A report from the US Energy Information Administration found that in 2013, Russia exported an average of 15.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas on pipelines to countries in Eastern and Western Europe, 16% more than in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Eastern Bloc Research, and Russian Energy Monthly. Russia’s natural gas pipeline exports to Western Europe drove most of this increase, rising by 20%, to 12.3 Bcf/d.
The entire increase in Russian natural gas exports to Western Europe in 2013 occurred in three countries – Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Italy had the largest increase in natural gas pipeline imports from Russia in 2013, receiving 2.4 Bcf/d of natural gas. This reflected a 1.0 Bcf/d increase over 2012. Italy accounted for 16% of total Russian natural gas pipeline exports to Eastern and Western Europe in 2013, versus 11% in 2012. Italy can receive Russian natural gas on the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and Soyuz (Union) pipelines, which pass through Ukraine.
Germany saw its natural gas pipeline imports from Russia increase in 2013 to 3.9 Bcf/d. This was 0.7 Bcf/d over 2012 levels. Germany can receive Russian gas on the same pipelines as Italy, as well as the Yamal-Europe and Northern Lights pipelines. However, most of Germany’s Russian gas imports now flow via the Nord Stream pipeline, which bypasses transit states, such as Ukraine and Poland, and brings gas directly from Russia via the Baltic Sea.
The United Kingdom’s natural gas pipeline imports from Russia increased to 1.2 Bcf/d in 2013, 0.4 Bcf/d more than in 2012. The United Kingdom mainly imports natural gas from Russia via the Nord Stream pipeline, along with other interconnecting pipelines.
Currently, Russia’s entire natural gas pipeline exports flow to Europe, with the exception of small volumes to Armenia, in Eurasia. However, following several years of negotiations, Russian and Chinese officials agreed last week to a 30-year contract for the construction and operation of the Power of Siberia pipeline, which would initially flow 3.7 Bcf/d of Russian natural gas produced in East Siberia to northern China, with the trade volume eventually reaching 6.4 Bcf/d. However, Russia will continue to export pipeline gas exclusively to Europe and Armenia until the Power of Siberia pipeline begins operating, with official commencement scheduled for late 2017. Since 2009, Russia has also exported less than 1 Bcf per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Sakhalin Energy LNG plant. LNG exports from Russia could increase with the addition of a third train in Sakhalin between 2017 and 2018, and with completion of the Yamal LNG project.
While Europe imported more natural gas last year from Russia, it imported less natural gas overall. Total natural gas imports into Eastern and Western Europe declined from 43.8 Bcf/d in 2012 to 42.2 Bcf/d in 2013, raising Russia’s share from 31% to 37%. The portion of Russian production reaching Eastern and Western Europe on pipelines running through Ukraine also rose, from 18% to 19%. EIA estimates that 16% of all natural gas consumed last year in Europe (including non-European Union countries and Balkan states) flowed from Russia to importing countries on pipelines that passed through Ukraine. Unlike the United States, countries in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Europe have seen a decrease in natural gas production and consumption since 2005. While this has occurred, OECD Europehas increased its levels of coal consumption.