Thursday

23rd May 2019

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.

News in Brief

  1. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  2. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal
  3. UK sacked defence secretary backs Johnson for leader
  4. Dutch voter turnout so far slightly down on 2014
  5. Report: Hungary's Fidesz 'bought' Belgian official
  6. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  7. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  8. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Polling booths open in UK's limbo EU election
  2. Dutch PM puts EU exit on agenda with election gamble
  3. EU development aid used to put European police in Senegal
  4. EU should stop an insane US-Iran war
  5. EU faces moment of truth at midnight on Sunday
  6. Dutch MPs: EU sanctions should bear Magnitsky name
  7. Far-right hate speech flooded Facebook ahead of EU vote
  8. Key details on how Europeans will vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  3. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  8. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  9. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  10. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  11. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us