MOSCOW, 19 Sep — PRIME. Europe will not be able to get through the coming winter and all of 2023 without Russian gas without stopping its mass production, according to the study “European Energy Balance in the New Reality” by Yakov and Partners.
“The declared ambition to reduce Europe’s dependence on gas from the Russian Federation in 2022-2023 is impossible without a massive suspension of production,” experts say.
Despite news of storage being filled, Europe has not overcome dependence on Russian gas, they explain. At the same time, in order to meet the demand for blue fuel until the end of 2022, European countries will need to maintain gas supplies from Russia or cut off its consumption by an additional 7-12 billion cubic meters, which is possible only with a complete or partial shutdown of a number of industries.
“Already today, 70% of nitrogen fertilizer production capacities have been stopped in Europe, aluminum production has been reduced by 25%, steel production has been reduced by 5%, and, as the authors of the study expect, this process will most likely continue even in the event of a mild winter,” — say in “Yakov and Partners”.
Europe has done a great job of diversifying its sources of supply, experts say. By September, it was possible to ensure the average filling of UGS facilities by 85% due to an increase in supplies from alternative suppliers and a reduction in gas consumption, primarily in industry. LNG supplies increased by 30% compared to 2021. However, a further increase in the pace of deliveries, alternative to Russian ones, in 2022 is hampered by logistical features, primarily technical restrictions on the acceptance of LNG into the EU due to the lack of connection of many terminals with the pipeline network, they say.
“While maintaining the current reduced gas consumption, European countries have a gas deficit for the 2022/2023 heating season of at least 10 billion cubic meters, even in the event of a mild winter, maintaining record volumes of LNG imports and full consumption of gas from their underground gas storage facilities,” the experts said.
They recalled that the developers of shale deposits in the United States have already stated that their further ability to quickly increase supplies to Europe by winter is limited. There is also the risk of a recovery in Chinese gas demand, a cold winter, or disruptions in the alternative supply chain. “If the risks materialize, the deficit could grow to 20-30 billion cubic meters. All this suggests that European countries will continue to reduce consumption or will be forced to increase purchases from Russia,” Yakov and Partners concluded.