Saturday, November 26

Russian gas now only accounts for 8% of Europe’s total consumption

The four leaks recorded in the gas pipelines North Stream 1 and 2 are the last episode in the dwindling supply of gas in Russian a Europe and maybe the last chapter of a energy dependency of Russia forged over decades. What until a few months ago was the main source of natural gas for the European Union It has been relegated to the penultimate position in the ranking of providers of the community bloc. So It is pointed out by the European Transmission Network of Gas Operating Systems (ENTSOG).

According to ENTSOG monitoring, which centralizes data on the arrival of gas through gas pipelines, by ships and also on the level of storage in EU countries, Russian gas now only accounts for 8% of the total of total consumption in Europe. Before the start of the invasion of Ukraine, it was close to half. Almost a third of the gas imported by the EU from Russia went to the German market, which illustrates the dependence on Russian fossil imports developed by the leading European economy and which began when the Soviet Union still existed.

Especially dependent on Russian gas are the countries that do not have an infrastructure of plants to transform the Liquid gasas is the case with Germany, Austria either Hungary. Berlin is rapidly building several degassing plants in the North Sea, which should start operating next year.

four interconnections

There are four main gas interconnections linking Russia with Central Europe: the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, which cross the Baltic Sea – the first stopped supplying gas at the end of last August, officially due to a technical problem, and the second it never came into operation after not receiving the necessary certification from the German authorities–; the pipeline Jamal, which connects Russia and Germany through Belarus and Poland, has not supplied gas since last May; for him Transit, which runs through Ukraine, continues to flow gas; and the turkstreamwhich connects Russia with Italy via the Black Sea, Turkey and Greece, also continues to operate.

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The German economy minister and deputy chancellor, the green Robert Habeck, recently said that the amount of Russian gas currently reaching Europe can be considered “homeopathic doses.” Germany has been searching for months alternatives to an energy source whose days are numbered. The production processes of German industry are highly dependent on gas consumption and, although currently the reserves of the largest European economy already exceed 90%, Berlin fears having to introduce rationing measures when consumption begins to increase in homes and businesses with the arrival of the colder months.

Currently, and according to ENTSOG figures, the liquefied gas that arrives in ships to Europe is already the main source of supply for consumption in the Old Continent. This liquefied gas, coming in part from USAdefinitely surpassed Russian gas last April.

The gas coming from Norway It is also presented as a complementary alternative to liquefied gas and has already become the second largest source of supply in the European gas market. The Governments of Poland, Denmark and Norway inaugurated this week the Baltic Pipe, gas pipeline that connects the Nordic country with Eastern Europe. It is a diversion of about 900 kilometers in length from Europipe II, which previously connected Norway with northern Germany. The Norwegian supply capacity is, however, considerably more limited than that of Russia.

The MidCat Option

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In this context, Algeria, the world’s tenth largest gas producer, is positioned as another serious alternative. Italy – which, like Spain, is connected by gas pipeline with the North African country – has already agreed with Algiers to purchase 25,000 million cubic meters of gas by the end of the year. The growth capacity of Algerian gas is enormous: it is currently the third largest source of gas supply to Europe, but far behind the liquefied gas and natural gas from Norway.

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The great problem of the Algerian gas supplied to Spain and Italy is the lack of gas connections between the South and Northern Europe and Central Europe. The government of Pedro Sanchezwith the express support of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, insists on the need to promote the project of the MidCat and is committed to co-financing from the European Commission. The government of Francethe country that should go through this new gas pipeline, continues to be reluctant, however, to give the green light to the project.

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