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

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 November 2022):

The month of November

In November 2022, the 4th month of the eight-month period where the country has to reduce gas use in line with its European obligations, the total domestic consumption was 3.85 TWh, the lowest for the month of November in the last 6 years. The overall decrease of 1.74 TWh in November compared to the same month in 2021 was primarily driven by a large reduction in fossil gas use in power generation of 1.26 TWh and secondarily in distribution networks (-0.42 TWh) and industry (-0.05 TWh).

Cumulative performance and the European target of -15%

Due to the continued decrease in gas consumption in November, cumulatively, during the first half of the eight-month reduction period set by the EU, Greece, with a total consumption of 15.37 TWh overachieved the EU reduction target of -15%, not only compared to the corresponding period last year but also compared to the five-year average (16.26 TWh).

More specifically, the cumulative consumption for the quarter was 3.77 TWh lower than the five-year average for the same quarter and resulted mainly from the drastic reduction of gas use in industry (-1.79 TWh) and, almost equally, in electricity generation (-1.62 TWh).

In terms of percentage changes, in the four month period of August-November 2022, Greece reduced its total gas consumption by 33 % compared to the same period in 2021, far exceeding the reduction target corresponding to the exemption Greece obtained in the relevant European agreement in July. Most importantly, for the second consecutive month since the start of the reduction period in August, Greece is on track to reach the -15% target, with a cumulative percentage reduction of 19.7% compared to the average of the corresponding quarters of the last five years (2017-2021).

Furthermore, during the first half of the eight-month reduction period, all end uses show significant reductions compared to the same period in 2021. Industry leads the way (-63.9%), followed by electricity generation (-30.1%) and distribution networks (grids) (-29.6%). The trends in end-uses are similar compared to the five-year average, with industry, electricity generation and distribution networks exhibiting decreases of 71.4%, 11.4% and 14.7%, respectively.

Consumption in 2022

Cumulatively for the first 11 months of 2022, fossil gas consumption was 18.8% lower than in the same period in 2021. November saw the fourth largest decrease of the year compared to the same month in 2021 (-31.2%) behind October (-50.1%), April (-46.1%) and September (-38.3%). In addition, November was among the nine months of the year do far and the eighth consecutive month where a decrease was observed compared to the same month in 2021 (January, April-November).

In terms of the distribution of gas consumption among end-uses in the first 11 months of the year, electricity generation had by far the lion’s share with 73.8%. In second place were distribution networks (grids) with a 21.1% share and lastly industry with a share of just 5.1%. This is a significant redistribution compared to the same 11-month period of 2021 where the shares of power generation, distribution networks and industry were 69%, 17.5% and 13.5%, respectively. This redistribution as mainly due to the very significant reduction in the use of fossil gas by industry.

Τhe displacement of gas from renewables for power generation (+18.4% increase in renewables during the first ten months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021) in conjunction with the very large share of electricity in fossil gas consumption as well as the drastic reduction of its use in industry are the main reasons for the significant decrease in total gas consumption in 2022.

Imports in 2022

In terms of fossil gas flows from the country’s 4 entry points, in November 2022, LNG arriving at Agia Triada almost doubled (+92.8%) compared to the same month in 2021 and was by far the main source of gas for the country with 3.7 TWh and a 77% share of the total gas flows imported by Greece in November. In contrast, there was almost zero (-98.3%) imports of Russian gas from Sidirokastro covering domestic consumption which amounted to just 0.039 TWh, the second lowest monthly quantity for 2022[1], after that of October. Imports from TAP via Nea Mesimbria (-41.4%) also decreased significantly, contributing only 0.75 TWh, while imports from Turkey via Kipoi increased by 165%, still remaining at low levels however (0.31 TWh).

Therefore, cumulatively for the first 11 months of 2022, Russian gas imports covering domestic consumption decreased by 68.4% compared to the same period in 2021. Thus, with 8.12 TWh and a share of 14.4% among the 4 sources of imports, Russian gas used for domestic consumption fell to third place from the first place in which it stood in the first eleven months of 2021 with a share of 40.4%. In contrast, LNG imports via the Agia Triada entry gate moved into first place reaching 34.14 TWh and a share of 60.5%, an increase of 56.5% compared to 2021. Gas imports from Azerbaijan via TAP decreased by 2.9% and contributed 12 TWh (21.3% share), surpassing Russian gas imports for the first eleven months of 2022. Finally, there was a large 41.7% decrease in the cumulative Turkish gas imports from the fourth smallest source, Kipoi, which amounted to just 2.2 TWh (3.9% share).

[1] Overall the gas imports from Russia were higher, but a large share was exported, mainly to Bulgaria. As a result only 0.039 TWh of Russian fossil gas were used to cover part of Greece’s demand in November.

Read the analysis for other months here.