Hydrogen and Decarbonized Gas Markets Package: an MEPs – Industry Conversation
Chairmanship and Introduction
Jerzy Buzek MEP (EPP, Poland), President of the EEF
James Watson, Secretary General, Eurogas
Iskren Kirilov, Senior Manager Institutional Relations, IOGP
Annika Brack, Head of EU Representative Office, Uniper
Valeria Palmisano, International Relations with the European Union, Snam
Aneta Wilmańska, Deputy Director of Representative Office in Brussels, PKN ORLEN S.A.
Axel Eggert, Director General, EUROFER
The last dinner-debate of 2022 was chaired and opened by the EEF President MEP Jerzy Buzek, who has been personally working on the hydrogen and decarbonized gas markets package as Rapporteur on the regulation and Shadow Rapporteur on the directive.
The package is extremely important and entails a heavy political discussion between policymakers and the industry. The aim is to get to a piece of legislation that is useful for the industry, and that’s why a serious conversation between all involved stakeholders is very much needed, our Chair explained.
MEP Buzek briefly presented the main points he has been working on. He touched upon several aspects, including the proposal to enshrine the REPowerEU 35 bcm biomethane production target into the regulation; the blending of hydrogen and natural gas; further diversification of natural gas supply; the creation of a separated EU hydrogen structure yet within the ENTSO-G; the unbundling models for the future hydrogen market, and the proposal to introduce a GHG intensity target of the 2030 gas supply. He also explained that, in his opinion, some of the provisions adopted as part of the Council Emergency Regulation of October 2022 – namely those concerning the joint purchase of gas, solidarity agreements between Member States and a new reliable LNG benchmark – should be enshrined in the package’s regulation so as to become permanent.
The EEF President then turned to the industry and the MEPs present, asking them to provide their reflections and perspectives on the proposed texts.
A first set of answers came from the EEF Associate Members’ representatives from the gas sector: James Watson, Secretary General, Eurogas; Iskren Kirilov, Senior Manager Institutional Relations, IOGP; Annika Brack, Head of EU Representative Office, Uniper; Valeria Palmisano, International Relations with the European Union, Snam and Aneta Wilmańska, Deputy Director of Representative Office in Brussels, PKN ORLEN S.A.
Overall, the speakers said they welcome the EP regulation and directive draft reports as they believe they go in the right direction. The inclusion of the targets for biomethane production and GHG intensity of gas supply are particularly appreciated, as they can help put in place the support required to rapidly develop renewable and low-carbon gases. The introduction of a guarantees of origin framework is also generally welcome. The main concerns raised referred to the proposed unbundling rules for hydrogen network operators as well as to the proposal to make the October 2022 emergency measures permanent. In the gas industry’s perspective, having been adopted in response to a crisis, these measures should have only a temporary application. The gas market has proved to work properly over the years, and the speakers are confident it will continue doing so once the crisis is over.
The point of view of consumers was also presented by Axel Eggert, Director General, EUROFER. He said the steel sector finds the package is well drafted and cherishes the provisions to prioritize hydrogen use in those sectors where electricity is not an option, like the steel sector indeed. Ensuring affordability of energy is also crucial to preserve the EU steel industry competitiveness, he added.
The MEPs and EEF Associate Members in the audience were also quite reactive. They seized the opportunity to add further food for thought to the discussion and to show appreciation for the work carried out by MEP Buzek on the package.