After the 4.3% growth in 2021, EU domestic gas demand declined by 13.2% in 2022 to 13.72 million terajoules. This is the third lowest total recorded in Eurostat database since 2008, after 2012 (12.93 million terajoules) and 2014 (13.2 million terajoules).
It is important to note that Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 on coordinated measures to reduce gas demand, part of the REPowerEU plan to end the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, set a target of a 15% reduction in demand for the period August 2022-March 2023 compared to the average of the same period of the five previous consecutive years, and this has driven the reduction in demand seen in the current data. Between August 2022 and March 2023, EU gas consumption decreased by 17.7% compared to the average gas consumption for the same period (August-March) between 2017 and 2022.
In 2022, all major natural gas consumers have reduced their demand significantly: Germany, Italy and France had the highest domestic demand, with 3.07 million terajoules (-15.4% compared to 2021), 2.61 million terajoules (-9.9%) and 1.54 million terajoules (-9.6%), respectively. Looking at all EU countries, demand has decreased in most of them, except for Ireland and Malta, where it has increased slightly by 2.1% and 1.4% respectively.
In terms of supply, total EU natural gas imports also decreased by 6.6%, from 24.67 million terajoules in 2021 to 23.05 million terajoules in 2022.
If in 2021 Norway and Russia were the main sources of natural gas entering the EU with similar percentages close to 24%, in 2022 the situation is quite different. Norway is the source of 24.4% of natural gas entering the EU, and Russia is second with 15.3% (-8.3 percentage points (p.p.) compared to 2021), followed by the US (9.8%, +5.5 p.p.), Algeria (8.3%, +2.7 p.p.) and Qatar (6.7%, +2.2 p.p.).
Compared to 2021, imports from Ukraine (-5.7 p.p.) and Nigeria (-0.3 p.p.) have also declined, while imports from the other top 10 partners have increased.