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European Gas Crisis

Main drivers of decrease of Russian gas imports in the EU in 2019 vs. 2022

* estimation

Sources: Enerdata, Eurostat, Cedigaz
How did European consumers and suppliers adapt to the new geopolitical situation and its impacts on Russian natural gas supply in 2022?

In 2022, the EU managed to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas imports by more than 40% compared to 20191. This result has been achieved mainly through reducing final consumption of natural gas as well as significant supply diversification.

Natural gas consumption was cut across all end-use sectors. When looking specifically at the drivers behind this reduction, we see that both energy efficiency and fuel switching played a significant role in industry, while activity as a whole has not decreased since 2019 (though it was certainly the case for some branches).

1 2019 was considered as the reference year in this study to compare with 2022 levels of supply and consumptions, under the assumption that 2021 still showed significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and thus was not an ideal point of comparison.

Breaking down the decrease in EU natural gas consumption in manufacturing industry between 2019 and 2022

Sources: Enerdata, UNIDO
In the buildings sector, while mild winter temperatures have reduced the need for heating, this is not strongly reflected in our results since 2019 was already relatively mild in that regard. Fuel switching away from natural gas, with the emergence of heat pumps among others, as well as behavioural changes leading to a reduction in demand akin to sufficiency (e.g. reduction of room temperatures), played the biggest parts in reducing natural gas consumption.

Breaking down the decrease in EU natural gas consumption in the buildings sector between 2019 and 2022

Sources: Enerdata
In the power sector, natural gas consumption has not decreased significantly despite prices affecting the competitiveness of natural gas fired power plants and thus favouring substitutions towards other types of power plants. However, other factors have also mitigated that effect, including the issues of availability of nuclear power plants in France, as well as natural gas price caps put in place in certain countries, thus reducing the burden on power producers and limiting substitutions.
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