Trends in fossil gas consumption & imports – November 2023

Fossil gas consumption in November (3.67 TWh) was the second lowest for 2023, while the cumulative consumption for the 11 months of 2023 was 33.66 TWh. In April-November 2023, Greece reduced its consumption by 10.4% compared to the 2017-2021 five-year average for the same eight-month period; almost 5 percentage points short of the EU’s voluntary 15% reduction target. Russian gas imports from Russia via the Turkstream pipeline (1.64 TWh), decreased significantly compared to the previous two months (September 2.24 TWh and October 2.79 TWh).

The month of November

According to the latest available data from DESFA, in November 2023, total domestic gas consumption was 3.67 TWh, down 4.5% (-0.17 TWh compared to November 2022). It was the lowest of the six-year period 2018-2023 for the month of November. The decrease came exclusively from electricity use (-0.57 TWh), as there was an increase in the other two uses. In industry the increase was higher (+0.28 TWh) than in distribution networks (+0.12 TWh), and in fact gas use in industry in November 2023 was 2.5 times more than in the same month of 2022.

Cumulative performance in the eleven months

Total gas consumption for the first eleven months of 2023 was 46.05 TWh, down by 7.26 TWh (or -13.6%) compared to the five-year average, The decrease was smaller compared to the corresponding period of the previous year (-5.47 TWh or -10.6%).

Compared to the five-year average 2018-2022, a decrease in all three gas uses was observed. The largest percentage decrease occurred in industry (-30.4% or -2.02 TWh), followed by electricity (-13.3% or -4.87 TWh) and then distribution networks (-3.6% or -0.36 TWh). This picture changes when comparing the 10 months of 2023 with 2022, as industry saw a very large increase of 76.1% (+2 TWh), while consumption decreased in electricity (-16.4% or -6.23TWh) and distribution networks (-11.3% or -1.22 TWh).

Consumption in 2023

Gas consumption in November 2023 (3.67 TWh) was the second lowest monthly gas consumption in 2023 after May (3.19 TWh).

Despite the overall decrease in consumption compared to November 2022 (-4.5%), it is worth noting that this percentage decrease is the smallest for 2023, compared to the percentage changes of the other months of the year compared to the previous year. There is certainly progress in comparison with September and October of 2023, when there was an increase in gas use compared to the corresponding months of 2022 (+26.8% and +60.9% respectively).

Regarding the distribution of gas consumption in end-uses, in the 11 months of 2023, the 6.23 TWh decrease in gas use in electricity production reduced also its share in end-uses to 69% (from 73.8% in the 11 months of 2022). In contrast, industry saw an increase, both in absolute value (+2 TWh) and in its share in total end-uses. In particular, up to November 2023, gas use in industry was 10% almost five percentage points higher than in 2022 (5.1%). There was a slight increase in the share of use in distribution networks in the first 11 months of 2023 (21%), compared to the same period in 2022 (21.1%), although in absolute terms there was a significant decrease (-1.23 TWh).

The voluntary European target of -15%

In March 2023, the European Union decided that member states should voluntarily continue their efforts to reduce gas consumption by 15% for the period April 2023-March 2024, compared to the reference period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022. Therefore, considering Greece’s performance so far, it appears that for the eight-month period April-November 2023, the country failed to reach the European reduction target. Specifically, total consumption for the eight months was 33.66 TWh, increased by 1.72 TWh compared to the target (31.94 TWh). The consumption corresponds to a reduction of 10.4% compared to the 5-year average (2017-2021) almost 5 percentage points below the 15% target.

Imports in 2023

In terms of fossil gas flows from the country’s four gateways, in November 2023, gas imports from Russia though Turkstream pipeline (1.64 TWh) decreased a lot compared to the two previous months (September 2.24 TWh and October 2.79 TWh). As a result, the share of imports from Turkstream (43.2%) also decreased, in contrast to the increased share of the two previous months (50.2% in September and 64.5% in October). However, Russian gas imports via the pipeline far exceeded those of November 2022 (+1.64 TWh). In contrast to the Sidirokastro gate, at the Agia Triada and New Mesimvria gates, gas flows appeared reduced compared to November 2022. Specifically, at the Agia Triada gate a decrease of 62.1% was recorded, while the share in total imports was 36.9%.

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. Much lower was the share covered by flows from Turkey via the Kipoi gateway (5.6% or 0.2 TWh), down 32.6% compared to November 2022.

Cumulatively for the first eleven months of 2023, total imports from the four gateways into the country were 49.17 TWh. LNG imports through the Agia Triada ranked first among the supply sources with 27.4 TWh (and a 55.8% share), down 19.7% compared to the same period in 2022. It is noted that an important quantity from LNG came from Russia. According to Eurostat data until October 2023, Greece in total imported 7.34 TWh of Russian LNG, as there were imports for 7 out of 10 months of 2023 while in the corresponding period of 2022, Russian LNG imports were just 1.03 TWh.

There was also an increase in imports of Russian gas by pipeline (Sidirokastro gate) in the 11 months of 2023 compared to 2022 (+57.8%), which since August 2023 is in second place with 12.8 TWh for the 11 months of 2023 and a share of 26.1%. Thus, adding the gas imports from the Turkstream pipeline and the Russian LNG from Agia Triada gateway, Russian gas was responsible for at least 20.15 TWh or 41%[1] of the total imports of the country for the eleven-month period of 2023.

In third place were imports of Azerbaijani gas from TAP pipeline with a share of 13.9% (6.85 TWh), down 42.9%. Finally, the lowest contribution came from Turkey via the Kipoi gateway, with only 2.08 TWh and a share of 4.2% in the first eleven months of 2023, down 5.8% compared to the first eleven months of 2022.

You can read the analyses of the previous months since the start of the EU reduction measures in August 2022 here.

[1] These figures do not include possible imports of Russian LNG in November, as the corresponding data (until 8/12/2023) were not available from Eurostat.