February 21, 2023
The EU consumption of natural gas has dropped by 19.3% in the period August 2022-January 2023, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-January) between 2017 and 2022. The Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 on coordinated demand-reduction measures for gas, part of the REPowerEU plan to end EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels, set a reduction target of 15 % for the period August 2022-March 2023 as compared to the average of the same period of the five previous consecutive years.
Between August 2022 and January 2023, among EU countries, Ireland (-0.3%) registered the smallest decrease in natural gas consumption in the reference period, while Spain (-13.7 %) and Slovenia (-14.2 %) recorded a significant drop but have not yet reached the 15 % target. In other EU members, consumption dropped beyond the 15 % target, in some, by a large margin (above 40 %).
Consumption fell the most in Finland (-57.3 %), Lithuania (-47.9 %) and Sweden (-40.2 %).
This information comes from energy data published by Eurostat and transmitted by the National Statistical Institutes of the Member States.
Looking at monthly data from January 2022 to January 2023, consumption has been consistently below the 2017-2022 average of the respective months of those years. Between January and July 2022, natural gas consumption in the EU varied between 1938 petajoules (PJ) in January and 785 PJ in July, indicating a monthly decrease overall, even before the target of 15 % gas reduction was set up by the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369. But the biggest decreases were registered in the second semester of the year starting in August 2022, with a 14.0 % reduction in consumption, followed by 14.3 % in September, 24.7 % in October and 25.0 % in November.
Consumption in December 2022 hit 1 575 PJ, indicating a smaller decrease (-12.6 %) than in previous months, but then it dropped further in January 2023 (-22.1 %).
January is seasonally a colder month with higher consumption, and still, in January 2023 (1 534 PJ), the reduction in consumption was evident compared with December 2022 (1 575 PJ) and with January 2022 (1 938 PJ).
For more information:
- Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369
- REPowerEU: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for Europe
- Thematic section on energy
- Database on energy
- Consumption of natural gas includes both gaseous natural gas (GNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is calculated as follows: production + imports – exports +/- stock changes.
- Biogas (biomethane) injected in the grid is excluded from the calculation.
- Data extraction date: February 16, 2022.
- The base period for comparison is the average of the same period (same months) of the preceding five years. So the period of August 2022-January 2023 is compared to that from August 2017-January 2018 to August 2021-January 2022.
- Cyprus does not use natural gas.