Europe faces massive shortages in its gas storage by winter next year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“If imports of Russian gas by pipeline are completely stopped and China resumes importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its usual level, there could be a shortfall of almost half the gas needed to fill 95 per cent of storage facilities.
“Filling gas storage in the EU this year was helped by important factors that may not be repeated next year, the IEA said in Paris on Thursday.
These included Russian pipeline gas supplies, which were cut drastically during the year but were largely at normal levels in the first half of the year.
In addition, China’s lower LNG imports in the first 10 months of this year would have been instrumental in providing Europe with more LNG to compensate for declining Russian gas supplies.
“With the recent mild weather and lower gas prices, there is a danger of complacency creeping into the conversation around Europe’s gas supplies, but we are by no means out of the woods yet,” said IEA Director Fatih Birol.
“When we look at the latest trends and likely developments in global and European gas markets, we see that Europe is set to face an even sterner challenge next winter.”
He said governments must therefore take immediate action to improve energy efficiency and accelerate the use of renewables and heat pumps, and to reduce gas demand.
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