Russia's natural gas pipeline exports to Europe decline to 40-year lows

Russia's natural gas pipeline exports to Europe decline to 40-year lows

Country's exports decline by almost 50% compared with previous five years

News Service AA

Russia's natural gas exports by pipeline to the European Union (EU) and the UK declined by almost 40% during the first seven months of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Tuesday.

Natural gas exports fell by almost 50% compared to the period between 2017 and 2021, the IEA said, citing data from Refinitiv Eikon.

The country's exports declined to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in mid-July, the lowest level in nearly 40 years, the agency said.

Russia accounted for about one-third of the EU’s and the UK’s supply of natural gas via pipeline between 2016 and 2020, according to Eurostat.

Russia exports natural gas to the EU and the UK through three major pipeline corridors, which account for approximately 16 bcf/d of import pipeline capacity when combined with smaller interconnections, data from Russian energy giant Gazprom showed.

The offshore Nord Stream 1 pipeline is one of these pipeline corridors that passes through the Baltic Sea to Germany and further to the Netherlands, France, the UK, and other European countries.

Other branches of the pipeline run via Belarus to Poland and Germany and via Ukraine where the natural gas pipeline branches out to the Czech Republic and Austria, transporting natural gas further to countries in northern and southern Europe.

Russia’s natural gas pipeline exports to the EU and the UK have been in decline since 2020, initially because of COVID-induced demand reductions in Europe.

In mid-2021, Russia began to limit its natural gas exports to Europe to long-term contracted volumes only and ended spot-market sales. Russia’s natural gas exports to the EU and the UK averaged 16.0 bcf/d in 2019, 12.4 bcf/d in 2020 and 10.9 bcf/d in 2021.

The most significant decline in Russia’s exports has been to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Exports via the pipeline declined to 1.4 bcf/d in July, only 20% of its design capacity of 5.6 bcf/d. Russia’s deliveries to Germany via Belarus and Poland also fell significantly, starting from October last year.

Pipeline flows from Russia into Slovakia averaged 1.8 bcf/d so far in 2022, compared with the previous five-year average of 4.2 bcf/d for the same period. Pipeline flows decreased, in part, due to a natural gas compressor station located in Ukraine being taken offline.

Russia's natural gas deliveries to Poland and neighboring countries via Belarus averaged 0.9 bcf/d from January 2021 through April 2022, declining to 0.2 bcf/d since then.

To compensate for lower natural gas pipeline exports from Russia, the EU and UK have been importing record-high volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year, particularly from the US.


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