How worried does Europe need to be about the coming winter gas season?

Publishing date
16 October 2023
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The European Union is prepared for the coming winter gas season. Today’s fundamentals are solid. EU gas demand continues to be reduced by around 15% below historic averages, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity has been expanded by 20% while the global LNG market remains well supplied partly thanks to the lack of significant demand growth in China. The EU met its 90% gas storage target two months ahead of a deadline in November, with traders now sending excess gas for storage in Ukraine. The EU has also seen accelerated deployment of green alternatives, such solar panels and heat pumps, which slowly but structurally contribute to lower dependence on gas.


Despite all of those positive developments, Europeans should not be complacent. Fears about gas shortages or power cuts have receded, but a persistently higher gas price vis à vis other markets and ongoing price volatility could still have repercussions for the EU industrial structure and the economy at large. Until more LNG liquefaction capacity comes online in 2024, the global LNG market and consequently the EU gas market, will remain tight.


It is important to stress, namely after the alleged sabotage of the Balticonnector connecting Finland and Estonia, that Europe's energy security during the winter also hinges on the integrity of its pipeline and LNG infrastructure. Sabotage or disruptions could have severe consequences. It is hence crucial to maintain a high level of alertness and security to safeguard these critical supply routes. 

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About the authors

  • Simone Tagliapietra

    Simone Tagliapietra is a Senior fellow at Bruegel. He is also a Professor of EU Energy and Climate Policy at The Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Europe.

    His research focuses on the EU climate and energy policy and on the political economy of global decarbonisation. With a record of numerous policy and scientific publications, also in leading journals such as Nature and Science, he is the author of Global Energy Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and co-author of The Macroeconomics of Decarbonisation (Cambridge University Press, 2024).

    His columns and policy work are widely published and cited in leading international media such as the BBC, CNN, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, El Pais, and several others.

    Simone also is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). He holds a PhD in Institutions and Policies from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Born in the Dolomites in 1988, he speaks Italian, English and French.

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