A 18.9% decrease in fossil gas consumption in the first eight months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022 and a 15.6% decrease compared to the 5-year average. However, a partial increase of Russian gas imports was observed in the first seven months of 2023, as Greece recorded a 21.1% increase compared to 2022, due to the increase in LNG (+4.2 TWh).
The month of August
According to the latest available data from DESFA, in August 2023, total domestic gas consumption was 4.61 TWh, down from July, reversing the upward trend that had started in May. In addition, consumption was down both compared to August 2022 (-0.73 TWh) and to the five-year average (-0.52 TWh). The overall decrease compared to August of the previous year was entirely due to electricity production (-1.07 TWh), as the two other uses saw an increase, which was very slight in networks (+0.02 TWh) and greater in industry (+0.32 TWh). However, the consumption in industry was lower in August compared to the other months of 2023.
Cumulative performance in the eight months
Overall, for the first eight months of 2023, gas consumption was 33.63 TWh. Compared to the same period of the five-year average, consumption was reduced by -6.22 TWh (or 15.6%) and even more when compared to the first eight months of 2022 (-7.86 TWh or 18.9%). It was the second lowest consumption, compared to the corresponding period of the previous five years, following the first eight months of 2018 (32.09 TWh).
It is worth noting that all gas uses were reduced compared to the five-year average. The largest decrease in absolute terms was in electricity sector (-3.79 TWh), followed by industry (-2.13 TWh), which showed the largest percentage decrease of 42.2%, and then distribution networks (-0.3 TWh). This picture changes when comparing the first eight months of 2023 with the same period of 2022, as industry recorded an increase of almost 40% (+0.83 TWh), while in electricity production and networks the consumption decreased (-7.2 TWh and -1.48 TWh respectively).
Consumption in 2023
Ιn August 2023, gas consumption (4.61 TWh) was the second lowest since 2018, compared to the consumption in the same month in previous years. It appeared lower than August 2022 by 13.7%, with a rate of decrease greater than that of the two previous months of 2023 . This was the 4th consecutive month of 2023, that monthly consumption was lower than the same month of the previous year.
Regarding the distribution of gas consumption in end-uses, in the first eight months of 2023, the reduction of gas use in electricity production led to the reduction of its share in end-uses to 68.6% (from 73% in the first eight months of 2022). In contrast, industry saw an increase in the share of gas, as its use up to August 2023 was 8.6%, more than three percentage points higher than in 2022 (5%). The increase in the share of use in distribution networks (+0.75%) was much smaller in the first eight months of 2023 (22.8%), compared to the same period in 2022 (22.05%).
Imports in 2023
In terms of fossil gas flows from Greece’s four gateways, in July 2023, gas imports from Russia covering domestic consumption appear higher (+0.82 TWh) compared to the same month in 2022 , when the lowest imports of Russian gas for the month of August in the last 5 years (0.76 TWh) were recorded; however, in August 2023 imports from Russia (1.59 TWh) with a share of 34.3%, were lower than July 2023 (-0.4 TWh) and ranked third lowest in terms of Russian gas imports compared to the same month in the last six years. In contrast to the Sidirokastro gate, at the other three gates gas flows appeared reduced compared to August 2022. The Agia Triada gateway, with a liquefied fossil gas (LNG) flow of 2.41 TWh in August, continued to be the main source of entry with a 52.1% share of total fossil gas flows imported by Greece, although reduced compared to the same month last year (-35.7%). The greatest decrease compared to August 2022 was recorded in imports from TAP via Nea Mesimvria (-43.9%), which contributed 0.4 TWh and a share of 8.6% of the country’s total imports. The share covered by flows from Turkey via Kipoi was much lower (5% ή 0.23 TWh), and the imports were decreased by 24.4% compared to August 2022.
Cumulatively for the first eight months of 2023, total imports from the four entry gateways into the country were 36.6 TWh. LNG imports through Agia Triada ranked first among the supply sources with 23.6 TWh – with an increase of 4.7% compared to the same period in 2022 – and a 64.5% share. In contrast, there was a large decrease by 42.9% in Azerbaijani gas imports via TAP, which ranked in third place with 5.42 TWh and a share of 14.8%. Russian gas climbed to the second place in terms of gas import share (16.8%), although Russian gas imports covering domestic consumption in the first eight months of 2023 decreased by 23.2% compared to the same period in 2022. Finally, the lowest contribution continues to be made by gas imported from Turkey through the gateway of Kipoi, with only 1.45 TWh and a share of 3.9% in the first eight months of 2023, up 1.5% compared to the first eight months of 2022.
Comparison with the European Union
Based on the latest available Eurostat data on monthly gas consumption in the EU-27 Member States the first seven months of 2023, Greece managed to reduce its consumption by 19.7% compared to the same period in 2022. Greece ranked 5th in the EU-27, 11 places higher than the average (-11.2%) . Sweden was first, 7.5 percentage points ahead of Greece, with -27.3%.
The decrease achieved by Greece was also larger than the EU-27 average compared to the 5-year average. More specifically, with -16.8% Greece was in 13th place, slightly higher than the EU-27 average (-15.4%) which ranked 17th. The country with the largest decrease was Lithuania (-38.3%), followed by Finland (-37.9%) and Latvia by a slight difference (-37.8%).
Using the latest available Eurostat data for both monthly gas imports via gas pipelines and LNG (up to July 2023), it is observed that Greece has come out of the downward trend of Russian gas imports, showing an increase in recent months, contrary to the prevailing trend in the EU-27, as reflected by its average.
Cumulatively, in the first seven months of 2023, Greece for the first time recorded an increase in Russian gas imports (via pipelines and LNG) of 21.1% compared to the first seven months of 2022. In the EU-27, the decrease continued and even reached -50.1%. This increase in Greece was caused by the rise in LNG imports in 2023 (+4.2 TWh in the seven months) compared to 2022, when LNG imports were zero. In contrast, Russian gas imports via pipelines decreased in the first seven months of 2023 by 37.1% compared to 2022. This downward trend prevailed in the first five months of 2023, while the June-July two-month period saw an increase. In the EU-27 the trend is different, as all months of 2023 saw a decrease in Russian pipeline gas imports compared to 2022, with an overall decrease in the first seven months of 2023 of 62.5%, which offset the slight increase in LNG of 3.7%.
You can read the analyses of other months here.
 Gas consumption in June and July 2023 compared to 2022 decreased by 7.7% and 9.2% respectively.
 Overall imports from Russia were higher in July 2023, but all of these were exported to Bulgaria and as a result only 1.59 TWh were used for domestic consumption.
 Some of the Eurostat data, especially for the last few months, are provisional and will be finalized in the coming months. Cyprus has not been included in the comparison as it has zero gas consumption.