As a result of high gas storage volumes, achieved through significant demand reduction, the EU is in a comfortable position this winter. However, this should not be taken for granted. Ensuring competitive gas prices continue to be a challenge for Europe and until demand and supply are structurally re-adjusted, international gas market conditions will remain tight.
The EU’s attention must swiftly turn to planning for winter 2023/24. Gas storages need to be 90% full by 1 October 2023. Achieving this target depends on how demand reduction and LNG, the two pillars of Europe’s current energy security architecture, are handled. Positive signs have emerged in the last year showing that both industry and households can reduce their gas demand. However, gas demand reduction should be built into policy in the future.
Regarding LNG, the rapid deployment of regasification units must continue, as this alleviates concerns over import infrastructure capacity. As the EU keeps competing for cargoes internationally and remains vulnerable to global dynamics, utilising the EU Energy Platform might benefit Europe.
EU policymaking should drive a shift away from gas. This involves rapid deployment of renewables and accompanying grid infrastructure, energy efficiency measures, support for households to switch toward cleaner heating sources and collaboration with industry stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of new low-carbon production methods.