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Russian natural gas exports to Europe have dropped by more than 82% in one year, according to Spain's Energy Transition Minister Teresa Ribera.
"In just a year, the flow of gas from Russia fell by more than 82%. In fact, in January 2021, supplies from Russia accounted for about 40% of the gas consumed in Europe. At the moment, this figure does not reach 10%," Ribera was quoted as telling a Spanish broadcaster on Friday.
Spain, which does not depend on Russia for gas supply, has sufficient resources to help its closest neighbors, France and Italy, the Spanish minister added.
Earlier this week, Ribera said that an existing natural gas pipeline from Spain to France via the Pyrenees has boosted its capacity by 18% and could be used immediately if France requests it. The interconnector which passes through Irun has successfully completed the technical start-up tests to increase capacity by 18% over current levels, which means that if fully utilized in the direction of France, the interconnector could provide 6% of France's natural gas consumption.
Russia's natural gas exports to the European Union this year are expected to decline by 50 billion cubic meters (bcm)—or by one-third of last year's volumes—Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said last week.
Russia has drastically cut gas supply to Europe since the invasion of Ukraine, with cuts to gas deliveries culminating (so far) in the shutdown of the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany. Russia said earlier this month that the key gas export route to Germany wouldn't reopen until Western sanctions impeding gas turbine repairs in the West are not lifted.
Europe, for its part, is looking to diversify gas imports away from Russia, and has managed to reduce its gas dependence on Putin materially.
"Last year, Russian gas accounted for 40% of our gas imports. Today it's down to 9% pipeline gas," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the 2022 State of the Union speech last week.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com