* Some nations 100 percent dependent on Russian gas
* Commission also suggests 'common capacity reserve'
* EU member states to debate energy security at June summit
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, May 20 EU nations should conduct
stress tests before winter to work out how vulnerable they would
be in the event the crisis over Ukraine leads to a major
disruption of natural gas supplies from Russia, a European
Commission draft document seen by Reuters shows.
EU leaders early this year called on the Commission, the EU
executive, to draw up a list of measures for the short and
longer term to improve the bloc's energy security after Russia's
annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Ukraine is the transit route for roughly half of the gas the
European Union imports from Russia.
Concerns about possible supply disruption are high because
Kiev has been refusing to pay the gas price Moscow is demanding,
but the real risk is for next winter when storage levels are
likely to be less full and demand much higher.
Before next winter, the Commission calls on member states to
perform a stress test of the EU energy system and to develop
back-up mechanisms such as increasing gas stocks and finding
short-term ways to cut demand.
It also wants other major supplier countries to increase
energy production, where possible, and global gas resources,
such as liquefied natural gas, to be redirected to Europe.
Germany is Europe's biggest buyer of Russian gas in terms of
volume, while six eastern nations are 100 percent dependent on
Russia for their gas.
Following previous gas supply crises sparked by pricing
disputes between Ukraine and Russia, the European Union has
taken precautions such as holding 30 days' gas demand in
The Commission is assessing whether this requirement should
The draft document raised the idea of pooling some stocks
into "a virtual common capacity reserve", possibly in
cooperation with the Paris-based International Energy Agency,
for rapid response in the case of disruption.
For the longer term, the Commission has outlined its vision
for energy and environment policy for 2030, which would include
improved energy efficiency and a bigger share of renewable
energy in the mix.
It is also accelerating efforts to complete its single
energy market, based on better cross-border connections between
Currently it has a non-binding goal that a country should be
able to get 10 percent of its energy capacity from its
neighbours through interconnectors.
The Commission draft suggests this should be increased to 15
percent by 2030.
Poland has been calling for "an energy union" to reduce
dependence on Russia and for common price negotiations with
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk with take part in a
conference on energy security in Brussels on Wednesday with
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European
Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.
The draft document says the Commission will examine whether
"a procedure could be developed for gas which would contribute
to increasing transparency of the market".
But it also says the options would have to avoid any
conflict with EU competition law.
EU member states will review all the options for
strengthening Europe's energy security at a summit in June.
(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo; editing by