As concerns increase about the security of the European Union’s (EU) suppl ...

As concerns increase about the security of the European Union’s (EU) supplies of oil and gas, the European Commission (EC) has put in place a network of security experts charged with monitoring threats to the EU’s energy flows and raising alarms if necessary, writes Keith Nuthall. Brussels’ Network of Energy Security Correspondents (NESCO) will continuously monitor risks, including pipeline flows, market intelligence and brewing political problems, exchanging information through a dedicated web portal with controlled access, to guarantee secure communication. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said EU external energy policies needed ‘a clear and common prior identification of EU interests and reliable risk assessments’. In other EU news: *The EC has released a working paper advising how EU member states should adopt complimentary charging policies for allowing access to natural gas transmission networks. Its report stresses that tariffs should ‘generally not be based on specific transactions’ but be more flexible and long-term, allowing gas operators freedom to trade… encouraging ‘capacity trading, exploiting short notice market opportunities and reacting quickly to market developments’. For details, visit http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas/legislation/doc/interpretative_note/sec_2007_535_en.pdf *The EC has launched anti-trust proceedings against Italian energy company Eni, alleging it illegally excluded potential competitors from Italian gas supply markets. Brussels has also opened antitrust proceedings against the German energy company RWE, claiming it erected illegal obstacles to access by other companies to its gas transport network in Germany’s industrial heartland, North Rhine-Westphalia. *The EU automobile makers association (ACEA) has called for more time to implement proposed legislation forcing a cut of carbon dioxide emissions from new cars to an average of 130 g/km. Brussels wants this achieved by 2012, but ACEA says because the law may not be finalised by 2009, this would leave too little time, as by then new models for 2012 will already have been designed. ACEA wants a 2015 implementation date. *The European Parliament is setting up an ad hoc specialist committee to discuss the policy implications of climate change. *The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to acquire a 9.8% stake in E.ON Gaz Romania, a gas distribution company supplying northern Romania which is majority-owned by Germany’s E.ON Group. *The EBRD is, together with the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, investing €47.5mn in Clean Globe International, a subsidiary of Finland’s Lamor, one of the world’s largest providers of oil spill clean-up equipment. The Bank is also lending $50mn to the JSC State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine for on-lending to private companies financing energy efficiency projects in the country. *EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has called at an International Energy Agency (IEA) meeting in Paris for an international agreement on energy efficiency, committing key developed and developing countries to common approaches to saving energy. *The European Investment Bank has drawn up plans to lend Luxembourg €50mn to finance carbon dioxide emissions reduction projects to enable the Grand Duchy to generate carbon credits in emissions trading after 2012. *Italy, Lithuania and Latvia are the only EU member states to have hit a deadline to write the EU environmental liability directive into their national laws, claims the EC. The legislation insists businesses be held liable for significant pollution-caused environmental damage.

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