(009) BEYOND DEPENDENCE: HOW TO DEAL WITH RUSSIAN GAS Cover Image

(009) BEYOND DEPENDENCE: HOW TO DEAL WITH RUSSIAN GAS
(009) BEYOND DEPENDENCE: HOW TO DEAL WITH RUSSIAN GAS

Author(s): Pierre Noël
Subject(s): Economic policy, Environmental and Energy policy, International relations/trade
Published by: ECFR European Council on Foreign Relations
Keywords: Russian Gas for Europe; gas security;
Summary/Abstract: The gas relationship with Russia has become an extremely contentious issue among EU Member States. It is a major reason for the EU’s failure to develop the common policy approach towards Moscow it so badly needs. Yet the relationship is often misunderstood. Russia is the largest external gas supplier to the EU, but it is far from a monopoly provider. Since 1980, Europe’s diversification of its gas supply has seen Russia’s share of EU gas imports roughly halve, from 80% to 40%. Russian gas represents just 6.5% of the EU primary energy supply, a figure that has remained essentially unchanged over 20 years. And contrary to widely held belief, Russian gas exports to Europe are unlikely to increase significantly in the foreseeable future. So calls for Europe to diversify its energy supply even further miss the point. The problem is divisiveness, not dependence. Russian gas is divisive because Europe’s gas market is dysfunctional and segmented. Most of the EU’s imports of Russian gas go to a few countries in western Europe, where supply is diversified, while several Member States in central and eastern Europe consume relatively little Russian gas but have no other external suppliers. Only the emergence of a single competitive European gas market can create real solidarity between consumers and ‘Europeanise’ the current large bilateral contracts between European importers and Gazprom.To address the specific concerns of central and eastern European Member States, the EU should build on the 2004 directive on security of supply in natural gas, and help these Member States devise and implement national action plans for gas security.

  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2008
  • Language: English