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The European Union has reduced its dependence on Russian gas deliveries by 50 percent, but savings will be necessary to make up for the difference with alternative supplies.

This is what the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said this week in a blog post.

“We have already managed to cope with an overall reduction in the share of Russian gas imports from 40% at the beginning of the year to around 20% today, principally by buying more LNG, whose share of gas usage has doubled from 19% to 37%,” the EU’s top diplomat said.

“We have also made progress in buying more pipeline gas from Norway, Algeria and Azerbaijan,” he added.

However, this diversification effort will not be enough to offset all of the lost Russian gas deliveries, which means that consumption needs to be reduced, too. Borrell threw his weight behind the 15-percent gas consumption cut proposed by the European Commission, noting that,

“At heart, this is about how we prepare ourselves for a tough winter and how we organise solidarity among us, pooling risks and resources. We need to develop a real Energy Union. ”

The European Union’s energy ministers last month agreed on a scheme for reducing gas consumption across the bloc beginning this month, after they reached a consensus on exempting certain industries from the cuts and allowing individual member states some leeway in terms of the consumption cut rates.

This followed vocal opposition from EU members that felt they should not be forced to cut their consumption as deeply as others that have few alternative sources of gas in the absence of Russian deliveries.

In his post, however, Borrell noted that the EU’s turn to alternative sources of gas would not compromise its ambition to reduce its use of fossil fuels.

“Despite our short-term needs for fossil fuels to partially replace supplies from Russia, we are not in any way promoting a global renaissance of fossil fuels,” the official also said.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. More