EU dependence on Russian natural gas has deepened in recent years

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration • Europe includes the 27 members of the European Union plus the United Kingdom.

The European Union got nearly 44% of its natural gas import needs from Russia in 2020, up from about 26% in 2010, according to Eurostat data. That number stood at 46.8% in the first half of last year.

As Europe decreased its own production of natural gas, its reliance on Russian gas increased, as the above chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows.

This reflects the EU’s decision to use natural gas as a transition fuel on its path to cleaner energy, despite cutting back its own production.

The chart above shows a slightly lower percentage compared to Eurostat due to seasonal changes, different methodologies and because the EIA includes the United Kingdom, which is a major natural gas consumer but doesn’t import Russian gas.

Europe has also been increasing its imports of liquefied natural gas from the United States and Qatar, which helps drive competition with Russian gas.

The EU’s dependence on Russia doesn’t stop at gas. It also imports half of its hard coal (a type of coal that has the highest energy value) from Russia. It’s also the EU’s top import country for crude oil, representing almost 26% of total imports.