The European Union is at risk of finding itself short of gas to fully supply itself by 2023, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has been doing all it can to reduce its imports of fossil fuels from Russia (mainly gas) as quickly as possible. In turn, Russia has decreased its supplies, which is seen as retaliation for Western sanctions following the war.
"For this winter, we are now fully prepared and must look towards the next," said von der Leyen. "Our choices today will determine whether we have the energy we need for 2023 and beyond. So let’s act now."
If Russia completely shuts off gas to the EU and global liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies are short while demand for it increases due to the economic recovery in Asia, the EU could face gas storage shortages.
Specifically, the EU could be short of up to 30 billion cubic metres of LNG, von der Leyen warned, adding that gas supplies next winter could become "even more challenging" than this year.
Therefore, action must be taken quickly, she said. Among other things, von der Leyen referred to a new proposal put on the table by the Commission to speed up authorisation procedures for the roll-out of renewable energy installations. That measure, she said, could help avoid potential shortages.