Global gas consumption saw a historic decline of 1.6 percent in 2022, in the wake of the war in Ukraine and disruptions in Russian gas supplies to Europe, according to preliminary data from Cedigaz, the international association for gas information. Mainly fossil fuel, global gas consumption has fallen to 4,000 billion m3 "in a context of unprecedented energy crisis and high inflation," Cedigaz said in a statement dated May 15.
This is a decline that can be described as historic, according to the association joined by AFP on Wednesday, after a record increase of 4.5% in 2021 and a decline of 2% in 2020, a particular year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. But 2022 will remain the year of "the worst natural gas and energy crisis in history due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine," recalls Cedigaz, which has a hundred members in 40 countries.
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In particular, 2022 saw the largest drop in EU gas consumption in history, down 13% to 353 billion m3," according to the association. Significant declines were also recorded in the CIS countries and Ukraine (-4.6%) and Asia-Oceania (-1.6%), contrasting with growth in North America and the Middle East.
World production remained stable
Among the reasons for the decline in consumption: mild temperatures this winter that reduced "residential-commercial gas demand" in the Northern Hemisphere; and the slowdown in China's economy and soaring gas prices, which dampened demand in industry and led to a movement towards energy savings.
While Russian gas played a "predominant role" in European energy supply, pipeline exports to Europe "fell to the lowest level observed since the mid-1980s, resulting in a loss of 77 billion m3, equivalent to 20% of EU gas consumption in 2021," Cedigaz details. In this context, global natural gas production has remained stable. "The sharp loss in Russian gas sales was offset by strong production growth in the United States (+41 billion m3), thanks to "a rapid ramp-up of LNG supplies" (liquefied natural gas).