Natural Gas in Europe

Natural gas in Europe

What is the dependence on Russian natural gas of Europe related
to the Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula?

Let's take a look at gas consumption in Europe for the last 5 years in bcma:

4 years change-115-22%

The data come from Eurogas and include EU-28.

One might be surprised but the gas consumption for the last 4 years in Europe did not increase. It dropped by 115 bcma or in average by 29 bcm per year. Nobody did anything deliberately to enforce that process. It happened just because Europe used to generate lots of power from gas and when the share of power from renewables and coals went up the share of gas power generation and gas consumption went down.

The gas consupmtion in 2010 for EU-28 was 524 bcm - 186 bcm was indigenous production, 99 bcm from Norway, 50 bcm from Algeria, 37 bcm from Qatar, 25 bcm LNG from other sources and 118 bcm (or 23%) was from Russia. In the media one can come across different numbers like that "Russia privides 33% of the consumption in EU or something like 162 bcm". Russia provides up to 33% only from the import however not from the consumption. EU has over 33% indigenous production. Russian gas cubic meter is also 7.98% less then the european one and when Gazprom talk about export to Europe they always include Turkey, Moldova, Albania and the former Yugoslav republics. After all the export of 162 bcm to Europe in 2013 according to Gazprom corresponds to 123 bcm to UE-28 and it will be much less in 2014.

The drop for 4 years in gas consumption by 115 bcma from 524 means that to replace the russian gas 100% the countries from EU-28 should only restore their production and their import from other countries exactly as they were in 2010.

Is it really difficult for Europe to replace the russian gas import? Probably not.
To reduce the gas consumption Europe can push further the power generation from renewables and coals. It is possible even Germany to reopen some of the closed nuclear reactors or other countries to reopen some coal-fired power stations.

Probably there is no problem to increase the LNG import as well. Europe has capacity to import over 210 bcma LNG. The import in 2010 was 86 bcma and in 2013 it was 45.7 bcma which was only 23% of the capacity. There is no need also anybody to write letters to Obama. LNG can be imported at any moment even now from Qatar, Indonesia, Australia, Algeria, Malaysia, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, Oman, Russia, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Angola, Norway, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, US & Colombia All of them have terminals for liquefaction with capacity at the end of 2013 which was 407bcma and which should reach 545bcma at the end of 2017.

In 2013 EU produced also biogass with energy of 13.4Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent) which can be used everywhere where the natural gas can be used. That amount is equal to 16.56 bcm natural gas and should double at least till 2020.

15 bcm of gas should not be a problem to be replaced and Russia should look probably somewhere else to sell its natural gas. That will not be easy for Russia because over 90% of the russian gas export at the moment is over the russian west border. Natural gas is a weapon actually in the hands of Europe not of Russia.

See also:
  • LNG Liquefaction Terminals
  • LNG Liquefaction Capacity by Country
  • LNG Regasification Terminals in Europe
  • Natural Gas Conversion Calculator