by Doris Leblond, Paris, OGJ, Mar 9, 2011
Preliminary figures from Eurogas indicate that total gas consumption for the European Union 27 [...] increased by 7.2% to 522 billion cu m in 2010 vs. 2009. In 2009, the economic crisis had pulled down consumption to its lowest level since 2002.
The growth was due to a combination of severe weather conditions, which strongly pushed up demand from the residential sector, and economic recovery illustrated by the 1.8% real GDP growth and the 6.6% [sic] increase in the EU 27 average production index for 2010.
Higher electricity demand due to economic recovery combined with the switch to gas from other fuels for electric power generation, which significantly contributed to total demand growth.
Indigenous gas production fell by 4% to 176 bcm in 2010, mainly because of the decline in mature production basins. However, with a 34% share [of the total net supplies -- D.R], it is still the largest source of gas for the EU 27. Main external sources were Russia, 23%; Norway, 19%; Algeria, 10%; and Qatar, 6%; the latter two countries showed an increasing role as LNG suppliers to Europe.
The UK was the largest gas consumer in 2010 with 99.8 bcm. [Estonia] [...] was the smallest with [0.5] bcm ... of gas consumed. Other countries’ gas consumption numbers were, [in order]: Germany, 87 bcm; Italy, 81.1 bcm; France, 50.7 bcm; the Netherland, 46.8 bcm; Spain, 37 bcm; [Belgium, 19.9 bcm] and [Poland, 15.5 bcm] [...].
(Cyprus and Malta are the only two EU member states that do not consume natural gas. However, the US' Noble Energy plans to start work on an exploration well in block 12 offshore Cyprus at end-2011 in an attempt to prove the country's gas potential. Both Cyprus and Malta have been oil import-dependent countries. Among the Baltic States (in the narrower sense), Lithuania was the largest consumer of natural gas with 3 bcm in 2010, followed by Latvia, 1.7 bcm and Estonia, 0.5 bcm---please see Eurogas original report -- Natural Gas Consumption in the EU27 and Switzerland in 2010, Mar 7, 2011, here. For information on EU plans to import gas from Azerbaijan, please see my post here. -- D.R.)