Published on Monday, September 26, 2022

Europe | At the whim of gas imports

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, the European Union (EU) has had to rethink its long-standing reliance on Russian gas, which accounted for around 40% of the region’s total consumption in 2021. Notably, this reliance has been growing over the last few years.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • To a large extent, this dependence has been exacerbated by lower natural gas production on European soil due to strong opposition to fracking, which fell from 30% of EU gas consumption in 2014 to just 12% in 2021.
  • The latest figures reveal that Europe has now managed to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by around 50%.
  • One of the reasons for this is that Europe has diversified its sources of supply, with increased imports via gas pipelines (mainly from Norway) and of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Another reason is that some of the gas has been replaced with alternative sources, either in the form of renewable energies or, temporarily, by coal.
  • With gas reserves currently at 86% (accounting for 22.5% of the EU’s annual consumption), the region is prepared for the winter ahead. However, it is also seeking to ensure gas availability over the following years, and this all depends on the EU’s ability to somehow make up the other 50% of Russian gas imports (20% of annual EU gas consumption) that has yet to be replaced.
  • With this in mind, the European Commission proposed the European “Save Gas for a Safe Winter” plan in late July in a bid to achieve a 15% reduction in gas consumption across Europe by next spring.

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