In Search of Security: the Gas Supply
The European Union consumes 450 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Of this amount 125 billion are provided by only one supplier: Gazprom, Russia's state-owned energy company. And 75 billion cubic meters transit via Ukraine. But Europe's options for replacing Russian gas are very limited. Energy supply has become a key concern. It should be noted that EU member states are the world's largest energy importer. To tackle this crucial issue experts considered that it was necessary to invest immediately USD 1.4 trillion in improving the infrastructures, mainly in transport and storage facilities. However, the European countries that want at least to decrease their dependence on Russian gas have very few alternatives. Obviously, these countries could try to purchase more significant volumes from other traditional suppliers such as Norway or Algeria. But it is difficult because of higher demand from emerging markets. The most promising option is the import of liquefied natural gas. LNG represents about 25% of european natural gas imports, up from 15% in 2010.The principal suppliers of LNG to Europe include Algeria,Egypt and Qatar.Other countries are looking to shale gas. But there is no European consensus over pursuing "fracking". France and Germany oppose the idea. What other options are on the table? The sun and the wind! But At this point, these sources of energy cannot replace fossil and fuels given the lack of more effective storage technologies. Finally, nuclear energy should be an attractive option.But since the Fukushima disaster many european citizens are very reluctant to accept the construction of new plants. And Germany announced that it would phase out the use of its nuclear power plants by 2020. To achieve energy security Europe will have to reduce its dependence on Russia. However, alternative solutions could be difficult to set up.