Europe’s reliance on imported natural gas from Russia has again been thrown into
sharp relief by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. In 2021, the European
Union imported an average of over 380 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of gas by
pipeline from Russia or around 140 billion cubic meters (bcm) for the year as a
whole. As well as that, around 15 bcm was delivered in the form of liquefied natural
gas (LNG). The total 155 bcm imported from Russia accounted for around 45% of
the EU’s gas imports in 2021 and almost 40% of its total gas consumption.
Progress towards net-zero ambitions in Europe will bring down gas use and imports
overtime, but today’s crisis raises specific questions about imports from Russia and
what policymakers and consumers can do to lower them. This IEA analysis proposes
a series of immediate actions that could be taken to reduce reliance on Russian gas,
while enhancing the near-term resilience of the EU gas network and minimizing the
hardships for vulnerable consumers.
A suite of measures in our 10-Point Plan, spanning gas supplies, the electricity
system and end-use sectors1 could result in the EU’s annual call on Russian gas
imports falling by more than 50 bcm within one year – a reduction of over one-third.
These figures take into account the need for additional refilling of European gas
storage facilities in 2022 after low Russian supplies helped drive these storage levels
to unusually low levels. The 10-Point Plan is consistent with the EU’s climate
ambitions and the European Green Deal and also points towards the outcomes
achieved in the IEA Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Roadmap, in which the EU totally
eliminates the need for Russian gas imports before 2030.

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