Trends in fossil gas consumption & imports

According to the IEA, the unprecedented energy crisis we are experiencing is a fossil fuel crisis. It is directly linked to Europe’s dependence on fossil gas, whose soaring prices have been further boosted by the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In response to these developments, the EU has decided to strengthen its targets for reducing gas consumption by 2030 as part of the REPowerEU energy crisis plan and to take even more urgent measures to limit its use in winter 2022-2023. Initially in August 2022, the EU decided to reduce the consumption of fossil gas – regardless of its origin – of each Member State by 15% during the eight-month period between August 2022 and March 2023, compared to a reference period. The latter is either the average of the corresponding eight months of the last five years, or the previous eight months (August 2021-March 2022) for Member States that increased their dependence on fossil gas in the previous year to levels higher than 8% compared to the five-year average, a condition that Greece also fulfills.

At the end of the aforementioned period, in order to contain the volatility of gas prices and avoid price spikes, the European Union decided to maintain this gas consumption reduction target but set it on a voluntary basis for member states. Therefore, for the period April 2023 to March 2024, member states should reduce their gas consumption by 15% compared to the reference period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022.

In addition to the contribution of reducing fossil gas consumption to tackling the climate crisis, its role in shaping heating costs and – especially – electricity costs is crucial. It is therefore of particular importance to understand the relevant trends in its consumption and final uses.

For this reason, for each month and cumulatively for the period of interest, we will present here analyses based on publicly available data from DESFA (the national fossil gas system operator) and Eurostat. Starting from August 2022, these analyses will focus on:

(a) monitoring Greece’s performance with respect to the consumption reduction targets agreed at the EU level;

(b) tracking trends in both total consumption and end-uses of gas (power generation, industry, distribution networks) in Greece;

(c) recording the developments in gas imports from Russia and the other three gateways of the country; and,

(d) comparing Greece with the other Member States of the EU-27 in terms of key indicators such as the total consumption and the dependence on fossil gas imports from Russia.