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European gas market: an uncertain future according to the IEA

The European gas market has received a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA). According to a recent report on the gas market outlook for 2026, the IEA warns of possible tensions in Europe, particularly in the event of a harsh winter and new restrictions on Russian gas supplies by pipeline.

The IEA’s concerns

Despite a situation where the European Union’s gas reserves are almost full, at 96% of their capacity, at the start of the heating season, the IEA remains cautious about the security of supply. This precaution stems from fears of shortages that emerged in 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The IEA points out that “a cold winter combined with reduced availability of liquefied gas (LNG) carried by ships and a further decline in Russian gas pipeline deliveries could reignite market tensions, particularly towards the end of the year.” winter 2023-24. » This price volatility raises concerns, as it can have significant repercussions on European economies.

Since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia has significantly reduced its pipeline gas deliveries to the European Union, forcing European countries to quickly review their supply strategies. They increased their LNG purchases by 70% last year, notably from the United States and Russia. Although the situation is better this year, Europe remains vulnerable to two main challenges. First, winter weather may be more severe than the previous year, leading to increased demand for gas for heating. Second, Russia continues to supply gas to Europe, but this source can be interrupted at any time, creating continued uncertainty.

Long term outlook

The IEA believes that the 2022 global energy crisis has ushered in a new era for global gas markets, ending a decade of sustained growth between 2011 and 2021, often referred to as the “Golden Age of Gas.” » The agency now forecasts a slowdown in the growth of global gas demand, with an average increase of 1.6% per year between 2022 and 2026, compared to an annual average of 2.5% between 2017 and 2021. This reduction is mainly due to lower consumption in mature markets, notably Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, where gas demand reached its peak in 2021 and is expected to decline by 1% per year until 2026. This development is the result of the acceleration of the deployment of renewable energies and the improvement of energy efficiency.

Ultimately, growing gas demand will be concentrated in high-growth Asian markets as well as some gas-rich economies in the Middle East and Africa. China alone is expected to account for almost half of the total growth in global gas demand by 2026.

Final analysis

The future of the European gas market remains uncertain, with ongoing concerns over security of supply, particularly during harsh winters. The IEA warns of potential risks from reduced availability of liquefied gas and new restrictions on Russian gas deliveries. The resulting price volatility could have a significant impact on European economies.

Globally, gas demand is slowing, mainly due to increased energy efficiency and the massive deployment of renewable energy in mature markets. Demand growth will now be concentrated in Asia and certain gas-rich regions, with China leading the way. This development reflects the complexities and challenges facing the gas market on a global and regional scale.

Ultimately, it is essential to closely monitor developments in the European gas market, particularly during the winter months, and to remain attentive to global developments that will influence gas demand and supply in the coming years. future.

This article is originally published on energynews.pro

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