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EU gas consumption decreased by 17.7%

20.04.23 22:00
The EU consumption of natural gas has dropped by 17.7% in the period August 2022-March 2023, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-March) between 2017 and 2022. The Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 on coordinated demand-reduction measures for gas, part of the REPowerEU plan to end EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels, set a reduction target of 15% for the period August 2022-March 2023 as compared to the average of the same period of the five previous consecutive years.

Data show that the majority of EU countries reached the -15% target, with the exception of Ireland (-0.2%), Slovakia (-1.0%), Spain (-10.8%), Poland (-12.5%), Slovenia (-13.8%) and Belgium (-14.5%), which recorded smaller decreases, and Malta (smallest gas consumer among all EU members using gas), which actually saw a 12.7% increase between August 2022 and March 2023. Consumption fell the most in Finland (-55.7%), Lithuania (-40.5%) and Sweden (-37.2%) and in other EU countries, consumption dropped beyond the 15% target, in some by a large margin (above 20%), the statistical office of the European Union, EuroStat reports.

Looking at monthly data from January 2022 to March 2023, consumption has been consistently below the 2017-2022 average of the respective months of those years. Between January and July 2022, natural gas consumption in the EU varied between 1 938 petajoules (PJ) in January and 785 PJ in July, indicating a monthly overall decrease, even before the target of 15% gas reduction was set up by the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369. However, the biggest decreases were registered in the second part of 2022 starting in August, with a 14.0% reduction in consumption, followed by -14.3% in September, -24.4% in October, -25.0% in November, and -12.3% in December.

2023 started with further decreases of 19.0% in January (1 593 PJ) and 14.7% in February (1 435 PJ). Natural gas consumption in March 2023 reached 1 318 PJ, below the 1 589 PJ average registered between 2017-2022, with a 17.1% drop.

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