The IEA demands urgent measures from the EU to alleviate the gas deficit during 2023


The International Energy Agency (IEA) sounds the alarm again for the winter of 2023 and warns that Europe runs the risk of not getting enough gas to face the deficit in reserves that will take place in these months if Russia closes more taps and China’s economic recovery increases demand from the Asian giant, which would take a good part of the available liquefied natural gas (LNG).

If Russia completely suspended gas shipments to European countries and LNG import volumes by China returned to 2021 levels, the supply deficit in Europe it could be 30,000 million cubic meters during the summer, the IEA specifies in a report published this Thursday. That represents almost half the gas needed so that its reserves reach 95% before winter 2023-2024, which is the level that has been achieved this year.

According to the executive director of the agency, the Turkish Fatih Birol, in the current context, of an autumn of warm temperatures and lower gas prices in recent weeks, one could fall into a kind of “complacency” in the supply challengewhen in fact “we are by no means out of the woods yet”.

In his opinion, the challenge to get the necessary gas will be “even greater next winter” and that is why governments must take “immediate measures to accelerate the improvement of energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy and heat pumps, as well as other measures to structurally reduce gas demand.”

His organization plans to present “in due course” a plan to guarantee Europe’s gas balance for the 2023-2024 winter.

The authors of the report recall that, in the first ten months of this year, Russia has already halved Europe’s supply compared to the same period in 2021, and that represents a drop of 60,000 million cubic meters.

For the year as a whole, they calculate that the drop will be around 55%, which would represent 80,000 million cubic meters less than in 2021.

The Europeans, however, have managed to fill their reserves to 95%, and that is 5% more than the average of the last five years, which is equivalent to 5,000 million cubic meters more.

The agency explains that Europeans have benefited to do so from two elements that may not be repeated in 2023: the first is the flow of gas that has continued to be received from Russia, although less than in previous years; and the second, the lower Chinese demand for LNG due to the effects on the economy of the restrictions imposed by Beijing’s “zero covid” policy.

But if China recovers and its imports return to 2021 levels, the Asian giant would absorb more than 85% of the projected increase in global LNG supply.

It must be taken into account that in 2023 it is estimated that this supply will only increase by 20,000 million cubic meters, of which approximately a third will come from the United States, which could appear as a priority partner for the Europeans.

In short, the increase in available LNG next year will be much less than the probable reduction in deliveries through the Russian gas pipelines that supply Europe, the IEA recalls.


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