Trends in Greece’s fossil gas consumption & imports – October 2023

In October the highest share of Russian pipeline gas imports was recorded (64.5%) since the start of the energy crisis in 2021. There was also a large increase in total gas consumption compared to October 2022 (+60.9%). However, cumulative consumption in the first 10 months of 2023 decreased (-11.1%). Gas use in industry continues to follow an upward trend with an increase of 70.3% in the ten months of 2023, compared to the same period of 2022.

The month of October

According to the latest available data from DESFA, in October 2023, total domestic gas consumption was 4.31 TWh, up by 1.63 TWh compared to October 2022, when a five-year low was recorded. The increase came cumulatively from all three use sectors. The largest increase was in electricity (+1.07 TWh), followed by industry (+0.49 TWh) and then networks (+0.07 TWh). October was the second consecutive month that saw an increase in gas consumption in electricity compared to the same month last year (+54.2%) and much higher than the increase in September (+16%). It is worth noting that the increase in gas use in industry is accelerating. In fact in October 2023, it was more than three times higher than last year.

Cumulative performance in the ten months

Total gas consumption for the first ten months of 2023 was 42.37 TWh, down by 6.24 TWh (or -12.8%) compared to the five-year average. For the first time in 2023, the decrease was smaller compared to the corresponding period of the previous year (-5.29 TWh or 11.1%).

Compared to the five-year average, a decrease in all three gas uses was observed. The largest percentage decrease occurred in industry (-32%, -1.96 TWh), followed by electricity (-12%, -4 TWh) and then networks (-3.1%, -0.28 TWh). This picture changes when comparing the 10 months of 2023 with 2022, as industry saw a very large increase of 70.3% (+1.72 TWh), while electricity and networks consumption decreased (-16.1% or -5.67TWh, and -13.3% or -1.34 TWh, respectively).

Consumption in 2023

Gas consumption in September 2023 (4.31 TWh) was the second lowest after 2022 (2.68 TWh), compared to the same month in previous years. Although it was decreased compared to the previous three months (June – September), it was increased compared to October 2022 by 60.9%. Thus, it was the third month in 2023 in which consumption increased compared to the same month of the previous year, as this occurred for the first time in April (+20.9%) and then in September (+26.8%).

Regarding the distribution of gas consumption in end-uses, in the 10 months of 2023, the 5.67 TWh decrease in gas use in electricity production reduced also its share in end-uses to 69.6% (from 73.7% in the 10 months of 2022). In contrast, industry saw an increase, both in absolute value (+1.72 TWh) and in its share in total end-uses. In particular, up to October 2023, gas use in industry was 9.9% almost five percentage points higher than in 2022 (5.1%). There was a slight increase in the share of use in networks in the first ten months of 2023 (20.6%), compared to the same period in 2022 (21.2%), although in absolute terms there was a significant decrease (-1.34 TWh).

Imports in 2023

In terms of fossil gas flows from the country’s four gateways, in October 2023, gas imports from Russia though Turkstream pipeline (2.79 TWh) were the highest compared to the other months of 2023, contributing well over half of the total monthly imports (64.5%). More than half of the imports came from Sidirokastro gate in September as well (50.2%), whereas it had previously occurred almost 3 years ago (November 2020, 55.8%). In fact, Russian gas imports far exceeded their October 2022 counterparts which were almost zero (0.01 TWh). In contrast to the Sidirokastro gate, at the Agia Triada and New Mesimvria gates, gas flows appeared reduced compared to October 2022. Specifically, the Agia Triada gate recorded the lowest monthly liquefied natural gas (LNG) flow for 2023 (0.86 TWh). With a share of just 20% of total fossil gas flows imported in Greece in October, there was a 66.3% decrease compared to the same month last year. The smallest monthly decrease in imports occurred in fossil gas from TAP via Nea Mesimvria (-29.3%) which contributed just 0.47 TWh, occupying an 11% share of the country’s total imports. The share covered by flows from Turkey through the Kipoi gateway was much lower (4.5% or 0.2 TWh), marking the lowest decrease (-23.4%) compared to October 2022.

Cumulatively for the first ten months of 2023, total imports from the four gateways into the country were 45.4 TWh. LNG imports through the Agia Triada ranked first among the supply sources with 26 TWh – down 14.5% compared to the same period in 2022 – and a 57.4% share. It is noted that an important quantity from LNG came from Russia. According to Eurostat data until September 2023, Greece in total imported 6.28 TWh of Russian LNG, as there were imports for 6 out of 9 months of 2023 while in the corresponding period of 2022, Russian LNG imports were zero. There was also an increase in imports of Russian gas by pipeline (Sidirokastro gate) in the 10 months of 2023 compared to 2022 (+38.2%). In fact, since August 2023 it is in second place with 11.2 TWh for the 10 months of 2023 and a share of 24.6%. Thus, adding the gas imports from the Turkstream pipeline and the Russian LNG from Agia Triada gateway, Russian gas is responsible for at least 17.5 TWh or 27.9%[1] of the total imports of the country for the ten-month period of 2023.

In third place are imports of Azerbaijani gas from TAP with a share of 13.9% (6.31 TWh), down 43.9%. Finally, the lowest contribution continued to be made by gas imported from Turkey via the Kipy gateway, with only 1.87 TWh and a share of 4.1% in the first ten months of 2023, down 1.3% compared to the first ten months of 2022.

Comparison with the European Union

Based on the latest available Eurostat [2] data on monthly gas consumption in the EU-27 Member States (September 2023), in the first nine months of 2023 Greece managed to reduce its consumption by 15.6% compared to the same period in 2022, ranking 5th in the EU-27 – 10 places higher than the average (-10.4%). Greece’s position has remained stable over the last 3 months, while it was better previously as in the first quarter of 2023 it was in 1st place while in the 5 months it dropped to 4th place, before ending in the 5th place in the nine-month period. It is also noteworthy that in the first nine months of 2023, 3 countries showed an increase in gas use compared to the same period in 2022 (Poland, Finland and Malta). The best performance regarding gas consumption was recorded by Estonia (-21.7%), followed by Slovakia (-21.1%) and Portugal (-20.9%).

In terms of the five-year average, the decrease achieved by Greece was only slightly worse than in the EU-27. More specifically, with -15.2% Greece was in 17th place, one place lower than the EU-27 average (-15.5%).  The country with the largest decrease was Latvia (-38%), followed by Finland (-34.4%) and Lithuania (-34%).

You can read the analyses of other months here.

[1] These figures do not include possible imports of Russian LNG in October, as the corresponding data were not available from Eurostat.

[2] 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.