The indicator was lower than the average level of consumption for 2017-2021

The European Union countries reduced gas consumption by 13.5% in 2023 compared to 2022. The figure was more than 13% below the average consumption level for 2017-2021. This is evidenced by Eurostat data, Argus.Media reports.

Total gas consumption in the EU last year amounted to 12.72 PJ, compared to 13.71 PJ in 2021. The average figure for 2017-2021 was 15.43 PJ. According to Eurostat, last year’s figure is the lowest since 1995.

Among the five major gas consumers in the EU, the largest reduction occurred in France – by 12% y/y. Gas consumption in Spain decreased by 11% y/y, and in Italy – by 10% y/y. The largest gas consumer in the EU, Germany, reduced its consumption by 4% y/y, to the lowest level since 2014.

Gas consumption in these countries declined as a result of lower gas-fired power generation, as nuclear generation recovered from its lowest point in 2022. Overall, across the EU, gas-fired electricity generation fell to a 5-year low of 353 TWh, down almost 20% from 2022.

In general, the largest reduction in gas consumption among EU countries was in Portugal – by 22% y/y. At the same time, Finland increased by 26% y/y, and Poland – by 5.5% y/y.

According to MEA forecasts, European gas demand could grow by 3% in 2024 compared to 2023. The cold snap at the beginning of the year in most of Europe led to a significant use of gas reserves in the first half of January. However, the unfavorable weather conditions have already passed, and the forecast for February looks generally moderate.

Analysts are positive about Europe’s prospects for this heating season. According to Bloomberg columnist Javier Blas, despite the cold weather in Europe, winter is over for European gas traders. The region is almost halfway through the heating season, and the mild weather has so far left stocks ample.

On current trends, Europe will meet spring with half-full underground gas storage facilities, while the decade-long average is only 35%. However, while European gas prices have fallen significantly from the record highs of the past two winters, they remain well above the 2010-2020 average of €20.1 per MWh.