EU-Russia Energy Dialogue Discusses Natural Gas Fuel

| Europe | Source: NGVA Europe

Philip Lowe (DG Energy) and Alexy P. Surkhov (Ministry of Energy) share a light-hearted moment at the conference.

The European Commission (EC) organised a conference on “innovative uses of gas” in the framework of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue, in June. The Dialogue is based on the assumption that interdependence between the two regions will grow – from the EU for reasons of security of supply; on the part of Russia, to secure foreign investment and facilitate its own access to EU and world markets. The European Association for Natural & bio Gas Vehicles (NGVA Europe) was invited by the Commission to support the conference with an exhibition of several CNG, LNG and biogas vehicles in front of the Berlaymont building, headquarters for the EC, and has subsequently reported on outcomes.

The conference was opened by P. Lowe, Director General of EC’s Directorate-General for Energy (DG Energy), and A. Sukhov, Director in the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation. Keynote speeches were given by Mr V. Yazev, President of the Russian Gas Society, and G. Lankhorst, CEO of GasTerra. The event brought together more than 100 representatives from governments and the industry to discuss the opportunities for the use of gas in the transport sector. The conference also adressed the potential for more efficient ways of using gas as well as future gas technologies.

Special focus was put on natural gas and biomethane in transport. The conference was also supported by Eurogas, Marcogaz, and GERG (the European Gas Research Group).

Some of the NGVs on display outside Berlaymont.

Eugene Pronin, Gazprom head of NGV department and NGVA Europe Board of Directors member, as well as Manuel Lage, General Manager of NGVA Europe expressed satisfaction with the conference conclusions, “which can be taken as a clear sign of increased and closer business activity between the Russian Federation and the European Union in the future, especially with regards to gas in transport”, both agreed.

Conference conclusions (from EC press release)

The conference participants –

  • underline the importance of natural gas in EU–Russia energy relations and that natural gas should remain an available, reliable, competitive and affordable fuel;
  • take note of the potential environmental and other benefits of the alternative uses of gas, notably in the transport sector, taking into account the EU and Russian targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions and for energy efficiency;
  • note that while policies are still being formulated, several technological options involving natural gas are already practically operational and so could contribute to the above objectives;
  • welcome the implementation of different projects of the private sector, including the “Blue Corridors” concept and other initiatives to promote the use of natural gas in the transport sector and the efforts to improve infrastructure and the regulatory framework in this respect;
  • note the challenge in the transport sector of parallel development of a fuelling network and of mass vehicle production, and takes note of the prospects for LNG use in the maritime sector, also in shared seas such as the Baltic or the Black Sea;
  • encourage the definition of long term targets, critical for all NGV market stakeholders, including vehicle and equipment manufacturers, fuel retailers, infrastructure developers and end customers;
  • underline the importance of coherent public policy and the harmonisation of standards in this area and call for the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue to discuss this issue in cooperation with other respective authorities in Russia and in the EU where necessary;
  • note the importance to address innovative and low-carbon solutions in the development of the EU-Russia energy roadmap until 2050;
  • encourage further events and activities in this respect, including on innovation aspects, in the context of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.
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