Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Consumption of natural gas in the EU dropped 10% annually in the first eight months of the year according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The agency expects gas consumption in the EU to drop approximately 10% annually this year and 0.8% on the global level, Reuters reports Monday.
In its quarterly natural gas market report, the IEA pointed out that demand dropped in the EU and remained flat in the Asia Pacific region. The agency predicted that global consumption of natural gas will increase approximately 0.4% next year.
It added that consumption in the EU dropped largely due to cuts in the industrial sector as companies cut consumption roughly 15% in response to soaring energy prices.
According to IEA, if Russia implements announced sanctions against Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz, it could close the last remaining Russian gas supply routes to Europe, which would worsen the energy crisis.
EU seeking alternatives
EU member states have been looking for alternatives to piped Russian gas and are looking at liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. The IEA expects European LNG imports to exceed 60 billion cubic metres this year.
Germany recently struck LNG supply deals with the United Arab Emirates and started building LNG terminals in an effort to replace Russian imports.
The agency pointed out that Asian LNG imports could drop this year on the annual level, noting that high prices in Europe attract more cargoes. At the same time, it predicted that China’s LNG imports could increase in 2023, pointing to new deals struck since the start of last year.
The agency added that a cold winter would increase demand in Northeast Asia and put additional pressure on the global market, which is already strained.
It predicted that, if Russia cuts gas exports to Europe completely next month, natural gas storages in the EU would be under 20% full in February next year if LNG supply does not drop.On the other hand, if LNG supply dwindles, he bloc’s gas storages could be approximately 5% full in February. EU’s gas storage facilities are currently more than 88% full.