Europe is not responsible for its winter energy supply, but a senior official said that it had also been lucky.
Fatih Birol is the head of International Energy Agency and warned against complacency. He said there could be energy shortages next year.
One reason is China’s lifting of COVID restrictions. This has led to an increase in economic activity and, therefore, a rise in gas usage.
China could consume 80% of the extra 23 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gases (LNG) that will be produced in this year’s production, according to Mr Birol.
He stated, “Even though there are enough LNG import terminals to handle the imports, it may not have enough gas to import. Therefore, it won’t be easy this winter for Europe.”
Prices could rise again, just like they were during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Friday will mark one year since the start of the war.
“It’s not right to relax, it isn’t right now to celebrate,” said Mr Birol.
He’s asking countries who have made the decision to eliminate nuclear energy to reconsider whether this is the right time.
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Birol noted that European governments made many right decisions when they tried to secure their energy supplies.
These include the construction of more LNG terminals in order to replace Russian gas pipeline deliveries.
They were also lucky to have a mild winter that dampened demand and economic weakness, which led to the first decline in consumption in 40 years.
“For this winter, it is fair to say that we are off-the-hook. We should be able to get through if there are no unexpected events, even a few bruises.
“But the question remains, what will happen next winter?”
He warned that even with renewed efforts to develop new gas fields it could take years for them to come online.
Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s agency that regulates electricity and gas markets, also foresaw possible shortages next winter. This is especially true since Germany will have to fill storage areas without Russian pipeline gas.
He said that although we can do it, we will need to make a lot of effort,” he stated to radio station Deutschlandfunk.