Tuesday, 31 January, 2023
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Europe can do without Russian gas: IEA

Europe can do without Russian gas: IEA

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Europe faces a major shortfall of natural gas in 2023 if Russia completely cuts off deliveries but has measures it could take to avoid shortages, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

The Paris-based IEA, which advises energy-consuming nations on policy, estimated that Europe faces a potential shortfall of 23 billion cubic metres of natural gas if Russia completely halts deliveries and China's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) rebound to 2021 levels.

That amounts to around 6.5 percent of the EU's 2021 gas consumption.

"The European Union has made significant progress in reducing reliance on Russian natural gas supplies, but it is not out of the danger zone yet," the IEA's executive director, Fatih Birol, was quoted as saying in a statement.

He said that circumstances would unlikely be as favourable in 2023 for European nations to fill up their gas reserves, which together with stepped-up purchases of LNG supplies appears to have staved off the risk of shortages for this winter despite Russia halting most gas deliveries.

But it is unclear whether Russia will continue its low level of deliveries of gas in 2023, while China's relaxation of its zero-Covid policy could lead to an economic rebound and increased LNG imports.

"The IEA's new analysis shows that a stronger push on energy efficiency, renewables, heat pumps and simple energy saving actions is vital to head off the risk of shortages and further vicious price spikes next year," Birol said at an event launching the agency's latest analyses.

Those analyses concluded that the potential supply gap can be closed by the EU taking those additional measures.

"Russia's blackmail has failed," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the event.

She urged EU member states to quickly approve additional measures to boost energy preparedness, and called for joint purchases of energy.