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Bratislava workshop on providing reliable gas transit

A follow-up meeting to 'Brussels workshop on providing reliable gas transit' of 19 May 2006 was organised in Bratislava in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic on 27 September 2006, on the eve of the Annual Conference of Gas Infrastructure Europe, the association representing gas transmission companies, storage system operators and LNG terminal operators in Europe. This workshop brought together government and industry experts from across the Energy Charter constituency and examined all major operational aspects of gas transit flows, especially interoperability, interconnection management, gas balancing and storage.

The discussion at these meetings provided useful guidance for the future work of the Energy Charter. Among the main conclusions was the need for greater transparency both on the rules applicable to energy transit and on the actual flows. As James Ball, President of Gas Strategies said during the first workshop, "transparency is more than an academic interest, it is a necessity in today's energy world", since it not only serves to increase confidence in the reliable operation of a transit system, but it can also serve as an early-warning system for potential problems.

There was an understanding of the need for an inclusive forum for cooperation on technical issues, which can foster a common understanding along the entire gas value chain of operational issues that can affect cross-border flows. Finally, the workshops underlined the value of agreed mechanisms for the resolution of disputes, such as the conciliation procedure foreseen in the Energy Charter Treaty, which allow for settlement of any differences without interruptions to transit flows.