Greece to back gas usage cut extension at Energy Council

Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas is expected to back a European Commission proposal for a 12-month extension of a measure supporting a 15 percent reduction of natural gas usage at today’s Energy Council of EU energy ministers.

The group of 27 energy ministers will seek to reach a political agreement on the measure’s proposed extension, from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024, so that Europe may also be prepared for next winter should EU member states face gas supply issues or even disruptions.

This measure, first introduced on August 1, 2022, is set to expire in a few days’ time, on March 31. It called for a 15 percent reduction of gas usage during this period, compared to the previous five-year average during the equivalent eight-month periods. Greece exceeded the measure’s target by reducing its natural gas usage by 20.9 percent.

The measure’s gas usage restrictions are voluntary but would become binding should higher-alert conditions come about.

Europe’s natural gas savings stand to reach 60 billion cubic meters over the next twelve months if the EU’s 27 energy ministers agree on a one-year extension of the measure for an annual 15 percent reduction of natural gas usage.

Skrekas, Greece’s energy minister, also plans to present, at today’s Energy Council, the country’s proposal for an EU power grid capacity boost and expansion to facilitate electricity flow from south to north, as part of a wider plan envisaging RES flow from north Africa to Greece and the rest of Europe, via the western Balkans.