Günther Oettinger

Ukraine crisis sparks EU focus on gas diversity

Events in Ukraine have prompted the European Commission to forge a plan to cut Europe’s dependence on energy imports, putting a focus on more diverse sources of gas.

The EU imports 53 per cent of all the energy it consumes at a cost of more than €1 billion per day. This includes 66 per cent of its natural gas.

European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said: “The EU and its member states have a long list of homework in front of them: collectively, we need to reinforce our solidarity with more vulnerable member states. We also need to complete the internal energy market, improve our infrastructure, become more energy efficient and better exploit our own energy resources. Moreover, we need to accelerate the diversification of external energy suppliers, especially for gas.”

In 2013, 39 per cent of EU gas imports came from Russia, with 33 per cent from Norway and 22 per cent from North Africa. The EU wants to diversify supplier countries and supply routes by seeking ties to new partner countries, such as in the Caspian Basin region.

However, Greenpeace EU energy policy director Franziska Achterberg claimed the Commission’s plan would “do very little” to reduce EU dependence on energy imports. “Throwing money at new gas infrastructure to get Europe off Russian gas will not cure the addiction to imported fossil fuels. Europe would still be a junkie desperate for a fix,” he said.

“Instead, Europe should kick the habit and exploit the enormous potential for energy savings and home-grown renewables by setting ambitious targets for 2030.”


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