Saturday

22nd Sep 2018

Finland most vulnerable to Russian gas cut-off

  • How long would Europe last without Russian gas? (Photo: EWI)

Finland would experience gas shortages even if Russia cut off exports just for one month, while other EU countries would last between three to nine months without Russian gas, according to a German study.

"A Russian gas export embargo during the winter of 2014/15 lasting for more than 6 months would cause supply shortfalls in many European countries, in particular, in central and eastern Europe, including Germany," according to a study published Wednesday (3 September) by the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Based on a computer simulation of European pipelines, storage facilities and liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, the study explores what would happen if Russia would cut off the gas for one, three, six or nine months.

Since Finland has no storage capacities and 100 percent of its gas comes from Russia, it would be the first country to experience supply shortages - up to 10 percent in the first month and over 50 percent if Russia halts gas exports for three months.

A three-month Russian embargo would leave Poland with a 1.8 billion cubic metre shortfall and Turkey with a shortfall of 3.8 billion metres.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, the Balkan countries and Estonia would feel the effects of a six-month embargo.

Meanwhile, if Russia switches off the tap for nine months, gas supplies in Germany, Italy and France would be "severely affected" and a total of 46 billion cubic metres of European gas demand could not be served.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia would also have problems, as well as the countries already in trouble after three months (Finland, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Austria, the entire Balkan, Estonia and Switzerland).

The countries in which gas supply would be secure even during a nine-month disruption are those who still have their own gas reserves, such as Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK.

Countries importing from their neighbours or with LNG terminals would also be safe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The study also looks at the impact of one extremely cold week during a six-month disruption: "Supply shortfalls would occur in almost the entirety of Europe." In that scenario, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria would also be affected.

But Russia would be hit too, as it would lose €4-4.5 billion of revenues for each month of an embargo, some 3.5 percent of Gazprom's annual revenue.

"This would significantly affect Gazprom’s profitability, and reduce the company’s ability to contribute to the Russian state budget," the German researchers note.

Similar "worse case scenarios" are also being considered in the European Commission, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to affect the gas supplies to EU countries this winter.

"That Putin would use false information, lies and weapons was beyond my imagination," energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in Brussels on Tuesday.

"That's why I am not ruling out worst case scenarios any more," he added, referring to Europe's energy security.

Among the contingency plans being considered is a ban on LNG gas being exported out of Europe, a source familiar with the emergency plans told Reuters.

"In the short-term, we are very worried about winter supplies in southeast Europe. Our best hope in case of a cut is emergency measure 994/2010 which could prevent LNG from leaving Europe as well as limit industrial gas use in order to protect households," the source said.

EU regulation 994/2010 was passed in 2010 to safeguard gas supplies. If applied, it would include banning gas companies from selling LNG tankers outside of Europe, keeping more gas in reserve, and ordering industry to cap its use of gas.

Europe's reliance on Russian gas is expected to last for at least another 10 years, according to US ratings agency Fitch.

"Any attempt to improve energy security by reducing European reliance on Russia would require either a significant reduction in overall gas demand or a big increase in alternative sources of supply, but neither of these appears likely," Fitch said in a report on Tuesday.

EU sanctions on Russia in limbo

EU countries have adopted a new round of sanctions against Russia, but cannot agree when or whether to implement them.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us