Trends in Greece’s fossil gas consumption & imports – October 2022

Greece at -19% in gas consumption during the August-October quarter compared to the five-year average, exceeding by 4 percentage points the -15% target set by the EU for the period August 2022-March 2023.

In force: European obligation to reduce fossil gas consumption during the period August 2022-March 2023 by 15% compared to the average of the same period of the previous five years or 2021, if the consumption had increased by more than 8% that year, a derogation for which Greece is eligible.

More specifically, according to the latest available data of DESFA (until October 2022):

The month of October

In October 2022, the 3rd  month of the eight-month period where the country has to reduce gas consumption in line with its European obligations, the total domestic consumption was 2.68 TWh, the lowest monthly consumption in 2022 as well as compared to the October of the last five years. The overall decrease of 2.69 TWh in October compared to the same month in 2021 was primarily due to a large reduction in fossil gas use for electricity generation (2.26 TWh) and secondarily in the grid (-0.33 TWh) and industry (-0.1 TWh).

Cumulative performance and the EU target of -15%

Due to the “dive” in consumption in October, cumulatively during the August-October quarter of the eight-month reduction period, Greece, with a total consumption of 11.52 TWh, achieved and exceeded the EU reduction target of -15% not only compared to the corresponding period last year but also compared to the five-year average (12.09 TWh).

In terms of percentage changes, the country in the August-October 2022 quarter reduced its total fossil gas consumption by 33.6% compared to the same period in 2021, far exceeding the reduction target resulting from the derogation Greece received in the relevant EU decision. Most importantly, for the first time since the start of the reduction period in August, Greece is on track to meet the -15% target, with a cumulative percentage reduction of 19% compared to the average of the corresponding quarters of the last five years (2017-2021).

Furthermore, during the first quarter of the reduction period, all end uses show significant reductions compared to the same period in 2021. Industry leads the way (-69.4%), followed by power generation (-30%) and the grid (-16%). For the first time since the beginning of the reduction period in August, the trends in end-uses compared to last year are similar with respect to the five-year average, where consumption in industry, power generation and grids dropped by 71.7%, 11.2% and 8.5%, respectively.

Consumption in 2022

Cumulatively for the first 10 months of 2022, fossil gas consumption was 17.6% lower than during the same period in 2021. October was the month with the largest decrease compared to the same month in 2021 (-50.1%). October is also among the eight months of the 2022, and the seventh consecutive month where a decrease was observed compared to 2021 (January, April-October).

Imports in 2022

In terms of fossil gas flows from the country’s four entry points, in October 2022, liquefied natural gas (LNG) arriving in Agia Triada more than doubled (+121.6%) compared to the same month in 2021, and was, by far, the main source of gas for the country with almost 2.6 TWh and a 69.2% share of the total fossil gas flows imported by Greece. In contrast, there was almost zero (-99.5%) imports of Russian gas from Sidirokastro covering domestic consumption which amounted to just 0.012 TWh, by far the lowest monthly quantity for 2022[1]. Large decreases were recorded in both imports from TAP via New Mesimvria (-46.1%) which did not exceed 0.67 TWh, while imports from Turkey via Kipoi were limited to 0.26 TWh (-56.5%).

Therefore, cumulatively for the first 10 months of 2022, Russian gas imports used to cover domestic consumption decreased by 65.6% compared to the same period in 2021. Thus, with 8.08 TWh and a share of 15.6% among the four sources of gas imports, Russian gas used for domestic consumption fell to third place from the first place in which it stood in the first ten months of 2021. In contrast, LNG imports via the Agia Triada moved into first place reaching 30.4 TWh and a share of 58.9%, an increase of 53% compared to 2021. Gas imports from Azebaijan via TAP also showed a marginal increase of 1.5%, reaching almost 11.3 TWh (21.8% share), surpassing Russian gas imports for the first ten months of 2022. Finally, there was a large 48.3% decrease in cumulative Turkish gas imports from the fourth and smallest source of gas imports, Kipoi, which amounted to just 1.9 TWh (3.7% share).

Comparison with the EU

Based on the latest available Eurostat data on monthly gas consumption in the EU-27 Member States from January until September 2022, Greece reduced its consumption by 14.2% compared to the same period in 2021 and moved up two places in the relevant ranking compared to the previous month, to be in 13th place, 4 places higher than the EU-27 average (-9.8%). However, with respect to the 5-year average, Greece has the 4th worst performance in the EU (behind Slovakia, Malta and Spain) as its cumulative consumption was up by 3.2%, mainly due to the jump in gas use in 2019-2021.

Greece was less dependent on Russian gas for the first nine months of 2022 compared to the EU average. Each month of 2022 Greece managed to reduce the imports of Russian gas used to cover domestic consumption compared to the same month in 2021, much more than the European average. Thus, cumulatively until September, Greece reduced Russian gas imports by 61.7% compared to the same period in 2021.

[1] Overall the gas imports from Russia were higher, but a large share was exported, mainly to Bulgaria. As a result only 0.012 TWh of Russian fossil gas were used to cover part of Greece’s demand in October.

Read the analysis for other months here.