EU Wants Price Cap on Russian Gas, Energy Companies to Pay

Brussels: European Union (EU) countries should set a price cap on Russian natural gas and seek a “solidarity contribution” from European oil and gas companies making extraordinary profits as the war in Ukraine drives up energy costs, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

With winter approaching, the 27 EU members are struggling to contain an energy crisis that could lead to rolling blackouts, shuttered factories and a deep recession. Russia has already cut gas supplies partially or entirely to 13 EU countries that use the fuel to heat homes, generate electricity and run factories.

She declined to recommend any price cap levels, saying that should be agreed during emergency talks among EU energy ministers this Friday. The bloc’s executive arm is putting a raft of proposals on the table for the ministers to discuss.

Von der Leyen said the commission, which proposes EU rules and policies, noted that oil and gas companies have made “massive profits.” A European drought is fueling higher electricity demand and limiting the production of hydropower.

The commission believes the EU is prepared for the winter, with joint gas storage levels at 82%; well ahead of the 80% target that had been set for the end of October.

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