Ministers discuss natural gas markets and global energy crisis at IEA meeting
(WO) – Forty governments took part in a Special IEA Ministerial meeting on natural gas markets and supply security, discussing additional ways to work together to limit the impacts from the global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and proposing measures to support affected countries.
The ministers also reviewed how such measures can contribute to momentum on clean energy transitions worldwide in line with the goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C.
The virtual meeting of countries representing half of global gas demand was chaired by Canadian Minister for Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, and co-chaired by US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Irish Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan.
It brought together representatives from all 31 IEA member countries, as well as from Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia and Ukraine, and the European Union represented by the European Commissioner for Energy. All those present expressed their sincere condolences to Türkiye following the tragic loss of life caused by the devastating earthquakes this month, pledging their continued support for disaster relief and recovery efforts in the country.
The key areas of discussion at the meeting were summarized in a ministerial statement, including agreement on the need to “coordinate response efforts to mitigate the risks of Russia using energy as a weapon of political coercion”. There was acknowledgment that short-term measures such as the additional capacity in liquified natural gas (LNG) had eased supply concerns. But a range of factors mean that uncertainty is likely to persist into 2023.
Ministers were encouraged by the actions already taken by the European Commission and EU member states to shore up European gas stocks this winter and how this has helped balance global demand and supply. They noted the actions suggested by the IEA Secretariat and the IEA Task Force on Gas Market Monitoring and Supply Security to maintain domestic and regional energy security. These include the IEA Secretariat’s 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas.
Measures to strengthen energy security were welcomed by all the ministers. These include efforts to improve energy efficiency rapidly, speed up the deployment of renewables, and carry out targeted upgrades to grid infrastructure. In addition, coordinated actions are being prepared to support an orderly gas storage filling season in the Northern Hemisphere to enhance European and global energy security, improve global energy affordability, minimise supply disruptions, and leverage transparent and competitive energy markets to minimise the negative impacts of price volatility on consumers.
A background report prepared by the IEA Secretariat for the Ministerial shows that the potential supply-demand gap of natural gas facing the European Union in 2023 has narrowed since December as timely policy action and unseasonably mild winter temperatures have enabled gas storage levels to be filled to higher levels than previously expected. The potential supply-demand gap is based on a scenario in which Russian supplies to Europe fall further, global supplies of LNG tighten as Chinese demand rebounds, and temperatures next winter are colder than average.
Ministers recommended that the IEA Gas Task Force provide updated roadmaps on how the options identified in the report could be implemented as the global gas crisis evolves. At the political level, ministers decided to expand their dialogue with the broader global community, including through existing multilateral mechanisms such as the G7, G20 and the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate among others.