We all witnessed with concern the events which took place earlier this year relating to the halting of gas supplies by Russia into the European Union.
Can the Commission make a statement as to the progress it is making both in terms of reducing the dependency by the EU on gas supplies from Russia, and can it also state what new alternative energy proposals are being pursued by the Commission at this time?
Currently, about 25% of natural gas consumption in EU-25 is imported from Russia, the rest being domestic production and imports from other sources, mainly Norway and Algeria.
In a business-as-usual scenario(1)
, natural gas consumption in the EU is projected to grow substantially. As domestic production is expected to decrease, net imports and import dependence will increase. Net imports are projected to rise from roughly 250 millions tonnes of oil equipment (MTOE) today to over 500 MTOE in 2030. Import dependence is projected to rise from today’s 50% or so to approximatly 80% in 2030.
In this scenario, an increase in volume terms in imports from Russia could be expected. However, the potential of other sources of natural gas and the growing development of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) alongside pipeline gas, will act as a limit on the relative importance of Russia in Europe’s gas imports.
A broad range of actions, both domestic and external, of the EU and Member States would have an impact on the EU dependence on gas imports from Russia. Others would strengthen the framework for the relations between the EU and Russia in the energy field. The Commission has outlined these in its recent Green Paper on a European Strategy for Secure, Competitive and Sustainable Energy for Europe, inter alia.