Eurostat: Natural gas demand in EU down 13% in 2022 in cutback efforts

Following a 4.3 per cent increase in 2021, inland demand for natural gas in the European Union decreased by 13.2 per cent in 2022 to 13.72 million terajoules, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on May 4.

This is the third lowest total registered since 2008, when monthly cumulated data started being collected, after 2012 (12.93 million terajoules) and 2014 (13.2 million terajoules), Eurostat said.

“It’s important to note that 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, and this has triggered the reduction in demand that is visible in the present data,” the statistics agency said.

Between August 2022 and March 2023, EU consumption of natural gas dropped by 17.7 per cent, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-March) between 2017 and 2022.

In 2022, the largest natural gas consumers all reduced their demand substantially: Germany, Italy and France had the highest inland demand with 3.07 million terajoules (-15.4 per cent vs. 2021), 2.61 million terajoules (-9.9 per cent) and 1.54 million terajoules (-9.6 per cent), respectively.

Looking at all EU countries, demand decreased in most of them, except for Ireland and Malta where it was up slightly by 2.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively. 

n terms of supply, total EU imports of natural gas also decreased by 6.6 per cent from 24.67 million terajoules in 2021 to 23.05 million terajoules in 2022.

If in 2021, Norway and Russia were the main sources of natural gas entering the EU (intra-EU trade and entries from Switzerland both excluded) with similar percentages close to 24 per cent, in 2022 the situation was quite different.

Norway was the source of 24.4 per cent of the natural gas entering the EU, with Russia coming second with 15.3 per cent (-8.3 percentage points (pp) than in 2021), followed by the United States (9.8 per cent, +5.5pp), Algeria (8.3 per cent, +2.7 pp) and Qatar (6.7 per cent, +2.2 pp). 

Compared with 2021, imports from Ukraine (-5.7 pp) and Nigeria (-0.3 pp) also declined, while imports from the rest of the top 10 partners increased, Eurostat said.

The Sofia Globe staff

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