UK Markets closed

EU ministers to discuss gas price amid fears of more Russian disruptions

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Pipes at the landfall facilities of the 'Nord Stream 1' gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany

MADRID (Reuters) -European Union energy ministers are due to meet on Friday to discuss setting up caps on Russian natural gas prices, Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said on Tuesday, adding she had told utilities to be prepared for more restrictions from Russia.

She said the European Commission, which is leading the discussions between energy ministers, had circulated proposals that include caps on the price paid by EU countries for Russian gas pumped through pipelines or delivered by sea.

Spanish companies have increased maritime deliveries of liquefied natural gas from Russia during summer but annual deliveries will stay around 7% of imports as usual, she said.

"We have told Spanish companies and those who operate on the industry it is important to get prepared and get guarantees ahead of a potential limit on the access to gas tankers with liquefied gas from Russia," Ribera told reporters.

A draft document, seen by Reuters, said the ministers would consider options including a price cap on imported gas, a price cap on gas used to produce electricity, or temporarily removing gas power plants from the current EU system of setting electricity prices.

The construction of a new pipeline connecting the Spanish and French gas grids, known as Midcat, will likely be discussed at the Friday meeting, Ribera said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last month pushed for the construction of a pipeline from Portugal through Spain and France to central Europe to wean Europe from Russian energy dependence, saying he had lobbied strongly for such a project.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday such a pipeline was not necessary since capacity on the two existing cross-Pyrenees gas pipelines was under-utilised and that gas flows were going mainly in the direction of Spain.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo, Belen Carreno and Christina ThykjaerEditing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)