Molecules – The Eurogas Newsletter (January-February 2019)

It’s been a very busy start to 2019 in Eurogas! We welcomed James Watson as our new Secretary General, conducted a number of meetings with the EU institutions on the preparations around the Gas Package and met with many strategic partners, participated and spoke at several events and kick-started work on various initiatives that will drive our agenda throughout the year.

First Steps on an Important Journey


Welcome to all readers of this our first newsletter, which aims to cover all the important aspects of the world of molecules in Brussels and across Europe. Every month we will provide you with information on what Eurogas has been up to and where we are going, we’ll also feature stories from our members to give a flavour of the hugely exciting developments that are happening in the gas industry across Europe.

This is a time of great innovation in the gas sector and one of the most dynamic and important periods that the sector has faced for a long time. I am delighted to have been given the chance to lead Eurogas at his moment, supporting the sector to deliver on its huge potential to deliver a clean future for Europe in the most affordable way. I have been struck by the great enthusiasm there is for improving the already impressive technological developments in the gas sector and in these first couple of months I have met with companies building electrolysers, CCS infrastructure, hydrogen projects, biogas projects, LNG engines for ships and grid updates for the new world of gas. There is so much action and activity that it is truly enjoyable to be part of this transition in one of Europe’s flagship energy sectors.

These first couple of months of the year have also been useful to meet our key stakeholders – policymakers, other energy sectors, industrial sectors, journalists and researchers. The good news is that it is clear that the future for gas is bright, there is a strong recognition that gas must be part of the European solution to climate change and part of a decarbonised economy. We have to make sure that we prepare well this year for the coming ‘gas package’ that will set the pathway for gas to 2030, but also impact the route to 2050. This is why we have recently agreed to undertake a study to assess the potential of all gases to 2050 and beyond, and the outcomes of that will be regularly featured in ‘Molecules’ to keep you up to date with the latest developments.

I would also like to invite you all to our Annual Conference on the 3rd April here in Brussels. We will discuss the question ‘Gas: Part of the Solution?’ with three panels, keynote speeches and will enjoy a cocktail reception to discuss the challenges and opportunities that exist in the sector. I hope you can join us and look forward to meeting you there!

Dr James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General 

Discussions with the European Commission on 2050, the Gas Package and the Gas Market

At the beginning of February, the Eurogas team met with Dominique Ristori, the Director General of DG ENER and discussed the recent developments in the gas market. The discussion focused on the success of the LNG market in Europe, as well as the opportunities for quick CO2 reduction wins through transitioning out higher CO2 emitting fuels and improving the penetration of gas into the energy mix.

The European Commission’s strategic long-term vision to achieve a climate neutral economy is a good opportunity to decide on solutions allowing swift progress on implementing the Paris Agreement. Eurogas has conducted several meetings with friends from DG ENER to deliver on the promise gas has to offer – deep and immediate decarbonisation. Meetings held with Hans van Steen, the Acting Director for renewable energy and Paula Abreu Marques, the Head of Unit for Renewables and CCS touched on the need for an improved view on the potential of r- and d-gases to 2050 in the long term strategy.


In meeting Megan Richards, the Director for Energy Policy, the Eurogas team discussed the importance of gas not just in Europe but on the global scale. The discussion focused on the potentials of near regions to continue to be strategic partners for Europe, even as we head into the era of r- and d-gas production.

A meeting with the Cabinet of Commissioner Hogan focused on the development of biogas and the benefits for the rural economy, and farmers in particular.

The importance of gas and gas infrastructure for the overall functioning of the energy system was widely agreed on, further work remains to be done however as to identifying precisely what are the barriers to sector coupling. The role of hydrogen in decarbonising industrial processes and providing a solution to balance inter-seasonal requirements from the electricity grid were extensively agreed upon, along with the requirement for CCUS to scale up production and improve market readiness for the molecule.

Eurogas and the European Commission, thoroughly discussed the studies and workstreams launched around the upcoming October Madrid Forum and recognised these would be key in providing clarifications on questions surrounding developments in the gas sector. Eurogas will be actively following and participating in all workstreams.


Eurogas also met with the Director General of DG CLIMA, Mauro Petriccione. The meeting allowed for an in-depth discussion of the long-term role for gas in the framework of EU’s 2050 decarbonisation efforts.

The importance of gas was clearly underlined with respect to its potential of ensuring a competitive EU industrial and manufacturing sector with renewable and decarbonised gas playing a key role going forward. Eurogas highlighted that gas – in all its forms – will help achieve climate ambitions on time, and bring other quality of life and environmental benefits, while maintaining energy system efficiency and resilience.

Additionally, the Eurogas team expanded on the great value of vectors such as biomethane in decarbonising at local level in a circular way. Exchanges further focused on green and blue hydrogenand the potential for the molecule to decarbonise final uses. Eurogas also underlined that switching from coal to gas in power generation would enable the EU to surpass its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 40% by an additional 5% by 2030.

Going forward, the important questions which Eurogas committed to work on clarifying were related to the cost of the transition for gas, and a reflection on the role of infrastructure and necessary refurbishments. Both sides agreed that the next 8 years would be crucial with regards to providing a clearer picture and implementing the right research programs and policies to deliver an optimal energy mix in 2050.

Support for Eurogas positions in the European Parliament

Eurogas has engaged in a positive dialogue with several active MEPs discussing the role of gas in the energy transition and how gas supports local communities with jobs and growth. Our team has outlined specific case studies in countries progressing towards increasing availabilities of renewable and decarbonised gas.

MEP Jerzy Buzek, EPP, Chair of the ITRE Committee

MEP Jerzy Buzek saw the developments in the gas sector with an eager eye and recognized the significant improvements in the market over the past years. MEP Buzek showed particular interest in LNG market developments and was encouraged by the rapid growth in this segment.

MEP Seán Kelly, EPP Group, EPP Shadow rapporteur on the REDII

Eurogas and Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) met with Seán Kelly and his office to discuss gas developments in Ireland, as well as the gas package and its implications. GNI gave an update on thier 20% objective for renewable gas in Ireland in 2030, with gas mobility picking up and the first injection site poised to start working in 2019. Eurogas underlined the importance of gas in ensuring a just transition and a stable energy system.

MEP Jaromír Kohlíček, GUE/NGL Group, Vice Chair of the ITRE Committee

The state of the Czech gas market was discussed with ITRE Vice-Chair, Kohlíček. The MEP showed keen interest for the potential of rural decarbonisation by means of renewable gas production, other topics featuring high on the agenda being air quality, the development of the biogas and decarbonised gas framework, as well as raising awareness of the benefits of NGVs. Kohlíček highlighted his interest in seeing further developments in the gas sector and stated his support for the type of targets which Eurogas is advocating for.

Events Molecules

Eurogas and Gas Turbines #PowerTheEU

As the energy transition is gaining more speed along with the EU’s long-term vision of a climate neutral economy, EU Turbines gathered industry and decision-makers from Brussels and across Europe, on 23 January, to launch a passionate call to action #PowerTheEU.

The gas turbine industry presented a set of commitments clustered under three main time periods – present, by 2020, and by 2030, as well as five key policy asks including recognising the value of reliable and efficient power and heat generation for Europe’s society and economy; accelerating the transition to a renewable-gas grid; adopting a technology neutral approach when selecting power generation technologies; encouraging and rewarding flexible dispatchable generation in electricity markets; and supporting the transformation of the energy system via adequate R&I funding for the turbine industry.

Jesse Scott, former Deputy Secretary General, at her last official Eurogas appearance, joined the panel debate discussing the necessary framework to drive the transition to decarbonised power generation by highlighting the importance of cooperation of energy market players across the value chain to take lead in ensuring we have a decarbonised energy mix.

Eurogas team would like to give a warm goodbye to Jesse, her expertise and hard work were an important asset to have and she will be missed.

Eurogas speaks at the European Gas Conference

The conference took place in Vienna at the end of January, bringing together the European and global gas industry.

Head of the Internal Energy Market Unit in DG Energy, Florian Ermacora highlighted the importance of gas in facilitating the energy transition, notably emphasising the central role of renewable and decarbonised gases as part of the European Commission’s long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy.

Nicolas Jensen, EU Affairs Manager at Eurogas, spoke about the vectors enabling a long-term development of renewable and decarbonised gas. He reflected on the importance of gas infrastructure in supporting decarbonisation efforts and in offering inter-seasonal flexibility to the electricity system, thereby radically reducing costs compared to full electrification scenarios.

Delivering a CCS and CCU agenda for Europe? 

What is needed to develop CCUS solutions? Eurogas joined the CEPS discussion on increasing deployment and scaling up CCS, with the recurrent points being: proper legislation, regulation and finance being central to developing an efficient CO2 strategy.

The European Commission’s long-term vision comprises 8 different scenarios and not one presumes an exclusive solution for decarbonisation. Challenges are therefore heterogenous and the depth for transformation is different for all actors. Several industry players reflected on the value chain of CCS and stressed that the technology already exists, and it is affordable.

What is crucial to open opportunities for wider scale deployment, stimulate investment and build up confidence is alignment of incentives, regulatory oversight for safe operation, cooperation between governments for further infrastructure development. Along these lines, capacity building efforts must be strengthened in order to create a bridge between industries and communities to ensure economic growth and create jobs whilst meeting common decarbonisation goals.

James Watson speaks about the role of gas in the energy transition at EU-Norway Energy Conference

On 5 February, Dominique Ristori, Director General, European Commission Directorate-General for Energy and Rolf Einar Fife, Norway’s Ambassador to the EU opened the 4th EU-Norway Energy Conference with welcome speeches.
They were joined by Commissioner for Energy Cañete and the Minister for Energy of Norway.

Miguel Arias Cañete communicated about two overarching topics: the long-term strategy and perspectives for natural gas and CCS. He stated natural gas and CCS are to play an important role in the energy transition and thus are included as pillars in the long-term strategy. The ambitious long-term decarbonisation targets are unattainable with 100% renewables only, natural gas will therefore remain an important component in the European energy mix for decades ahead as it offers the flexibility that can complement variable electricity generation coming from renewables. He also underlined that CCS will be significant in power generation as fossil fuel-based electricity will still be produced, however the technology has an even more important role to close the circle for the energy intensive sectors for which other solutions do not exist. Moreover, he highlighted that in combination with renewable biomass, CCS could lead to negative emissions which could compensate for the remaining CO2 in our economy.

Kjell-Børge Freiberg, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy delivered a keynote speech with a focus on similar themes: decarbonisation of energy intensive industries, gas being a reliable partner to renewables, but also on existing gas infrastructure that could be used for hydrogen or biogas. He highlighted the importance of hydrogen and CCS, mentioned that maturing these technologies is key. The Minister pointed out that CCS has been in use for long in Norway and that it creates opportunities for economic growth and jobs. It is however costly to currently deploy CCS, the investment risk is high, therefore a clear political determination is necessary.

Eurogas Secretary General, James Watson, spoke about the role of gas in the energy transition by drawing attention to gas in our daily lives and our economy in terms of power generation, heating, cooking, as well as gas consumption and renewable gas production in the EU. Watson highlighted that the combined potential of gas in all its forms – natural, renewable and decarbonised – is pivotal in reaching the 2050 decarbonisation targets in a cost-effective manner, thus scaling up and deploying innovative technologies such as power-to-gas, CCS/CCU, fuel cells and micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP) is essential.

Coming up!

European Climate Foundation Report Launch: Towards Fossil-Free Energy in 2050 – 14 March, Brussels

This new report from Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics explores the key energy system challenges and macro-economic opportunities to a decarbonised EU energy system by the year 2050.

After a presentation of the report’s findings, an expert panel will follow with James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General, Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric Secretary General, Lisa Fischer, E3G Senior Policy Adviser, Florian Ermacora, European Commission DG ENER, Benjamin Denis, European Trade Union Confederation Advisor).


Eurogas Annual Conference “Gas – part of the solution?
3 April, Brussels

This year’s Eurogas Annual Conference will address issues for the energy sector and the gas sector in relation to the European Commission’s long-term vision to achieve a climate neutral Europe by 2050, the forthcoming gas legislation, sector integration and the role of renewable and decarbonised gases in the future sustainable energy mix. We will also discuss gas as a solution to the world’s energy challenges, as well as pathways to achieving a carbon neutral Europe and a robust gas market.

Seán Kelly (European Parliament), Megan Richards (European Commission), Marie-Christine Marghem (Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Belgium), Raffaele Mauro Petriccione (European Commission) are amongst our speakers!

The conference will be followed by a networking reception.
We are looking forward to welcoming you all at this flagship Eurogas event!


Contributing to a CO2 neutral gas supply: On the road to 2050 – what role for renewable gases and gas infrastructure?
9 April, Brussels
Euractiv high-level workshop where Frontier Economics will present their study on the future role of gas infrastructure in a decarbonised Europe.

James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General, will be amongst the speakers exchanging views on the evolution of the gas infrastructure and on the challenges related to renewable gases. Other speakers participating in the discussion will be Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, DG ENER Director, Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric Secretary General, and Milan Elkerbout, CEPS Research Fellow.


The fight for the EU energy security – 11 April, Brussels
Energy security is high up on the EU national security agenda — part of the Continent’s response to a rise in geopolitical uncertainty. Clashing interests, regulatory issues, costs and political rivalries over all these projects will significantly change the EU’s gas map in the next years.

Join our Secretary General, James Watson at Politico’s event featuring leading experts: Klaus-Dieter Borchardt,  European Commission DG Energy, Dries Acke, ECF Director of the Energy Systems Programme, Juraj Nociar, Head of Cabinet of Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, Helveg Morten Petersen (ALDE, Denmark), Member of the European Parliament.


FLAME 2019  “25th Anniversary” – 13-15 May, Amsterdam

This edition will highlight the evolution of gas in the energy mix of the future, its role in different sectors. The conference will also look into new technologies and innovations for gas and how these can contribute to the energy mix.
Eurogas is delighted to participate in the panel featuring “The greening of the gas grid & bringing innovation to the system” with Secretary General Dr. James Watson speaking.


The smarter E Europe – 15-17 May, Munich

We are delighted to partner with The smarter E and Hydrogen Europe to launch the first edition of the Power-To-Gas Pavilion and conference as part of the largest energy industry platform in Europe.
More details on the programme and exhibition will be available soon, stay tuned!


More Eurogas events coming up!

Eurogas General Assembly Meeting – 27-28 June, Oslo
Policy networking cocktail event – September TBC, Brussels
Central and Eastern Europe Conference – Date TBD, Brussels

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