Last update: 23 March 2023
Please send any comments or requests to Ben McWilliams ([email protected]). Any recommendations on alternative data sources are greatly appreciated.
High and volatile European energy prices are being driven by extraordinarily tight supply-demand balances in energy markets, particularly for natural gas. The primary solution is to reduce demand and the European Union has agreed a target to reduce gas demand by 15% from August 2022 to March 2023.
This dataset tracks monthly natural gas demand by EU country, with a breakdown of the power, industry and household sectors wherever possible. Because there isn’t a timely and comprehensive data source covering all of the EU, this dataset is built by compiling data from a range of sources. A technical annex explains this methodology.
In 2022, we estimate that EU natural gas demand (which does not include storage filling) was 12% lower than the average from the period 2019 to 2021. Demand in October 2022 was 27%, in November 24%, and December 13% lower. While in summer months, most of the reduction was driven by industry – in October and November, there was significant reductions to household demand. This was partly driven by warmer than average weather. The start of December was notably cold and household demand reductions were not as large.
In January 2023, EU demand for the selection of available countries was 25% lower than average. Most notable, was a 28% reduction in gas demand for power generation. This is a positive sign for Europe’s energy balances, as previously little gas was saved in the power sector due to lower output than usual from other fuels. In February, falling prices saw demand returning with EU demand lower by only 11% than the 2019-21 average.
Table 1 shows results. We report the total for 2022 and the most recent month gas demand as a percentage difference from the 2019-21 average.
Figure 1 visualises monthly natural gas demand by country, the top bar allows scrolling through different countries.
Figure 2 compares changes to gas demand across countries showing which sectors have driven the change. The figure shows percentage and absolute contributions to demand changes by sector.
Demand data is compiled from a variety of sources. Use of the ENTSOG transparency platform is prioritised where available. This is complemented in certain cases by national transmission system or market operators (Enagas, GRTGaz, THE) and for power we use the ENTSO-E transparency platform to obtain the electricity produced in gas fired power plants (see below). In cases where no alternative data are available, we use Eurostat monthly gas demand data (NRG_CB_GASM). In all cases, 2022 values are compared to the average from 2019 to 2021.
Below is a description of the methodology for reporting which table A1 summarises.
For some countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia) the ENTSO-G platform consistently reports total gas demand and this is our preferred source. Spanish data is taken from Enagas. French data is from GRTGaz and ENTSO-G (Terega). German data combines THE and BNetzA. Austrian data is from AGGM (compiled by Johannes Schmidt and Peter Reschenhofer). Dutch data is complemented with CBS. Danish distribution data is from EnergiData. For the remaining countries (Czechia, Finland, Greece, Lithuania, Sweden and Slovakia) Eurostat is used, with the result of a one-to-two-month lag.
For most countries, an implied gas demand for power generation is calculated using ENTSO-E data on actual generation by technology type. For some countries, this data is taken from Ember. All gas-fired plants are assumed to be running at an efficiency of 50%. Therefore, an electricity output of 1MWh implies 2MWh gas demand. In certain cases, country-specific sources are used (GRTGaz for France, Gas Networks IE for Ireland, and CBS for the Netherlands).
Industry and Household
Where specific household and industry data are available, we use them and report separately. In many cases, we can identify ‘Final Consumers’ directly connected to the transmission grid, which should entail, both, larger industry and power sector gas consumption. Here, we subtract our estimate for power consumption to isolate industrial consumption. In many cases we are not able to separate industry and households and report the two together.