Europe’s dependence on Russian gas: can we do without the Nord Stream II gas pipeline in the face of tensions?

On the other hand, a decline in gas supply is more credible‘ said Professor Adel El Gammal. “Today Russia has delivered 25% less gas than in the previous year. It continued to fulfill long-term contracts but subtly reduced supply. It hasn’t missed a contractual delivery but hasn’t responded to Europe’s additional request to put pressure on the Twenty-Seven‘ he elaborates.

Europe has an interest in diversifying its imports

So Europe can do without the famous gas pipeline, but there is very little room for manoeuvre. And to do without Russian gas is impossible.

Therefore, given Russia’s power in the European gas market, Europe remains tense.

The threat of a clean cut is certainly not on the agenda, but nothing can prevent Russia from cutting off supplies at short notice and for short periods of time to leave room for possible destabilization of the Union.

However, Europe has an opportunity to reduce this intimidating power of the superpower, according to the Secretary General of theEERA : “If tensions persist, Europe has an interest in reducing its dependence on Russian gas, particularly through deals with other countries in the world in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. This would allow it to be less focused on Russia but also have a larger gas supply by investing in that energy“.

Although energy prices have risen sharply in recent months, the mild winter has helped to limit the damage. But Europe’s reserves took a hit when Russia couldn’t meet the extra demand as usual: “European gas stocks have been particularly low this year. They were around 50% in January while they were around 70-75% in previous years. This weighed on European market prices. If the winter had been colder, consumption would have been greater, we would have sold out and the numbers would have exploded“, adds Adel El Gammal.

And Belgium there?

Belgium plans to end nuclear power in 2025. Still, it has chosen to invest in gas to offset the phasing out of nuclear power, the time of the transition to carbon neutrality in 2050. In addition, two gas power plants must be built Vilvoorde and the Awirs.

This plan is bound to increase our demand for natural gas in the years to come as we move forward with the transition to renewable energy.

However, knowing how the international context, NATO-Russia tensions and gas prices will develop is still a matter of speculation. If Russia decides to close the valves, Belgium will have to replace “only” 6% of its gas import share. A weak dependency on the Russian Republic, but prices will continue to rise, as in all European countries. Since the European energy market is relatively homogeneous, the increase will affect all Twenty-Seven.

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