Gazprom’s dominance over European energy supplies may be beginning to slip.
The collapse of oil prices has punished Gazprom’s revenues, but in a new development that is further damaging to the Russian state-owned company, the European Union is also beginning to shake itself of Russian gas.
Russian exports of natural gas through the Nord Stream pipeline – which runs from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea – have dropped by more than half in February from the same period last year, according to Reuters. Average daily deliveries have declined from 98 million cubic meters to 45 million cubic meters.
For 2014 on the whole, the European Union reduced Russian gas imports by 9 percent, the fourth consecutive year of declines.
There are several reasons for this. First, the European economy is growing slowly, if at all. That keeps a lid on natural gas consumption. Second, the 28-member bloc is actually making substantial progress on energy efficiency. Third, Europe has experienced a mild winter, lessening demand for natural gas supplies.