EU launches third round of joint gas purchases

(Reuters) - The European Commission launched a third round of joint gas purchases on Thursday to secure supplies ahead of winter and help make up for Russia's slashing of deliveries.

The Commission said it was inviting European companies to register by Sept. 27 their natural gas requirements.

The EU executive will seek offers on the international markets on Oct. 3-4 for deliveries between December 2023 and March 2025.

"This year we are entering winter on a much better footing with regards to energy supply," Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said in a statement.

"However, the situation on the gas market remains tense. We must therefore remain vigilant and continue our joint purchases of gas in order to guarantee a stable and affordable supply," he continued.

In the first two rounds in May and July, the EU's joint purchasing plan saw companies place requests for 27.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas and it found matching supply bids of 22.9 bcm.

The volumes are a small fraction of the EU's total demand of around 360 bcm but aim to help countries prepare for another winter after Moscow cut off most gas flows to Europe following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

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