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ELM News ImageThe EU agrees on a joint action to tackle disruptions in oil supplies from Russia

The Commission and EU Presidency are taking joint action to press Russia and Belarus to resolve completely the disputes concerning the Druzhba pipeline. At the same time, the EU convened its Oil Supply Group to coordinate the response of its Members States to the disruption of oil supplies. "We welcome the information that oil flows have resumed as signs of progress but continue calling on both sides to reach an immediate and complete resolution of all outstanding issues and guarantee reliability of future deliveries through the pipeline" declared Commissioner Piebalgs, the German Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Joachim Wuermeling and the IEA’s Executive Director, Claude Mandil at a common press conference following the meeting.

In parallel, Energy Commissioner Piebalgs advanced that “The Commission will accelerate its work on the necessary measures outlined in the Strategic Energy review to enhance the security of oil supply and solidarity among its Member States".

The EU Oil Supply Group met today to discuss the EU response to the disruption of crude oil supplies which is affecting several Member States receiving oil deliveries from Russia via Belarus through the Druzhba pipeline. Representatives of both the Russian and Belarusian Missions to the EU were present at the start of the meeting to provide information on the latest developments.

The Group expressed its unanimous support to Commissioner Piebalgs' earlier statement urging to seek an immediate resolution to their dispute.

The delegates of the Oil Supply Group also reviewed the levels of strategic stocks currently available in the Union and agreed on the modalities of their possible withdrawals in individual Member States. The level of strategic stocks in the EU stands at present at over 120 days, ensuring undisrupted supplies for EU consumers. The Commission provided clear guidance on the stock release procedure and reported that it was maintaining close contact and good information exchange with the International Energy Agency. Close cooperation will continue, including the preparation of a further emergency response if needed.

The latest events confirm the importance of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue in order to address these disruptions between partners. They also once again reveal the need for a coherent EU energy policy enabling for common EU actions and strengthening the security of supply for the EU. Concrete actions were clearly outlined in the Commission's recent Strategic Energy Review adopted earlier this week and will lead the Commission to undertake new initiatives in the energy field throughout the year. These will include steps to develop improved solidarity mechanisms to cope with energy crisis events, inter alia through enhanced coordination with the IEA, further pressure for diversification of energy supplies in the Union, as well as efforts to strengthen the transparency and timeliness of data on the energy sector through an effective monitoring and reporting scheme under the proposed Office of the Energy Observatory.