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Natural gas in the EU

Natural gas is seen as an important part of the European Union's (EU) energy mix and will play a significant role in Europe in the future.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), it is expected that demand for gas will grow by 50% to 2040, if nations implement their Paris Agreement pledges.

EU Energy Policy and Natural Gas

Competitiveness, security, reliability and sustainability of supply are the priorities of the EU's energy policy agenda, and the EU has set out ambitious energy and climate targets in its Energy 2020 strategy, published in 2010. Within the strategy document, the European Commission recognizes the potential of unconventional gas, clearly recommending the further examination of the unconventional gas potential in Europe: "The potential for further development of EU indigenous fossil fuel resources, including unconventional gas, exists and the role they will play must be assessed in all objectivity".

In December 2011, the European Commission adopted the Energy Roadmap 2050, which further recognizes the potential of unconventional gas for Europe. Based on the three pillars of EU energy policy (security of supply, competitiveness and a lower carbon economy), the Roadmap aims to identify the different scenarios needed to achieve the 2050 CO2 emissions objectives from the energy sector. Within these scenarios the Commission notes that "Shale gas and other unconventional gas sources have become potential important new sources of supply in or around Europe. Together with internal market integration, these developments could relax concerns on gas import dependency."

In October 2014 the European Council approved the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies. This framework sets a target of a 40 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, an EU level target of at least 27 per cent for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU, and a non-binding goal of 27 per cent for energy efficiency.

The European Commission’s Clean Energy for All Europeans package, published in November 2016, proposes legislation to translate the 2030 Framework into law. The Commission expects the legislative process to be completed by early 2019.

NatGas balance EU
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