Trends in fossil gas consumption & imports – January 2024

In January 2024, fossil gas consumption was the highest since March 2022, exceeding 6 TWh for the first time in 21 consecutive months. Industrial gas use is on a constant rise, recording the second highest consumption (0.8 TWh) in six years for the month of January since January 2021. The other two uses, namely electricity and distribution networks, also saw an increase. For the 5th consecutive month, exports from the Sidirokastro gate were zero.

The month of January

According to the latest available data from DESFA, in January 2024, total domestic gas consumption (6.04 TWh) was the second lowest consumption of the six-year period 2019-2024 for the month of January, after last year’s monthly consumption of 4.08 TWh. Compared to January 2023, this is an increase of 47.9% (+1.96 TWh) which came from all three uses. The largest increase in absolute terms came from electricity (+0.95 TWh), while the smallest was in distribution networks (+0.44 TWh). In industry the increase was +0.56 TWh, while gas use in the sector was the second highest in six years since January 2021 (1.03 TWh), and three times higher than in January 2023.

Percentage changes in end-uses

In terms of percentage changes between January 2024 and 2023, the largest increase was recorded in industry (+237%), followed by electricity (+42.3%) and then distribution networks (+27.7%).

Compared to the five-year average for 2019-2023, gas consumption decreased by just 0.22 TWh (or -3.5%), with the decrease coming from electricity and distribution networks. The largest percentage decrease occurred in electricity (-11.5% or -0.42 TWh), followed by networks (-1.2% or -0.03 TWh). In contrast, industry saw an increase of 38.7% (+0.2 TWh).

Consumption in 2024

In January 2024 consumption (6.04 TWh) exceeded that of all months in 2023. In fact, it was the highest monthly consumption since March 2022, as after 21 consecutive months, it exceeded 6 TWh for the first time.

Breaking down gas consumption by end-use in January, electricity had the largest share with 3.2 TWh (or 53%), down by 2 percentage points compared to January 2023 (55.1%). The share in distribution networks also decreased, falling from 39.1% (or 1.6 TWh) in 2023 to 33.8% (or 2.04 TWh). In contrast, industry saw an increase in its share of more than seven percentage points from 5.8% (0.24 TWh) in 2023 to 13.2% (0.8 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 ten-month period April 203 – January 2024, the country failed to reach the European reduction target. Specifically, total consumption for the ten months was 44.57 TWh, increased by 2.16 TWh compared to the target (42.4 TWh). Consumption corresponds to a reduction of 10.7% compared to the average for the reference period (49.89 TWh), more than four percentage points below the 15% target

Imports in 2024

Regarding the natural gas flows from the four entry gates of the country in January 2024, gas imports from Russia through the Turkstream pipeline from the Sidirokastro gate (1.95 TWh) appeared slightly decreased compared to the previous month, that is December 2023 (-0.05 TWh), but increased compared to January 2023, when imports were zero for the first time. The share of Russian gas via pipeline was 32.3%. In contrast to the Sidirokastro gate, at the gates of Agia Triada and Nea Mesimvria, gas flows showed a decrease compared to January 2023. Specifically, a decrease of 20.1% was recorded at the Agia Triada gate (3.13 TWh), while its share in total imports was 51.7%, maintaining its leading position at the beginning of 2024. A smaller monthly decrease in imports was recorded in gas from TAP via Nea Mesimvria (-11.7%), which contributed 0.96 TWh, occupying a share of 15.9% in the country’s total imports. The share of gas from Turkey via the Kipoi gate was zero, as no flows were recorded.

Finally, there were zero gas exports through the Sidirokastro gate for the 5th consecutive month (since September 2023).

Comparison with the European Union

Based on the latest available Eurostat data[1] on monthly gas consumption in the EU-27 Member States (December 2023), Greece managed to reduce its consumption by 10% in 2023 compared to 2022, ranking 7th among the EU-27 countries, 5 places higher than the EU-27 average (-7.4%). However, it seems that Greece’s position in the EU-27 ranking has deteriorated over the months, as it occupies ever lower position. Thus, while in the first quarter of 2023 it was in 1st place in terms of consumption decrease among the EU-27 Member States, in the half of the year it fell to 5th place, and at the end of the year in the 7th place.

In 1st place was Portugal, and in 2nd place Slovakia, which achieved a decrease in total gas consumption of 21.6% and 18.5% respectively in 2023 compared to 2022. It is also noteworthy that 4 countries (Finland, Malta, Poland and Croatia) increased their gas use compared to the same period in 2022.

In terms of the five-year average, the reduction achieved by Greece was smaller than in the EU-27. More specifically, with -14.7% Greece ranked 18th, 2 places lower than the EU-27 average (-15.6%) which ranked 16th. The country with the largest decrease was Latvia (-33.2%), followed by Sweden (-30.3%) and Finland (-28.7%).

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

[1] 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.