April 19, 2023
The EU consumption of natural gas has dropped by 17.7 % in the period August 2022-March 2023, compared with the average gas consumption for the same months (August-March) 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.
Data show that the majority of EU countries reached the -15 % target, with the exception of Slovakia (-1.0%), Spain (-10.8%), Poland (-12.5 %), Slovenia (-13.8 %) and Belgium (-14.5 %), which recorded smaller decreases, and Malta (smallest gas consumer among all EU members using gas), which actually saw a 12.7 % increase between August 2022 and March 2023. Consumption fell the most in Finland (-55.7 %), Lithuania (-40.5 %) and Sweden (-37.2 %) and in other EU countries, consumption dropped beyond the 15 % target, in some by a large margin (above 20 %).
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 March 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 overall decrease, even before the target of 15% gas reduction was set up by the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369. However, the biggest decreases were registered in the second part of 2022 starting in August, with a 14.0 % reduction in consumption, followed by -14.3 % in September, -24.4 % in October, -25.0 % in November, and -12.3 % in December.
2023 started with further decreases of 19.0 % in January (1593 PJ) and 14.7 % in February (1435 PJ). Natural gas consumption in March 2023 reached 1318 PJ, below the 1589 PJ average registered between 2017-2022, with a 17.1 % drop.
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: 18 April 2023
- Cyprus does not use natural gas.