Where does Europe get its gas from?

Europe’s natural gas prices are seeing massive fluctuations. This makes us get back to the question of where the EU gets its energy. The EU has to import almost two-thirds of energy to meet its needs, gas making up to 27% and solid fossil fuels at 6%.

Russia rules the roost of countries that meet the EU’s demand for gas and fossil fuels. This dependence on one country threatens the EU’s energy market. Let’s take a look at some of the top offshore and onshore pipelines that carry natural gas in liquified form (LNG) and as is, to Europe.

From Russia

The EU’s imports 41% of its natural gas from Russia. Nord Stream running under the Baltic Sea connecting Russia to Germany is one of the major importer channels. Formerly known as North TransGas or the North European Gas Pipeline, Nord Stream AG operates it. The majority shareholder for this AG is the Russian state company Gazprom. Nord Stream 2 is in the works to facilitate an even higher proportion of imports. Nord Stream 2 has more political implications. When Nord Stream 2’s work got suspended by Germany’s energy regulator, the European natural gas prices rose by 17%. Even with all these ramifications, the work is on track.

TurkStream and BlueStream are the other well-known sub-sea cables that bring energy from Russia to Turkey and then the rest of the EU. The Megal and Gazal Pipelines let Russia supply natural gas (mainly to Germany) through the Czech borders. And the 4,000+ KM Yamal–Europe natural gas pipeline connects Russian natural gas fields with Poland and Germany.

Construction of Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. Solitaire pipe-laying vessel

Construction of Nord Stream gas pipeline. Solitaire pipe-laying vessel. Credit: Gazprom website

From Africa

Algeria and Nigeria account for 8% of natural gas imports from energy-rich Africa. There is a 4,000+ KM Trans-Saharan gas pipeline planned to connect Nigeria to Algeria. GALSI is also one such planned pipeline from Algeria to Italy. These could be game-changers for the continents. Other pipelines that pump energy to Europe are:

  • Greenstream pipeline, that starts from Libya and enters Italy
  • Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline, which connects Algeria and Spain.
  • Medgaz, again from Algeria to Almeria, Spain.
  • Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline, from Algeria to Sicily, Italy.
From the Middle East and Azerbaijan

There are more than eight active and planned pipelines coming from the oil-rich Middle East and Azerbaijan. Currently, the EU relies on Iraq (9%),and Qatar (5%) the most. One of the most prominent ones would be Eastring, an alternative to the South Stream, that comes through Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania after cutting across the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and the Middle East. The widely popular South Caucasus Pipeline taps into the largest natural gas reservoir in Azerbaijan, the Shah Deniz field and it runs parallel to the older Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline.

There are more planned expansions of gas pipelines between the regions. Such as the Southern Gas Corridor, the interconnector Turkey–Greece–Italy, (ITGI), the Poseidon pipeline, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, a Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and a Qatar-Turkey pipeline. There is also a WhiteStream planned to connect the South Caucus pipeline to central Europe.

Storage of natural gas within Europe, especially in underground facilities is seen as one of the key steps to ensure year-long supply and thereby energy security of Europe. At UGS 2022, we are bringing together experts in underground gas storage infrastructure for in-depth discussions on the underground gas storage facilities, and integration of hydrogen into the gas network.


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