Maroš Šefčovič: Liquefied Natural Gas for even landlocked countries

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been part of Europe's energy supply, for just as long as piped gas. In fact, Europe was the world’s first LNG market, and the very first LNG ship came from the US, when the Methane Pioneer, a converted World War II cargo ship, delivered LNG from Louisiana to the Canvey Island LNG terminal in England, in February, 1959. Despite an early start, up until now, Europe has not had a comprehensive LNG strategy, encompassing the entire EU. In the current political climate, where Member States clearly recognise the benefit and importance of an integrated energy market, the time is clearly ripe to present the first EU LNG Strategy. In recent years, our concerns for the security of supply have been aggravated, mainly due to the geo-political situation to the east of the EU. At the same time, we have witnessed a transition of the gas markets, which have become global, rather than regional. Given these two coinciding trends, the European Commission has decided to propose an LNG Strategy, which will be put on the table at the beginning of 2016. In parallel to this, we will propose a revision of the Regulation on the Security of Gas Supply. The objective of the new LNG and Storage Strategy is to identify whether EU action – internal and external - may be necessary in the medium to longer-term period, in order to ensure that all Member States, in particular, those in Central and South-Eastern Europe, have direct or indirect access to both LNG and sufficient storage capacity. We strive to allow even LNG-access, not only to [...]