The EU consumption of natural gas dropped by 19.3 per cent in the period August 2022-January 2023, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-January) between 2017 and 2022, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on February 21.
The Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 on coordinated demand-reduction measures for gas, part of the REPowerEU plan to end EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels, set a reduction target of 15 per cent for the period August 2022-March 2023 as compared to the average of the same period of the five previous consecutive years.
Between August 2022 and January 2023, among EU countries, Ireland (-0.3 per cent) registered the smallest decrease in natural gas consumption in the reference period, while Spain (-13.7 per cent) and Slovenia (-14.2 per cent) recorded a significant drop but have not yet reached the 15 per cent target. In other EU members, consumption dropped beyond the 15 per cent target, in some, by a large margin (above 40 per cent).
Consumption fell the most in Finland (-57.3 per cent), Lithuania (-47.9 per cent) and Sweden (-40.2 per cent).
Eurostat said that looking at monthly data from January 2022 to January 2023, consumption has been consistently below the 2017-2022 average of the respective months of those years.
Between January and July 2022, natural gas consumption in the EU varied between 1 938 petajoules (PJ) in January and 785 PJ in July, indicating a monthly decrease overall, even before the target of 15 per cent gas reduction was set up by the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369.
But the biggest decreases were registered in the second semester of the year starting in August 2022, with a 14.0 per cent reduction in consumption, followed by 14.3 per cent in September, 24.7 per cent in October and 25.0 per cent in November.
Consumption in December 2022 hit 1 575 PJ, indicating a smaller decrease (-12.6 per cent) than in previous months, but then it dropped further in January 2023 (-22.1 per cent).
January is seasonally a colder month with higher consumption, and still, in January 2023 (1 534 PJ), the reduction in consumption was evident compared with December 2022 (1 575 PJ) and with January 2022 (1 938 PJ), Eurostat said.
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