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EU Proposes Member States Maintain Measures to Reduce Natural Gas Demand

The European Commission proposed on Tuesday that EU member states continue taking voluntary measures to maintain a collective 15% gas demand reduction compared to the five-year average to March 2022, as the bloc looks to continue stabilizing its energy and gas supply.

“With the emergency legislation due to expire on 31 March, and the situation more stable than it has been for the past two years, the Commission is now proposing the adoption of a Council Recommendation on continued gas demand reduction measures,” the European Commission said in a statement today.

The proposal will be discussed by Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and EU Energy Ministers at the Energy Council on March 4.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis with the spike in gas and power prices, the EU urged member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% compared to the April 2017-March 2022 average.

In March 2023, EU member states agreed to extend the voluntary 15% gas demand reduction target for another year until March 31, 2024.

According to the Commission’s release today, the EU collectively reduced its gas demand by 18% between August 2022 and December 2023, saving around 101 billion cubic meters of gas. 

“These efforts go above and beyond the 15% savings target which was agreed under emergency legislation adopted in Summer 2022, and were essential to preserve stable supplies, stabilise energy markets in the EU, and show solidarity with Ukraine,” the EC said.

Natural gas demand in Europe slumped to a 10-year low last year as consumption has tumbled by 20% since the Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said in a report last week.

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European gas demand slumped in 2022 and 2023 due to the energy crisis, the record-high benchmark gas prices in 2022, and weaker industry demand amid faltering economies. Household consumption has also dropped due to energy-saving measures, while European governments looked to boost the share of renewables in power generation and ditch Russian gas, when and where possible.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprie.com

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