The European Union is facing a gas shortage in 2022, which will have a dramatic impact on the country’s economy. The countries most at risk include Germany, France, the UK, and Spain. The situation is particularly urgent in Russia, as Putin has again threatened to restrict supply. Last week, the president of the European Union Commission warned that a total cutoff from Russia was “likely.” Ursula von der Leyen said member states must cut back on their gas consumption by 15%.
A national gas supply emergency plan was triggered in Germany in late March 2022 due to concerns that Russia could disrupt supplies. This early warning stage was declared merely as a precautionary measure. However, it placed crisis preparation on solid legal footing and established a team of experts who will deal with the situation. The group consists of the energy ministry, the network agency, storage operators and gas retailers. The German government has a number of plans to deal with the crisis.
Germany and France have agreed to reduce their gas consumption by 15 percent over winter. They have backed the plan, but southern European countries have resisted it. The southern countries argue that limiting gas use in Spain and Portugal will not help Germany and other northern European countries. They also argue that the southern European countries have limited connections to the rest of the European continent. Ultimately, the European Union will have to make decisions about how to cut consumption and find a way to avoid a major crisis.
The United Kingdom depends on gas for 40% of its electricity needs. However, the EU as a whole relies on less than a fifth of its gas supplies. This overdependence on gas is one of the reasons for higher prices. Although the UK produces half of its own gas, production in the North Sea last year was at its lowest level on record. There is no doubt that the situation is worrying for the UK, which is now importing gas from its neighbours.
The Spanish gas transport system is made up of 13 361 kilometres of pipelines and contains four underground storage facilities. It supplies gas to 1 805 municipalities and 7.9 million supply points. It has 19 compressor stations and 45 transmission centres, and 416 measurement and regulation stations. Its circular structure ensures the smooth distribution of natural gas across the country, including during periods of high demand. The main objective of the system is to meet Spain’s increasing energy needs.
The European Union faces a serious gas shortage if Russia cuts off its supplies to the region. The war in Ukraine has already disrupted the region’s supply chain. A major problem for the region is the high price of natural gas. In addition, Germany is heavily reliant on Russian gas. With Germany in a recession, the situation is critical. The government is worried about how it will keep its citizens warm this winter. The energy minister said Monday that it is a “serious situation.”
The European Commission has approved a scheme to support power plant owners who are struggling to meet their gas demands. The scheme is open to companies from the manufacturing sector, which relies heavily on gas and is particularly affected by the rising cost of energy. It will be provided for up to five years, and the Commission said it is proportionate, necessary, and in line with the Temporary Crisis Framework. Portugal is one of the countries that could be most affected by a gas shortage in Europe.
The Danish Energy Agency has recently issued a warning to European gas market players, urging them to prepare for a potential gas supply crisis. The warning comes as Russia reduces its supplies to the European market. Gazprom announced earlier this month that it would stop supplying gas to the Orsted company, but Energistyrelsen has reassured the public that the decision does not pose a threat to Denmark’s energy supply.
A gas shortage could hit Ireland this winter, according to an EU report. The country is not directly connected to the EU gas grid, but it does depend on imported gas. If five countries agree to a mandatory gas cut, the EU states would be obliged to cut their consumption. However, Ireland has escaped a mandatory gas cut by seeking an exemption. Ireland has already begun to prepare for the possibility. Several measures have been introduced to reduce gas use.
The Dutch government has resisted calls to increase the output from its Groningen gas field, one of the largest in the country’s northern part. In October 2022, the field will only produce 2.8 billion cubic metres of gas, down from 4.5 billion cubic metres this year. But the Dutch government wants to prevent a possible fuel shortage by lifting a cap on coal production, which will allow them to increase gas production.