EU gas consumption grows 7% in 2010

March 7, 2011 | 00:00

EU gas consumption grows 7% in 2010

According to preliminary figures and estimates from Eurogas, total natural gas consumption in
EU27 has increased by 7,2% in 2010 in comparison to 2009.

The initial estimate for 2010 natural gas consumption in the EU27 is 5 655 terawatt hours (TWh GCV),
equivalent to 522 billion cubic metres (BCM)1, or 438 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE NCV)2. This
represents an increase of 7,2% compared to 2009.

At the end of 2010, the total number of gas customers connected to the EU27 natural gas grid rose by
approximately 1% in comparison to 2009, to reach 115,4 million customers.

The economic downturn in Europe significantly affected the natural gas consumption in 2009, which
registered its lowest levels since 2002. Although the natural gas markets vary significantly across Europe, in almost all EU countries, the natural gas demand between 2009 and 2010 increased by 7,2%. The gas demand growth in the EU27 was explained by a combination of the severe weather conditions and the economic recovery (1,8% real GDP growth3). Some general trends can be distinguished for most of the EU countries.

Due to cold weather conditions in 2010, natural gas demand increased strongly in the residential sector. An important driver of the gas sales growth was the industrial sector which registered a strong recovery in 2010 compared to 2009. This trend is illustrated by the 6,7% increase in the EU27 average production index for 20104, compared to 2009. Alongside the industrial sector, the power sector played a large part in the total consumption growth. Higher electricity demand due to the economic recovery and switching to gas from other fuels have significantly increased the volume of gas used for power generation.

Indigenous gas production in the EU27 decreased by 4% to 1 904 TWh (176 BCM) over the period, mainly because of ongoing decline in the mature production basins. The largest source of gas supplied to the EU27 comes from indigenous production, making up 34% of the total net supplies in 2010. Main external sources of supply were Russia at 23%, Norway at 19%, Algeria at 10% and Qatar at 6% which illustrated the increasing role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the EU gas supply.

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