EPRSauthor By / June 23, 2014

European energy security: what about Russian gas?

In the context of the European Commission’s European Energy Security Strategy communication issued in May 2014 [COM(2014) 330 final], this…

@3dmentat / Fotolia

In the context of the European Commission’s European Energy Security Strategy communication issued in May 2014 [COM(2014) 330 final], this EPRS Keysource gathers documents about security of energy supply for Europe, focusing on the gas supplied by Russia – more than a third to a quarter of the gas consumed by the EU according to the sources – in the context of the current crisis related to Ukrainian’s gas bill to Gazprom.


Gas Pipes
@3dmentat / Fotolia

Energy supply in the EU28 / Infographic by Giulio Sabbati, EPRS, 19/06/2014, 1p.
“This infographic looks at the Member States’ domestic energy production, their dependency rate on external supplies, and their net imports. It also provides a picture of the diversification in foreign energy suppliers.”

The EU’s Tough Gas Game with Russia / Lough, John (Chatham House), 12/06/2014
“Despite the EU’s dependency on Russia for more than 30 per cent of its gas imports, the European Commission has kicked Russia’s pipeline plans into the long grass.”

How to reduce dependence on Russian gas / Tindale, Stephen (CER), 10/04/2014

Secure, clean and affordable energy for Europe / EPRS briefing, 31/03/2014, 2p.
“The EU is developing energy policies that aim to ensure security of supply, affordable energy for households and industry, and a reduction of carbon emissions in line with EU climate commitments.”

EU climate and energy policies post-2020: Energy security, competitiveness and decarbonisation / EPRS briefing, 27/03/2014, 8p.
p.3: Security of supply
“The EU is heavily dependent on energy imports – more than half of its energy consumption comes from imports. Two-thirds of the natural gas consumed and 85% of oil are imported. Security of energy supply is thus an important concern, in particular for Member States (MS) that have few indigenous energy sources and depend on a single supplier for most of their energy needs.”

Fact sheet: Russian gas imports to Europe and security of supply / Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP), 7/03/2014, 3p.

Red gas : Russia and the origins of European energy dependence / Högselius, Per, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, xiii, 279 p.
The history of European energy dependence to Russian gas starting in the late 1950s until now.

European energy security: options and challenges / Phillips, Radcliff E.; Cook, Jamison B., Nova Science, 2012, viii, 121 p.
“This book focuses on potential approaches that Europe might employ to diversify its sources of natural gas supply, and Russia’s role, as well as identifying some of the issues hindering efforts to develop alternative suppliers of natural gas”.

Security of supply of natural gas / Europa, Summaries of EU legislation, 19/01/2011
“Natural gas is an essential component of the energy mix of the European Union (EU), constituting one quarter of primary energy supply and contributing mainly to electricity generation, heating, feedstock for industry and fuel for transportation.
Gas consumption in Europe has rapidly increased during the last 10 years. With decreasing domestic production, gas imports have increased even more rapidly, thus creating higher import dependence and the need to address security of gas supply aspects.”


Ukraine Crisis Could Reframe European Energy Policy / Ghilès, Francis (CIDOB), 15/05/2014, 3p.
“The Commission has warned that, under the EU’s “third energy package”, other gas suppliers must be given access to South Stream. This could restrict Russia to providing no more than half of the gas that passes through the pipeline. It could also deter some investors from lending to the South Stream project. The Commission’s move can be amply justified on competition grounds alone because Gazprom is seeking to control the South Stream supply chain, providing gas upstream, distributing it downstream and owning the pipeline itself. This runs contrary to Europe’s energy liberalisation agenda and must be unbundled.”

The G7, Russia, and energy security: Europe’s power and gas markets tell a different story / Elliott, Stuart; Edwardes-Evans, Henry; Bedeschi, Beatrice (Platts), 7/05/2014, video
“With the crisis between Russia and Ukraine dominating international headlines, Europe’s energy supply security has one again become a major political concern. In this video Stuart Elliott, Henry Edwardes-Evans and Beatrice Bedeschi analyse how Europe’s power and gas markets reveal a very different narrative – one of falling demand, good storage, and growing diversification.”

The EU’s energy security made urgent by the Crimean crisis in-depth analysis / Pasquale De Micco (EP Policy Department External Policies), 04/2014, 36p.
“The crisis in Crimea has led to a first round of sanctions between Russia and the EU – and may well lead to more. For both the EU and Russia, energy constitutes the main risk in this clash, as the two actors are largely interdependent: Russia exports 65% of its gas to Europe, while the EU imports roughly one third of its natural gas from Russia. Among EU Member States, the level of dependency varies greatly, as does their ability to respond to Russian threats. Military and political tensions are obliging the EU to boost its energy security mechanisms and to seek out short- and long-term alternatives to Russian gas. (…) Other energy policies (focusing on renewable sources, greater efficiency, nuclear power, shale gas and the interconnection of the energy grids) can also play a role in reducing – if not completely eliminating – Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.”

The EU and Russia uncommon spaces / Bond, Ian (CER), 04/2014, 18p.
p.11-13: The energy relationship – who has whom over a barrel?
The author confronts the EU’s and Russia’s respective interests regarding energy; he also comments on the effect of the “Third Energy Package” on Russia and Gazprom, and details the pipelines’ routes.

EU-Russia energy relations: What chance for solutions? : A focus on the natural gas sector / Böhme, Dimo (Universität Potsdam), 14/04/2014, 348p.
“Public debate about energy relations between the EU and Russia is distorted. These distortions present considerable obstacles to the development of true partnership. At the core of the conflict is a struggle for resource rents between energy producing, energy consuming and transit countries.
Supposed secondary aspects, however, are also of great importance. They comprise of geopolitics, market access, economic development and state sovereignty. The European Union, having engaged in energy market liberalisation, faces a widening gap between declining domestic resources and continuously growing energy demand. Diverse interests inside the EU prevent the definition of a coherent and respected energy policy. Russia, for its part, is no longer willing to subsidise its neighbouring economies by cheap energy exports. The Russian government engages in assertive policies pursuing Russian interests. In so far, it opts for a different globalisation approach, refusing the role of mere energy exporter. In view of the intensifying struggle for global resources, Russia, with its large energy potential, appears to be a very favourable option for European energy supplies, if not the best one. However, several outcomes of the strategic game between the two partners can be imagined. Engaging in non-cooperative strategies will in the end leave all stakeholders worse-off. The European Union should therefore concentrate on securing its partnership with Russia instead of damaging it. Stable cooperation would need the acceptance that the partner may pursue his own goals, which might be different from one’s own interests. The question is, how can a sustainable compromise be found? This thesis finds that a mix of continued dialogue, a tit for tat approach bolstered by an international institutional framework and increased integration efforts appears as a preferable solution.”

Is Europe vulnerable to Russian gas cuts? / Behrens, Arno; Wieczorkiewicz, Julian (CEPS), 12/03/2014, 4p.
“In this commentary, Arno Behrens and Julian Wieczorkiewicz look into two different scenarios. First, could Europe sustain longer [than five years ago] cuts in gas supplies from Russia? And second, what impact would disruptions of Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine have on the EU? Essentially the authors argue that Russia is highly dependent on gas exports to Europe, while Europe could resort to alternatives to Russian gas. In addition, Europe is much better prepared for potential short-term supply disruptions than it was five years ago.”

What the Ukrainian crisis means for gas markets / Pirani, Simon; Yafimava, Katja; Rogers, Howard; Honoré, Anouk; Henderson, James (The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies), 10/03/2014, 21p.
“The change of government in Kyiv, the Russian military action in Crimea, the diplomatic reaction by the western powers, and the perceived danger of war, clearly have implications for all economic relations between Russia, Ukraine and Europe, especially in the energy sphere. Russia supplies about 30% of Europe’s natural gas, and more than half of these volumes are still transported via Ukraine. In Ukraine, gas supply issues are combined with the economic upheavals aggravated by political crisis. (…) From Europe’s standpoint, commercial logic would suggest that support would be given to diversifying gas transit away from Ukraine, including regulatory support for the South Stream pipeline, which, if completed with four strings, should enable the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to be suspended completely by 2020. However, it is possible that a political move to minimise cooperation with Russia on energy issues in line with European governments’ views of the Russian action in Crimea – may prevail. In this case, the EU-Russian disputes over gas imports and regulation will worsen, with potentially negative consequences for South Stream. Moreover, European efforts to diversify away from Russian gas, the success of which has been limited in the past because of the economic costs, will be revived.”

Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification / Ratner, Michael (Congressional Research Service), 20/08/2013, 33p.
“This report focuses on potential approaches that Europe might employ to diversify its sources of natural gas supply, and Russia’s role, as well as identifying some of the issues hindering efforts to develop alternative suppliers of natural gas.”

The European gas market: a reality check / Laura Parmigiani (IFRI), 05/2013, 49p.
“With the approach of the 2014 deadline for the completion of a truly European liberalised energy market, there is growing concern on the adequacy of the market structure with the changed economic and geopolitical environment. Market-based and short-term approaches have been fostered for both gas and electricity markets. Energy and climate policies have therefore a primary function in designing the basic rules for these markets to develop. This study addresses two key issues related to the market design envisaged for the gas sector in Europe. The first raises questions about the adequacy of the market design proposed for the gas market with respect to security of supply. (…) The second issue thus relates to the more practical on-going reforms that establish common rules at European internal cross-border interconnection points and their impacts for the actors of the value chain.”

Energy security and Russia’s gas strategy: The symbiotic relationship between the state and firms / Bilgin, Mert in Communist and Post-Communist Studies 44, 2/04/2011, p.119-127.
“The way how Russia ignores the EU’s quest for liberalization and sustains a control over markets and supplies is directly related to her use of gas as leverage. Russia’s strategy affects many European and non-European countries during all stages: demand, supply and transit. It is not, however, possible to generalize a common statement that the EU’s position is based on a policy of market liberalization while Russia pursues an opposing strategy of increased state control. Russian energy strategy leads markets in Europe; sets tone for energy supplies at homeland and abroad, benefiting from a variety of means. This article shows how a symbiotic relationship between the Russian state and Russian energy companies emerge from a structure in which trade, markets and international politics have been embedded within the state interests and firm behaviour. It identifies the economic and geopolitical trends with regard to recent developments of Russia’s strategy.”

La sécurité gazière de l’Europe: de la dépendance à l’interdépendance / Stoffaës, Christian (La documentation française), 2010, 168p.
This report analyses Europe’s gas dependency and sets out prospects for the future.

Stakeholder views

European Commission views

Power market challenges and the European Energy Security Strategy / EC, Speech by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy, at the Union of the Electricity Industry (Eurelectric) Annual Convention, 3/06/2014, 5p.

European Energy Security Strategy / EC, DG ENER
“In response to the political crisis in Ukraine and the overall importance of a stable and abundant supply of energy for the EU’s citizens and economy, the European Commission has released an EU energy security strategy on 28 May 2014. This strategy is based on an in-depth study of Member States’ energy dependence” and “on eight key pillars that together promote closer cooperation beneficial for all Member States while respecting national energy choices, and are underpinned by the principle of solidarity:

  1. Immediate actions aimed at increasing the EU’s capacity to overcome a major disruption during the winter 2014/2015;
  2. Strengthening emergency/solidarity mechanisms including coordination of risk assessments and contingency plans; and protecting strategic infrastructure;
  3. Moderating energy demand;
  4. Building a well-functioning and fully integrated internal market;
  5. Increasing energy production in the European Union;
  6. Further developing energy technologies;
  7. Diversifying external supplies and related infrastructure;
  8. Improving coordination of national energy policies and speaking with one voice in external energy policy.”

Long-term infrastructure vision for Europe and beyond [COM(2013)711 final] / EC, 14/10/2013, 16p. [This document is in the preparatory phase of examination in Parliament]
“Adequate, integrated and reliable energy networks are a crucial prerequisite not only for Union energy policy goals, but also for the Union’s economic strategy. Developing our energy infrastructure will allow the Union to deliver a properly functioning internal energy market, enhance security of supply, enable the integration of renewable energy sources, increase energy efficiency and allow consumers to benefit from new technologies and intelligent energy use. Energy infrastructures are also indispensable to make the transition into a competitive low-carbon economy happen.”

Implementation of the communication on security of energy supply and international cooperation and of the Energy Council conclusions of November 2011. Report [COM(2013)0638 final] / EC, 13/09/2013, 15p. [This document is in the preparatory phase of examination in Parliament]
“This report reviews the main achievements regarding the external aspects of the EU energy policy since 2011. It was prepared by the Commission services in cooperation with the European External Action Service.”

European Parliament views

Ukraine: MEPs call for EU sanctions against Russian energy firms / EP news, 17/04/2014
Non-legislative resolution calling “for EU measures against Russian firms and their subsidiaries, especially in the energy sector, and Russia’s EU assets, against a background of violence designed to destabilise the east and south of Ukraine.”

International organisations’ views

The Brussels G7 Summit Declaration, 2014, 12p.
p.2-3: Energy

NATO’s energy security agenda / NATO

Facts in Brief: Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Oil & Gas / IEA, 4/03/2014, 2p.
“There has been no physical disruption in supplies of crude oil or natural gas transiting Ukraine to Europe. (…) the current situation to date does not call for an IEA response”

Think-tank and NGO views

G7 must break dangerous dirty energy addiction / Friends of the Earth Europe, 4/06/2014
“Leaders of the Group of seven (G7) countries must break their fossil fuel dependency, and invest in genuine solutions to energy security, like energy efficiency and community-owned renewables, demanded Friends of the Earth Europe today.”

E3G Response to European Commission’s energy security strategy / E3G, 29/05/2014
“The European Commission’s energy security strategy released on 28 May risks rushing Europe into costly and ineffective ‘fixes’ to reduce dependency on Russian gas, rather than offering long-term and resilient solutions.”

Media briefing on the Commission’s energy security strategy / Greenpeace, 28/05/2014, 3p.
“Europe’s reliance on Russian gas is part of a wider problem of import dependency. (…) Replacing energy supplies from Russia with nuclear energy and fossil fuels from elsewhere is not the answer. Changing the dealer will not help Europe kick its dirty energy habit.”

Leaked Commission energy security plan keeps EU hooked on energy imports / Achterberg, Franziska (Greenpeace), 21/05/2014
“The plan makes it clear that the Commission sees the problem in the “strong dependence from a single external supplier” of energy (Russia), but not in the external supply of energy. Its answer to Europe’s addiction to imported fossil fuel is to look for fossil fuels elsewhere. Any measures mentioned in the plan to help save energy or develop home-grown renewables lack teeth, ambition and concrete proposals.”

Producers’ views

Gazprom is major investor in European energy security / Gazprom, 06/2014
“The Company makes consistent efforts aimed at increasing the energy security of European consumers. For instance, the South Stream gas pipeline construction is being implemented in strict compliance with the schedule. First gas via the new route will be supplied in late 2015, as was originally planned. The Nord Stream gas transmission system is technically ready to be fully loaded.”


Imports (by country of origin) – gas – annual data / Eurostat, 14/05/2014
EU28 gas imports: totals and from Russia specifically, in terajoules for 2012.

Energy dependence / Eurostat
“This table shows the extent to which an economy relies upon imports in order to meet its energy needs. The indicator is calculated as net imports divided by the sum of gross inland energy consumption plus bunkers.”

EU programmes and projects

Energy: Commission releases €750 million for infrastructure projects / Europa, Press releases database, 12/05/2014
“The first call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans-European energy infrastructure projects is open. A total of €750 million will be made available for first priority projects mainly in the gas and electricity sectors. These projects will address security of supply issues and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also contribute to the completion of the EU-wide internal energy market and to the integration of renewables to the energy grid.”

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