London — Security of gas supply in Europe cannot be taken for granted given the unprecedented measures taken across the continent to combat the coronavirus outbreak, industry body Eurogas said Tuesday.
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Eurogas -- which represents dozens of European gas companies -- said pre-planning and contingency measures had so far proven sufficient, even in the worst-hit countries such as Italy and Spain, but that there was no room for complacency.
"The trajectory of the pandemic remains impossible to predict, and for that reason, security of supply cannot be taken for granted," Eurogas policy advisor Felicia Mester said.
"Work continues to ensure a secure energy supply to consumers, hospitals and industries essential to the production of medical equipment," Mester said.
There have to date been no reports of any disruption to gas supplies in Europe as a result of the restrictions on the movement of people, with energy workers largely classed as essential workers.
There has, though, been some reduction in consumption in the industrial sector as some non-essential industries are idled.
Mester said member state solidarity was "essential" to facilitate the movement of workers, and called for any bureaucratic barriers that could prevent a rapid response to be removed.
"Eurogas will continue to monitor the situation along with trusted members, partners such as the ENTSOs, trade associations, regulators and many others," Mester said.
'High level' of preparedness
Mester said operators of critical infrastructure had so far shown a "high level" of preparedness.
"Operations have downsized for the safety of staff with essential crews working in shifts and in isolation from each other. Luckily, the sector is equipped with sufficient well-trained staff to manage even increased challenges," Mester said.
She added that systems were ready to manage any changes in supply and demand, and collaboration with local authorities was already in place.