How effective has Europe's disconnection from Russian gas been?
Planned results, or the conjunction of several fortunate events?
Previously, gas shipments from Russia to Europe mainly moved through four pipelines: Nordstream (from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, now inoperative after an attack by an unknown perpetrator), Ukraine Gas Transit (three pipelines through Ukraine), Turkstream (Russia to Turkey), and Yamal (Russia through Belarus to Poland).
In 2021, the four pipelines received an average of 2,759 million cubic meters of gas per week combined. However, this amount dropped to 1,634 million cubic meters in 2022 and decreased to 452 million by 2023. This represents a 40% decrease in 2022 and a 72% decrease in 2023 compared to 2021, resulting in an overall decrease of 83.6% from 2021 to 2023.
Europe has been able to replace Russian gas with LNG from the United States and the Middle East while implementing demand destruction measures such as restrictions on electricity use in industry. These measures, combined with rising prices, have reduced demand.
However, two other factors contributed to the disconnection. Still, they may not be present in the future: lower energy demand from China and a relatively warm winter that did not require widespread heating usage.
This raises questions about Europe's ability to continue relying on energy from other countries in a more fragmented world. It raises concerns about whether Europe can maintain its distance from Russia without jumping through hoops to secure gas. Finally, it raises the question of whether it is viable for Europe to depend on the US not only militarily but also in terms of energy.