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EU gas consumption to fall sharply – FT — RT Business News

Gas demand in the European Union is expected to fall more than the bloc’s total imports from Russia this year, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing an internal European Commission document. The majority of reductions have been made by the most industrialized countries in the EU.

Gas consumption would experience a drop of 60 billion cubic meters in 2023 compared to the average of the last five years.

The number represents “more than the volumes of gas we still expect to import from Russia in 2023, both by pipeline and [liquefied natural gas]”, reads the document seen by the FT.

This figure is also 8 billion cubic meters more than EU countries saved at the height of the energy crisis in 2022.

The sharp decline in demand is not simply due to “good luck,” EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson reportedly said during a meeting on Wednesday. Instead, she claimed it was the result of a series of emergency laws passed last year aimed at reducing the bloc’s dependence on supplies from Russia.

Meanwhile, energy experts cited the mild winter of 2022 as helping EU members consume less energy, while high prices led energy-intensive industries to cut production.

Last year, member states agreed to voluntarily reduce gas consumption by 15% from August 2022 to March 2023. The EU executive said the target had been exceeded and the deal was extended for another 12 months in March.

According to a report by the European Environmental Bureau, quoted by the FT, only 14 of the 27 EU countries have adopted mandatory measures to reduce energy consumption.

Five of the 14 – Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – are said to have accounted for 60% of the drop in demand, while Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania were the only member states to n have implemented no energy saving regulations. This is partly attributed to the already weak gas demand in these countries.

“The most robust gas saving measures have been implemented in countries that import large amounts of Russian gas such as Italy and Germany,” reads the report seen by the FT.

The EU previously covered around two-fifths of its gas needs through Russian energy imports. According to preliminary EC data, Russian gas imports from the bloc in March were 74% lower than in the same month two years ago.

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