EU gas consumption decreased by 17.7% in August 2022-March 2023 – Eurostat

The EU consumption of natural gas has dropped by 17.7 per cent in the period August 2022-March 2023, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months between 2017 and 2022, EU statistics agency Eurostat said.

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.

Data show that the majority of EU countries reached the -15 per cent target, with the exception of Ireland (-0.2 per cent), Slovakia (-1.0 per cent), Spain (-10.8 per cent), Poland (-12.5 per cent), Slovenia (-13.8 per cent) and Belgium (-14.5 per cent), which recorded smaller decreases, and Malta (smallest gas consumer among all EU members using gas), which actually saw a 12.7 per cent increase between August 2022 and March 2023.

Consumption fell the most in Finland (-55.7 per cent), Lithuania (-40.5 per cent) and Sweden (-37.2 per cent) and in other EU countries, consumption dropped beyond the 15 per cent target, in some by a large margin (above 20 per cent).

Looking at monthly data from January 2022 to March 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 overall decrease, even before the target of 15 per cent gas reduction was set up by the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369.

However, the biggest decreases were registered in the second part of 2022 starting in August, with a 14 per cent reduction in consumption, followed by -14.3 per cent in September, -24.4 per cent in October, -25.0 per cent in November, and -12.3 per cent in December. 

The year 2023 started with further decreases of 19.0 per cent in January (1 593 PJ) and 14.7 per cent in February (1 435 PJ). Natural gas consumption in March 2023 reached 1 318 PJ, below the 1 589 PJ average registered between 2017-2022, with a 17.1 per cent drop, Eurostat said.

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