year being added to the market in 2016 through Sabine Pass LNG on the US East Coast, along with potentially a further 74 billion cubic metre capacity being added through various US projects before 2020, represents a significant opportunity for Europe to increase energy trade links with the US; believes that the conclusion of the work on the ‘Energy and Raw Materials’ chapter of TTIP will significantly boost EU gas supply options;

56.  Considers that European companies should not be restricted from operating on third countries’ energy markets under the same conditions as domestic companies; stresses that third-country companies operating on European energy markets must comply with European law; stresses that such entities must have a transparent structure making it possible to track their shareholders;

57.  Stresses the need to ensure the highest environmental protection in the planning, construction and use of LNG as well as in the exploitation of indigenous reserves and sources, and to respect the international labour standards on occupational health and safety; underlines the need to raise awareness of the environmental, climate and social impacts of imported LNG; reiterates the need to involve local communities and to rely on realistic assessments regarding consumption and – in the event of construction –the planning of new infrastructures; emphasises the potential offered by the transition to LNG for ending the dependency of maritime transport on coal; calls for the EU to provide financial support for European projects for this purpose;

58.  Points out that, given the prospects for growth in the supply of LNG in coming years, this strategy may be complemented by an assessment of needs, in terms of LNG-carrying vessels and measures to enable the EU shipbuilding industry to seize this opportunity, thereby contributing to the target of increasing the industry’s share of GDP to 20 % in 2020; calls for safety standards so that the transport of LNG can be monitored and, if necessary, subjected to more stringent conditions in the context of measures to prevent terrorism;

Sustainability and the use of LNG as an alternative fuel in transport, heat and power

59.  Acknowledges the potential of LNG as an alternative fuel, both in road and maritime transport; underlines that wider use of LNG in freight transport could contribute to the decrease of global CO2, SOx, and NOx emissions, especially through using more LNG engines in maritime transport;

60.  Underlines the fact that the network of fuelling infrastructure is a prerequisite for substantive deployment of LNG as an alternative fuel in the transport sector; calls, in this regard, on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of Directive 2014/94/EU on alternative fuels, including the establishment of LNG refuelling points across the TEN-T corridors and at maritime and inland ports, replacing more polluting conventional fuels; underlines, however, in this regard that LNG should not take the place of renewable energy sources, so as to ensure consistency with sustainability goals;

61  Calls for the development of maritime routes, notably in the archipelago of the Azores which, given its geographical situation, could serve as a key fuel station for the transatlantic routes of LNG; urges the Commission to make funds available to support European projects to this end;

62.  Asks the Commission to create, jointly with the Member States and their regions, a common project of ‘LNG Blue Corridors for Islands’ for the maritime sector, including ports of the TEN-T Comprehensive Network, in order to establish the necessary LNG infrastructures and link this network to the TEN-T Core Network;

63.  Calls on the Member States, in addition, to ensure the implementation of Directive 2014/94/EU as regards the establishment of CNG refuelling points, so as to ensure that motor vehicles running on that fuel can circulate in urban/suburban agglomerations and other densely populated areas, and at least along the existing TEN-T Core Network, thus ensuring that those vehicles can circulate throughout the Union;

64.  Stresses the need to establish common technical specifications for LNG refuelling points for seagoing ships, inland waterway vessels and motor vehicles, as provided for in Directive 2014/94/EU; calls for rigorous harmonised safety rules and training for LNG storage, bunkering and on-board use throughout the Union, allowing also the possibility of simultaneous bunkering and cargo operations; notes that this work should be carried out in close cooperation with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and EMSA;

65.  Stresses the need to ensure adequate R&D financing for the development of improved technologies for inland waterway vessels, seagoing ships and motor vehicles with the aim of swiftly shifting to a lower-carbon fleet, as well as for the development of unmanned systems for the installation of LNG refuelling points; also calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentives for the development of vessels and motor vehicles running on LNG, or retrofitting those running on conventional fuels to enable them to use LNG;

66.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentives for the transport of LNG by rail, as this will on the one hand reduce road transport and on the other hand contribute to the environmentally sound and safe transport of a fuel which is sustainable and low in pollutants;

67.  Calls on the Commission, after consulting the stakeholders, to consider whether, alongside Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars, it might establish a CO2 equivalent for hydrocarbon emissions, not least with a view to informing consumers;

68.  Notes that the use of small-scale LNG technology in certain areas, such as long-range transportation or industrial high-performance applications, could not only contribute to climate policy objectives but also result in significant business advantage;

69.  Notes that LNG, and in particular CNG, is also a viable solution for public transport, which is already available and can help reduce air and noise pollution, thus improving living conditions, especially in urban agglomerations;

70.  Notes that although LNG and CNG can present viable transitional solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of transport, their long-term benefits will be only realised if a smooth transition towards the use of liquefied biogas (LBG) and other forms of renewable energy is simultaneously promoted by also ensuring the interoperability of LNG and LBG systems;

71.  Emphasises that an efficient network of refuelling infrastructure is a prerequisite for the substantive deployment of LNG as an alternative fuel in the transport sector; calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentives for the development of such infrastructure in order to close the existing gaps in provision and create a complete supply network;

72.  Stresses the importance of LNG infrastructure at maritime and inland ports in terms of promoting multimodality, as such infrastructure can be used by seagoing ships, inland waterway vessels and trucks for the further overland transport of the fuel; urges national and regional operators to cooperate closely with the aim of enhancing the multi-functionality and exploitability of this infrastructure;

73.  Considers that fostering the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel in transport is an important global challenge, and calls for a commitment to achieving emissions reductions to be obtained through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO);

74.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Energy Community Secretariat and the Contracting Parties of the Energy Community.

(1)

OJ L 307, 28.10.2014, p. 1.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0444.


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (14.7.2016)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

Rapporteur: Takis Hadjigeorgiou

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Is of the opinion that energy security can be achieved in the most efficient way through better coordination of national energy policies, the establishment of a real Energy Union with a single energy market, and a common energy policy, and through cooperation among the Member States on this matter, in accordance with the principles of solidarity and trust; believes, in this context, that further integration of energy policy should be for the benefit of the Member States, in line with EU targets and international obligations as well as with the stated objectives, and should not conflict with the interests of the Member States or their citizens; supports the efforts to forge a common EU position in multilateral energy institutions and frameworks;

2.  Highlights that energy is a basic human good, and that an important goal of the Energy Union is to ensure equal and affordable access for all, and to combat energy poverty and monopolies; believes that through cooperation on energy issues pertaining to transport, supply security and production, the EU can contribute positively to the efforts to promote and strengthen democracy, the rule of law and human rights in partner countries; recalls that climate-change diplomacy is an integral part of EU foreign policy, and calls, in this context, for the full integration of its climate policies into the EU energy policy and for a comprehensive strategy that will enforce this link in an effective way; highlights the fact that gas suppliers must comply with international human rights and EU environmental standards;

3.  Maintains that if the Energy Union is to work, sufficient connections between the Member States are essential, and that this applies both to pipelines and to power networks; believes that only in this way will it be possible to minimise any adverse impacts caused by suppliers;

4.  Calls for better links between energy and climate policies; recalls the need to avoid the creation of a new fossil fuel lock-in and the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95 % below 1990 levels by 2050;

5.  Emphasises that liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage are of particular importance if dependence on a single energy supplier for energy security is to be avoided; notes the United States’ decision to export to the EU; calls, in this context, for the promotion and development of new natural gas nodes, transmission corridors and LNG storage stations in the central and south-eastern regions, and in the coastal areas of the Baltic and the Mediterranean, as well as for utilisation of existing LNG storage terminals to be maximised; believes that such measures could help improve energy security, taking into account the declining gas demand throughout Europe, the risk of stranded assets, and the EU 2030 and 2050 climate and energy objectives; stresses that the Commission should consider, in upcoming gas supply contracts, that ‘artificial natural gas’ production will play an important role in the future;

6.  Stresses the importance of reducing or removing the EU’s gas and oil dependence on imports from authoritarian regimes that violate human rights, in keeping with the EU’s founding values and the effectiveness of EU external action;

7.  Notes the prospect of a very large (50 %) expansion of global supplies of LNG over the coming years and, consequently, of lower prices; points out that this constitutes a major opportunity for the EU, especially as regards gas security and resilience;

8.  Believes that LNG, interconnections and gas storage are important elements of the Energy Union and should contribute towards ending any kind of energy isolation of the Member States and regions; highlights the need to support the most vulnerable countries in efforts to diversify their sources and routes of supply; is of the opinion that this should be done by creating new LNG terminals, distribution systems and gas interconnectors with reverse flow capabilities (especially in the more remote and/or less well-connected Member States, such as Greece, Bulgaria, the Baltic States and Spain), by ensuring the security of maritime supply routes and by strengthening the Member States’ energy security by reducing demand through efficiency measures; recalls that promoting LNG would push the Member States to be less reliant on other imports, given that for every 1 % improvement in energy efficiency, EU gas imports fall by 2.6 %;

9.  Expresses concern over the proposed project of doubling the existing capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, emphasises that this project runs contrary to the underlying principles of a fully integrated, secure, competitive and sustainable Energy Union, and raises serious reservations regarding its compatibility with the internal energy market, particularly the Third Energy Package; highlights that Nord Stream 2, if implemented, will go against the principle of solidarity and trust among Member States, undermine efforts to date of diversifying supply sources, in particular in Central and South-Eastern Europe, and affect negatively the economic sustainability and efficiency of existing and future LNG terminals;

10.  Points out that, given the prospects for growth in the supply of LNG in coming years, this strategy may be complemented by an assessment of needs, in terms of LNG-carrying vessels and measures to enable the EU shipbuilding industry to seize this opportunity, thereby contributing to the target of increasing industry’s share of GDP to 20 % in 2020; calls for safety standards for the transport of LNG to be monitored and, if necessary, made more stringent in the context of measures to prevent terrorism;

11.  Calls for greater institutional convergence and synergy, and, in particular, for better integration of external energy security priorities in policies pursued by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), and for better coordination between the VP/HR and the responsible Commissioners; calls on the VP/HR, along with the Member States, to enhance existing – and establish new means of – energy cooperation with current and potential suppliers, as well as with transit states and other key players; calls, in this context, on the VP/HR to inform Parliament regularly about the implementation of the EU Energy Diplomacy Action Plan;

12.  Is of the opinion that the EU should work closely with its international partners, and in international fora, to ensure a free, liquid and transparent LNG market around the world.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

12.7.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

60

5

2

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Nikos Androulakis, Francisco Assis, Petras Auštrevičius, Mario Borghezio, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, James Carver, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Lorenzo Cesa, Javier Couso Permuy, Andi Cristea, Mark Demesmaeker, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Iveta Grigule, Sandra Kalniete, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Afzal Khan, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Arne Lietz, Barbara Lochbihler, Sabine Lösing, Andrejs Mamikins, David McAllister, Tamás Meszerics, Francisco José Millán Mon, Javier Nart, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Vincent Peillon, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Sofia Sakorafa, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Jaromír Štětina, Charles Tannock, Ivo Vajgl, Geoffrey Van Orden, Hilde Vautmans, Boris Zala

Substitutes present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Andrzej Grzyb, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Marek Jurek, Soraya Post, Tokia Saïfi, Igor Šoltes, Eleni Theocharous, Traian Ungureanu, Bodil Valero, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Janusz Zemke

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Therese Comodini Cachia, Edouard Ferrand, Liliana Rodrigues


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (31.8.2016)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on an EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

Rapporteur: Stelios Kouloglou

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Considers that all EU citizens must have access to a secure and affordable energy supply; highlights in this context current developments in global LNG markets, where oversupply has led to lower prices, presenting an opportunity to deliver lower energy costs to EU consumers through relatively cheaper gas supplies; stresses that safe, affordable, sustainable energy is a key driving force in the European economy and is essential for industrial competitiveness; calls for the EU and its Member States, as part of the EU energy strategy, to give priority to eliminating energy poverty through the setting of targets at Member-State level, and to enhance energy supply through the sharing of best practices at EU level;

2.  Stresses that trade plays a key role in energy security, and that strong energy partnerships, reinforced by the inclusion of energy chapters in the EU’s trade agreements, are essential tools; considers it to be of key importance that the EU’s trade policy enhances the EU’s and Member States’ energy diversification and reduces their dependence on imported energy from too few suppliers; stresses that the EU should explore new partnerships, review its existing ones and hold specific energy talks with other partners in areas such as – but not limited to – Central Asia, North Africa and the Americas; notes that the EU should play a more proactive role in the international energy diplomacy arena; calls for greater coherence between the EU’s trade and energy policies; underlines the need to increase transparency in international negotiations on LNG; believes that current and future negotiations with partners such as the USA and Australia should include a strong energy component; underlines that the EU should collaborate closely with international partners towards a competitive and transparent global LNG market;

3.  Stresses that security of gas supply at Member-State level would be enhanced through increased diversification of supply sources, which can be achieved through international LNG trade and improved cross-border flows; stresses that Member States should seek to diversify supply as a matter of priority where dependency on single supply points occurs;

4.  Points out that while trade contributes to developing the gas market at a global level, it should focus on priorities such as building relevant infrastructure, including storage, and liquefaction capacity in order to enhance security of supply and to mitigate the risk of dependence on a single or few sources;

5.  Considers that, through its emergence as an important market, the EU can contribute to the evolution of gas trading rules with a view to improved flexibility and the convergence of global gas markets;

6.  Believes that work on an EU LNG and storage strategy should go hand in hand with work on the Commission Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply and repealing Regulation (EU) No 994/2010 released in February 2016, as LNG and storage can provide much-needed solutions in the event of a gas supply crisis;

7.  Stresses that the global LNG market presents a significant opportunity to reduce energy dependence where Member States are heavily dependent on single suppliers; points to the example of Poland, where the new LNG terminal will greatly diversify supply options by delivering 4.9 billion cubic metres per year – the equivalent of one third of Poland’s annual consumption – and by cutting dependence on piped imports from Russia by half;

8.  Recalls that in order to meet the current challenges and implement its energy and climate change objectives in the context of global constraints in those policy fields, the EU and its Member States must, on the basis of existing legal frameworks and multilateral conventions, also take common action on the international stage by raising energy security and sustainability issues in international trade forums, including with partner countries dependent on gas imports; stresses that, at the same time, the EU should support and promote energy efficiency;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure the highest environmental protection in the planning, construction and use of LNG as well as in the exploitation of indigenous reserves and sources, and to respect the international labour standards on occupational health and safety; underlines the need to raise awareness of the environmental, climate and social impacts of imported LNG; reiterates the need to involve local communities and to rely on realistic assessments on consumption and – in the event of construction – on the planning of new infrastructures; emphasises the potential offered by the transition to LNG for ending the dependence of maritime transport on coal; calls for the EU to provide financial support for European projects for this purpose;

10.  Recalls that, in order to promote the transition towards a low-carbon society, Member States must reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in the longer term and transition from coal-fired electricity generation to gas-fired generation in the medium term; notes that low gas prices in 2015 saw the competitiveness of gas-fired generation increase compared with coal;

11.  Considers gas to be the transition fuel in the switch from an energy system based on fossil fuels to a system based on renewable energy, which must be the long-term goal in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change;

12.  Highlights LNG’s potential as an alternative to more polluting conventional fuels in transport;

13.  Points out that it is estimated that gas imports to the EU will rise until 2030, even if gas demand within the EU simultaneously stays stagnant or declines; stresses that moderating energy demand and promoting energy-efficient renewable and local energy sources are among the most effective tools for reducing dependence on external energy; recalls that the EU has significant LNG import excess capacity overall, but that this capacity is not effectively distributed in geographical terms;

  a)  Stresses the fact that LNG and gas storage will contribute to ending any kind of energy isolation of the EU Member States and regions by supporting the more remote and/or less well connected Member States and regions in diversifying their sources and supply routes through the creation of new LNG terminals, distribution systems and gas interconnectors with reverse flow capabilities;

  b)  Highlights that indigenous production of gas in Europe is decreasing and that EU output in 2015, at 119 billion cubic metres, was down 9 % on 2014 levels; stresses, in this context, the need for increased imports, and calls on the Commission to continue to seek out new trading opportunities;

14.  Considers that trade policy generating significant opportunities for EU Member States’ private and public companies in clean, secure, energy-efficient technologies is particularly important, especially in light of the growing global energy demand; calls for tariffs on clean technologies to be reduced significantly within the Green Goods initiative and also within EU free trade agreements, which must tackle non-tariff barriers to trade in energy sources;

15.  Calls therefore for full use of the EU’s regasification capacity and for sufficient integration of terminals into gas networks across the EU; highlights the growing strategic importance of gas storage in terms of ensuring a well-functioning EU gas market and increasing energy security;

16.  Stresses that the EU should support investments in LNG, giving priority to more remote and/or less well connected Member States and regions, through EU financial instruments such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the Connecting Europe Facility, which will attract global investment capital to the EU;

17.  Highlights the need to assess current and future needs, as well as the type of storage and regasification infrastructure in the EU;

18.  Expresses concern at the fact that gas imports from Russia were 7 % higher in 2015 than in 2014, and at the fact that 41 % of gas imports from outside the EU in 2015 came from Russia; highlights the vital role of LNG and gas storage, in addition to increased efficiencies and renewable energy deployment, in reducing dependence on Russian gas;

19.  Highlights the importance for EU energy security of the ‘Energy and Raw Materials’ chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement; welcomes the Commission’s work towards removing export restrictions on US gas to the EU;

20.  Considers that the 12.2 billion cubic metres per year being added to the market in 2016 through Sabine Pass LNG on the US East Coast, along with potentially a further 74-billion-cubic-metre capacity being added through various US projects before 2020, represents a significant opportunity for Europe to increase energy trade links with the US; believes that the conclusion of the work on the ‘Energy and Raw Materials’ chapter of TTIP will significantly boost EU gas supply options;

21.  Considers a completed, competitive and well-functioning internal gas market with strategic supply points receiving LNG imports from extra-EU sources to be crucial to securing energy security and affordability for EU citizens; recalls, in this context, the Union list of projects of common interest (PCIs) as outlined in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/89, and urges the Member States to work towards completion of the 77 gas projects as soon as possible;

22.  Points out that LNG trading prices have been declining internationally and that price differentials between pipeline imports and LNG have also decreased; considers it important also to strengthen long-term contracts in the LNG sector so as to limit market crises, to reduce exposure to financial risks and to attract investment in infrastructure; points out that the development of new LNG terminals and the diversification of supply sources, especially in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea regions, will allow gas-to-gas competition and will replace imports of natural gas volumes under oil-indexed contracts, thus increasing the EU’s bargaining power;

23.  Supports the Commission, the European External Action Service and the Member States in their active engagement in energy diplomacy in order to promote a rule-based, transparent and well-functioning global gas market;

24.  Stresses the absolute importance of secure and accessible LNG storage capacities that would make the shared infrastructure more flexible and easier to adapt to possible supply fluctuation, and which would lead to a significant reduction in energy dependence;

25.  Points out that European companies should not be restricted from operating on third countries’ energy markets under the same conditions as domestic companies; points out that third countries’ companies operating on European energy markets must comply with European law; points out that such entities must have a transparent structure making it possible to track their shareholders.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

31.8.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

5

2

Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, David Campbell Bannerman, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Marielle de Sarnez, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Yannick Jadot, Ska Keller, Jude Kirton-Darling, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emmanuel Maurel, Emma McClarkin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franz Obermayr, Artis Pabriks, Franck Proust, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, Hannu Takkula, Iuliu Winkler

Substitutes present for the final vote

Edouard Ferrand, Seán Kelly, Stelios Kouloglou, Georg Mayer, Bolesław G. Piecha, Jarosław Wałęsa


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (8.9.2016)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

Rapporteur: Carlos Zorrinho

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that the EU strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage is one element of the Energy Union, which aims to gives concrete expression to the EU’s ambition to bring about a quick transition to a sustainable, secure and competitive energy system and also aims to end dependence on external gas suppliers; stresses that one of the goals of the Energy Union is to make the EU the world leader in renewable energies;

2.  Points out that existing LNG infrastructure in the EU is heavily underused (46 % of gas import pipelines and 32 % of LNG terminals were used in 2014) and that the EU gas demand is persistently overestimated; stresses, therefore, that gas infrastructure planning should be based on decreasing demand;

3.  Recalls that energy poverty results in serious health consequences and is thought to affect more than 10 % of the EU’s population;

4.  Stresses that the European Union and its Member States should first of all focus on their renewable resources and energy efficiency improvements and derive maximum benefit from their renewable production capacity by accelerating investments in these sectors; draws attention to the potential of power-to-gas technology to store renewable energies and to make them usable as carbon-neutral gas for transport, heating and power generation;

5.  Stresses that this should not prevent efforts being made to extract added value from other segments of the energy markets, such as LNG, provided that this is done in a sustainable manner that is fully consistent with the EU’s environmental protection principles, notably water, groundwater, marine and nature conservation objectives, and with the Paris Agreement, while minimising methane emissions;

6.  Highlights the need to promote the interoperability of LNG infrastructure and the supply chain for biogas and gas from biomass, provided such access is permanently compatible with the relevant technical rules and safety standards; calls on the Member States to fully exploit local production of biogas;

7.  Lays emphasis on environmentally friendly and socially sustainable LNG production methods;

8.  Points out that the EU’s domestic production will continue to decline in the coming decades, and further diversification of the EU’s natural gas supply therefore remains a key objective to provide consumer countries with more security, while nevertheless underlining its role as a short and medium-term solution and as a complement and support to renewables and energy efficiency, bearing in mind the European commitment to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement; considers that natural gas can only play a transitional role, and that the phasing out of fossil subsidies and a comprehensive switch from gas to renewable energy sources are necessary in the medium term;

9.  Points out that EU gas demand has significantly decreased in the past few years, partly owing to the economic crisis but also owing to a structural shift in gas demand thanks to the successful implementation of energy efficiency and renewable policies;

10.  Emphasises the need for impact assessments to be made to ascertain the added value of constructing new LNG transport and storage infrastructure; urges the Commission and the Member States to promote and incentivise a more efficient and safe use of existing storage infrastructure, including gas storage; highlights the need to focus new investments on areas with poor interconnection, or to supply the most vulnerable Member States; recalls the potential offered by the production of renewable natural gas through anaerobic digestion, prioritising production from sewage, agriculture and organic waste; stresses that new gas infrastructure investment decisions should not lead to lock-in fossil fuel infrastructure and should avoid stranded assets;

11.  Stresses the need for increased national and regional cooperation to enhance the multifunctionality, exploitability and efficiency of LNG infrastructure and to avoid overcapacity; calls for revised demand assessments and notes that electricity interconnections or the use of renewable energy sources coupled with energy efficiency measures can deliver the same results as new LNG infrastructure developments;

12.  Recalls, in the light of the climate crisis, that the EU needs to look for ways to decrease petroleum consumption; considers that before the EU can achieve its goal of using 100 % renewables, it should also consider natural gas as an alternative to coal and oil to enable Europe to reach its climate goals; stresses that other fuels and technologies can play a role in the transition towards renewables, but that the EU needs to support a short-term transition; highlights, however, that the dangers of over-reliance on natural gas can be overcome only by expanding the use of renewable energies; recalls that in most cases the increase in the use of natural gas competes with investments in renewables;

13.  Stresses the need to prioritise Projects of Common Interest that complete missing infrastructure in order to end energy isolation and single supplier dependency; highlights priority geographic areas such as the Baltic region, the Iberian Peninsula and south-eastern Europe, as well as certain island regions; highlights that EU funding instruments such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the Connecting Europe Facility, the European Regional Development Fund and EIB funding should prioritise such Projects of Common Interest;

14.  Stresses the need to ensure that geological gas storage facilities are assessed through a transparent process involving local communities;

15.  Points out that where existing LNG reception and storage capacity is underused, cross-border interconnector investments that enable its optimal use should be prioritised, and regulatory and fiscal obstacles should be removed before supporting investments in new capacity in neighbouring Member States;

16.  Draws attention to the irreversible environmental damage caused by oil-based emissions and marine fuels to the oceans, polar regions and the Arctic, and highlights the potential that the transition to LNG offers for decarbonising maritime transport and heavy goods vehicles compared with current mainstream fuels, while underlining that wider use of LNG in freight transport could contribute to the decrease of global CO2 emissions; notes that in order to assess any potential for greenhouse gas savings and overall environmental impact, the whole lifecycle, including the upstream methane leaks and impacts of the extractive process, would need to be taken into account; supports in this regard the objectives of Directive 2014/94/EU and the establishment of a harmonised regulatory and standardisation framework that encourages the use of LNG in shipping and heavy goods vehicles; emphasises the role of the renewal of fleet in order to achieve the energy transition towards LNG and renewable energy; urges the Commission to make funds available to support European projects to this end;

17.  Calls for the development of maritime routes, notably in the archipelago of the Azores which, given its geographical situation, could serve as a key fuel station for the transatlantic routes of LNG; urges the Commission to make funds available to support European projects to this end;

18.  Recalls that the extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing has severe impacts on the climate, the environment and public health, mostly so in a densely populated Europe, and that these impacts are transnational; stresses the need to take into account that the same standards that apply in the EU should also apply to imported LNG; recognises, however, that shale gas exploration is a matter that falls within Member States’ competence; stresses in this regard the need for a harmonised EU framework regarding fracking operations;

19.  Points out that LNG and natural gas storage arrangements must comply with modern safety requirements; states that this means, inter alia, continuous monitoring of the air above storage facilities and, in the case of underground storage, monitoring at ground level and deep underground; states that this should help ensure sustainable and safe storage;

20.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to put in place strategies to support facilities that may be used in the future to manage the transfer and storage of renewable natural gas.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

8.9.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

46

1

3

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Pilar Ayuso, Catherine Bearder, Simona Bonafè, Biljana Borzan, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nessa Childers, Birgit Collin-Langen, Miriam Dalli, Seb Dance, Angélique Delahaye, Bas Eickhout, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Elisabetta Gardini, Jens Gieseke, Andrzej Grzyb, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Benedek Jávor, Josu Juaristi Abaunz, Giovanni La Via, Peter Liese, Norbert Lins, Massimo Paolucci, Gilles Pargneaux, Piernicola Pedicini, Pavel Poc, Michèle Rivasi, Tibor Szanyi, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Nils Torvalds, Damiano Zoffoli

Substitutes present for the final vote

Mark Demesmaeker, Christofer Fjellner, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Elisabeth Köstinger, Gesine Meissner, Ulrike Müller, Younous Omarjee, Gabriele Preuß, Christel Schaldemose, Jasenko Selimovic, Bart Staes, Mihai Ţurcanu, Carlos Zorrinho, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Rikke Karlsson, Carolina Punset, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Jana Žitňanská


OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (7.9.2016)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage

(2016/2059(INI))

Rapporteur: Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s strategy to support the use of LNG as an alternative fuel for transport where it replaces more polluting conventional fuels and does not take the place of renewable energy sources, provided that it is sustainably produced and contributes to the aim of transport decarbonisation; stresses the environmental benefits of blending LNG used in transport with sustainable liquid biomethane made of waste and residues;

2.  Stresses that the EU strategy for LNG must be consistent with the framework strategy for a resilient Energy Union and support increased security of energy supply, decarbonisation and long-term sustainability of the economy, as well as the delivery of affordable and competitive energy prices for consumers; underlines, furthermore, that the strategy needs to fit into the wider European climate and energy targets and priorities, and correspond to the COP21 agreement, putting a focus on reducing demand, improving energy efficiency and phasing out fossil fuels;

3.  Points out that the use of LNG in heavy-duty vehicles, seagoing ships and inland waterway vessels can reduce emissions of various pollutants (SOx, NOx and particulate matter) and, in the case of shipping, can allow the sector to meet the requirements of EU and international environmental legislation by decreasing the sulphur and nitrogen content in marine fuels used in the Emission Control Areas and beyond;

4.  Stresses that the use of LNG may also lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from maritime and road transport, provided that all effective measures are taken to minimise methane slip throughout the lifecycle of the fuel, including in the production, distribution, and combustion phases; calls therefore for adequate measures to minimise methane slip in the overall LNG chain through the use of the best available technologies and to ensure adequate R&D financing for that purpose;

5.  Recalls that Parliament has repeatedly called for binding 2030 climate and energy targets of at least a 40 % domestic reduction in GHG emissions, at least 30 % for renewables and 40 % for energy efficiency, to be implemented by means of individual national targets;

6.  Notes that LNG, and in particular compressed natural gas (CNG), is also a viable solution for public transport that is already available and can help to reduce air and noise pollution, improving living conditions especially in urban agglomerations;

7.  Notes that although LNG and CNG can present viable transitional solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of transport, their long-term benefits will be realised only if a smooth transition towards the use of liquefied biogas (LBG) and other forms of renewable energy is simultaneously promoted by also ensuring the interoperability of LNG and LBG systems;

8.  Emphasises that an efficient network of refuelling infrastructure is a prerequisite for the substantive deployment of LNG as an alternative fuel in the transport sector; calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentives for the development of such infrastructure in order to close the existing gaps in provision and create a complete supply network;

9.  Calls on the Member States to transpose Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure by 18 November 2016, and to ensure its implementation within the prescribed time limits, in particular as regards the establishment of LNG refuelling points, at least along the existing TEN-T Core Network, to ensure that LNG heavy-duty motor vehicles can circulate throughout the Union, and at maritime and inland ports to enable LNG inland waterway vessels or seagoing ships to circulate throughout the TEN-T Core Network; recalls that Member States should assess, in their national policy frameworks, in close cooperation with their regional and local authorities, the need to install refuelling points for LNG in ports outside the TEN-T Core Network, and emphasises that this assessment should include a detailed cost-benefit analysis; calls also on the Commission to assess whether the existing financial instruments are adequate for supporting the construction of LNG refuelling points in ports outside the TEN-T Core Network;

10.  Calls also on the Member States to ensure the implementation of Directive 2014/94/EU as regards the establishment of CNG refuelling points to ensure that motor vehicles running on that fuel can circulate in urban/suburban agglomerations and other densely populated areas, and at least along the existing TEN-T Core Network to ensure that those vehicles can circulate throughout the Union;

11.  Stresses the need to establish common technical specifications for LNG refuelling points for seagoing ships, inland waterway vessels and motor vehicles, as provided for in Directive 2014/94/EU; calls for rigorous harmonised safety rules and training for LNG storage, bunkering and on-board use throughout the Union, while also allowing the possibility of simultaneous bunkering and cargo operations; notes that this work should be carried out in close cooperation with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA);

12.  Stresses the need to ensure adequate R&D financing for the development of improved technologies for inland waterways vessels, seagoing ships and motor vehicles with the aim of shifting swiftly to a lower-carbon fleet, as well as for the development of unmanned systems for the installation of LNG refuelling points; calls also on the Commission and Member States to create incentives for the development of vessels and motor vehicles running on LNG, or retrofitting those running on conventional fuels to enable them to use LNG;

13.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create incentives for the transport of LNG by rail, as this will both reduce road transport and contribute to the environmentally sound and safe transport of a fuel which is sustainable and low in pollutants;

14.  Calls on the Commission to revise Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles in order to provide stronger incentives for contracting authorities and entities and certain operators, when buying road transport vehicles, to take the energy and environmental impact into account, one aim being to promote fleet renewal by encouraging greater use of substitute fuels such as LNG and biogas;

15.  Calls on the Commission, as regards the Fuel Quality Directive, to set a new target for lowering the lifecycle greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuels, not least with a view to promoting LNG and biogas, whose lifecycle carbon intensity is lower than that of conventional fuels;

16.  Calls on the Commission, after consulting the stakeholders, to consider whether, alongside Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars, it might establish a CO2 equivalent for hydrocarbon emissions, not least with a view to informing consumers;

17.  Points out that the prospect of a dramatic expansion of around 50 % in global supply of LNG over the next few years, and consequently of lower prices, presents a major opportunity for the Union, particularly when it comes to gas security and resilience;

18.  Calls on the EU to complete the internal gas market so that it sends the right price signals – both to attract LNG to where it is needed and to allow the necessary investments in infrastructure to take place;

19.  Calls on the EU to step up its efforts to cooperate closely with international partners to promote free, liquid and transparent global LNG markets;

20.  Stresses that access to LNG must also be facilitated internationally, and that LNG storage must therefore be based on a transparent and non-discriminatory tariff structure agreed between Member States;

21.  Stresses the importance of LNG infrastructure at maritime and inland ports in promoting multimodality, as they can be used by sea-going ships, inland waterway vessels and trucks for the further overland transport of the fuel; urges national and regional operators to cooperate closely, with the aim of enhancing the multi-functionality and exploitability of the infrastructure;

22.  Notes that the current LNG terminals are not optimally distributed across the EU; stresses that sea ports play an important role in optimising the distribution of LNG across the Union by acting as LNG hubs; calls for the establishment of a long-term and stable financial framework and continuous funding opportunities through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and its synergies between the transport and energy sectors, Motorways of the Sea, Horizon 2020, the European Structural and Investment Funds and the European Investment Bank;

23.  Stresses that the TEN-E Regulation, together with the Connecting Europe Facility, establishes an appropriate policy framework for also supporting the EU’s gas infrastructure, including transmission, LNG terminals and storage, making it considerably easier to identify projects the EU needs and ensuring their implementation;

24.  Calls on the Commission to identify together with the Member States gas storage facilities of regional importance, and to ensure financial support to promote the most efficient construction and use of infrastructure or improve the existing capacity in a timely manner;

25.  Considers that the principle of geographical balance should be taken into account when selecting the future location of new LNG terminals or modernising/increasing the capacity of existing LNG terminals supported by EU funds; stresses that the full economic case for new terminals should be considered and the most cost-effective solutions be adopted, in order to allow all Member States to benefit from access to international LNG markets, either directly or via other Member States;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to present cost-effective, environmentally sustainable solutions for the distribution and storage of LNG in the Union, in particular in its outermost regions, and for adequate financing, ensuring affordable prices for the end-users; stresses the need to look at all existing solutions for the storage and distribution of LNG, in particular in island regions, including solutions such as virtual pipelines, small-scale infrastructure or the use of vessels transporting LNG, taking into consideration the potential evolution in demand for that fuel;

27.  Stresses that the strategy should also include the use of LNG as an alternative to the development of gas distribution and transmission infrastructure in areas where it is not currently cost-effective; notes that small LNG installations can provide the optimal infrastructure for increasing the use of natural gas in areas where investments in gas infrastructure are unprofitable, including for increasing the use of gas to generate heat and thus curb so-called low-stack emissions;

28.  Stresses that investment in LNG or gas infrastructure should avoid the risk of technology lock-in or stranded assets in relation to fossil fuel infrastructure; stresses the need to assess LNG supply alternatives, regional options and environmentally sustainable solutions, and to promote the most efficient use of existing LNG terminals with a cross-border perspective; stresses that priority should be given to market-based solutions responding to real gas demand and to the further development/enhancement of interconnections;

29.  Stresses the importance of regional cooperation when building new LNG terminals, and underlines that Member States with access to the sea should cooperate closely with landlocked countries; stresses that, in that regard, an optimal use of the West-East and North-South corridors with improved reverse-flow capacity would allow the transmission of LNG in countries that do not have direct access to a regasification terminal;

30.  Asks the Commission to create, jointly with the Member States and their regions, a common project of ‘LNG Blue Corridors for Islands’ for the maritime sector, including ports of the TEN-T Comprehensive Network in order to establish the necessary LNG infrastructures and to link this network to the TEN-T Core Network;

31.  Calls for a rapid implementation of the key projects of common interest which have already been agreed, especially the ones which will ensure the integration of the gas market of the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of Europe;

32.  Welcomes the fact that important LNG projects (e.g. the North-South corridor) are being defined as projects of common interest; calls on the Commission to fully include Balkan countries when planning the further construction of gas pipelines and the TEN-E network so as to ensure a key role for the EU energy sector in the region;

33.  Stresses the importance of security of supply in the Member States of the Black Sea region, which has increasing potential for further development of LNG projects, aiming at the transport of natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe;

34.  Emphasises the importance of further expansion of the gas supply infrastructure from the East Med Gas Corridor and of exploring the possibility of developing its capacity to become a Mediterranean LNG terminal hub.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

1.9.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Lucy Anderson, Inés Ayala Sender, Georges Bach, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Deirdre Clune, Michael Cramer, Andor Deli, Karima Delli, Isabella De Monte, Ismail Ertug, Jacqueline Foster, Tania González Peñas, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Miltiadis Kyrkos, Bogusław Liberadzki, Peter Lundgren, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Georg Mayer, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Jens Nilsson, Markus Pieper, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese, Gabriele Preuß, Christine Revault D’Allonnes Bonnefoy, Dominique Riquet, Massimiliano Salini, Claudia Țapardel, Keith Taylor, Pavel Telička, István Ujhelyi, Wim van de Camp, Janusz Zemke, Roberts Zīle, Kosma Złotowski, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ivo Belet, Michael Gahler, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Werner Kuhn, Jozo Radoš, Henna Virkkunen

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Urszula Krupa


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

26.9.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

33

10

6

Members present for the final vote

Nicolas Bay, Bendt Bendtsen, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, José Blanco López, David Borrelli, Jerzy Buzek, Angelo Ciocca, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Christian Ehler, András Gyürk, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Eva Kaili, Kaja Kallas, Barbara Kappel, Krišjānis Kariņš, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Janusz Lewandowski, Ernest Maragall, Edouard Martin, Angelika Mlinar, Dan Nica, Angelika Niebler, Morten Helveg Petersen, Miroslav Poche, Carolina Punset, Michel Reimon, Paul Rübig, Sergei Stanishev, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Henna Virkkunen, Martina Werner, Lieve Wierinck, Anna Záborská, Flavio Zanonato, Carlos Zorrinho

Substitutes present for the final vote

Michał Boni, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, David Coburn, Eugen Freund, Françoise Grossetête, Massimiliano Salini, Maria Spyraki

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi, Andor Deli, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

33

+

ENF

Barbara Kappel

PPE

Bendt Bendtsen, Michał Boni, Jerzy Buzek, Andor Deli, Christian Ehler, Françoise Grossetête, András Gyürk, Krišjānis Kariņš, Janusz Lewandowski, Angelika Niebler, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese, Paul Rübig, Massimiliano Salini, Maria Spyraki, Vladimir Urutchev, Henna Virkkunen, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Anna Záborská, Pilar del Castillo Vera

S&D

José Blanco López, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Eugen Freund, Eva Kaili, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Edouard Martin, Dan Nica, Miroslav Poche, Sergei Stanishev, Patrizia Toia, Martina Werner, Flavio Zanonato, Carlos Zorrinho

10

-

ECR

Hans-Olaf Henkel, Evžen Tošenovský

EFDD

Isabella Adinolfi, David Borrelli, David Coburn

ENF

Nicolas Bay, Angelo Ciocca

GUE/NGL

Xabier Benito Ziluaga

VERTS/ALE

Ernest Maragall, Michel Reimon

6

0

ALDE

Kaja Kallas, Angelika Mlinar, Morten Helveg Petersen, Carolina Punset, Lieve Wierinck

GUE/NGL

Neoklis Sylikiotis

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

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