1671641142 origin 1

EU gas consumption fell by 20% before winter as most countries met key voluntary targets

origin 1The landfall facility of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and the transfer station of the OPAL pipeline, the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link, in Lubmin, Germany on July 21, 2022. ©AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Natural gas consumption in the European Union decreased by a fifth in the months leading up to winter compared to the same period in the previous five years, according to Eurostat.

Over the summer, EU nations pledged to voluntarily reducing their natural gas consumption by 15% between August 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 in an effort to fill gas storage before winter and weather the cold season after Russia shuts down the block’s main pipeline.

The target is based on a worst-case scenario calculated by the European Commission in which Russia completely cuts off gas supplies before or during an unusually cold winter.

Most EU countries have been successful, data from Eurostat published Tuesday’s show.

Eighteen countries exceeded the target with consumption in Finland falling by 52.7% in the August-November period compared to the average gas consumption in the same months between 2017 and 2021.

Latvia and Lithuania also made cuts of +40%.

Six EU member states – Portugal, Czechia, Spain, Ireland, Slovakia and Malta – failed to meet the target and the last two actually increased their gas consumption by 2.6% and 7.1% respectively .

origin 1Gas consumption in the EU decreased by 20.1% in the August-November period compared to the average for the same period of the previous five consecutive years. Eurostat

The savings were n doubt helped by a mild autumn.

But governments also establish energy reduction plans, urging people to keep heating at or below 19°C and air conditioning above 20°C: gas is the main source of heating of the EU and is also used for electricity generation to varying degrees.

They also, where possible, switched to alternative fuels and deferred phasing out nuclear power or shutting down coal-fired plants.

To deal with skyrocketing energy bills, the bloc has meanwhile approved several measures including a joint purchasing platform to take advantage of the size of its market and on Monday it greenlighted a cap on gas prices.

The temporary cap, which takes effect in mid-February, is unlikely to ease pressure on EU citizens and businesses this winter, but instead aims to ensure the bloc can get the energy supplies it needs at affordable prices. before the next winter season.