Russia miscalculated: the European Union no longer needs gas from the aggressor state. Why?

September 16, 2022

The European Union chose not to depend on Russian gas: now its share in the daily balance of the European market barely makes 9%

Over the past month, the structure of sources of blue fuel supply to the European market has changed significantly: now, the share of Russian gas in the daily balance barely makes 9%. Instead, the leaders are: gas from LNG terminals (46%), the North Sea shelf (29%), pipeline gas from North Africa (12%) and the Caspian region (4%).

Such distribution of supply sources is transitional on the way to an energy balance with a zero share of gas from the terrorist state. It is quite likely that the European Union will pass the next heating season without a single cubic meter of Russian gas. At least several factors point to this.

Small steps to gas independence

First of all, there is a clear position of the German establishment regarding the Russian monopolist Gazprom as an unreliable supplier of natural gas.

Secondly, implementation of new infrastructure projects will actually turn the EU from the east to the southwest, in terms of gas supply.

These trends were clearly observed during the recent meeting of the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. They discussed the prospects of replacing Russian gas on the EU market. Currently, we are talking about the start of supplies from 2023 in the amount of up to 20 BCM of Israeli gas.

Such agreements seem quite realistic due to the sufficiency of natural gas reserves in Israel and the readiness of the infrastructure to export it. The fact that in the first half of 2022 gas production in Israel increased by 22% and amounted to 10.85 BCM on an annual basis is quite indicative, and exports increased by 35%, reaching 4.59 BCM. 

Based on the current production and domestic consumption figures, Israel can already replace 3% of this year's volume of Russian gas in the EU market. Most of the total volume of gas was produced at the Tamar and Leviathan fields (the eastern part of the Israeli economic zone in the Mediterranean), which, according to experts, contain more than 630 BCM of proven natural gas reserves.

The indicated volumes of blue fuel can be transported to the European market by pipeline transport (90 km) via the Egyptian gas network (near the city of El-Arish), and then shipped to LNG tankers at the Idku and Damietta LNG terminals.

However, a further increase in Israeli natural gas production and exports involves several geopolitical risks.

Opportunities and risks of substitution

The first one is that Lebanon and Israel have been formally at war since 1948, so the border demarcation remains an issue. Official Beirut uses this fact and rejects Jerusalem's claims to the area of ​​the Mediterranean Sea shelf (856 sq. km), where Israeli experts explored the rich Karish gas field. 

Such disputes also involve a military component. For example, in June 2022, after the beginning of drilling, Lebanon deployed four drones, but they were quickly shot down by the Israel Defense Forces. On the eve of this incident, the leader of Hizbollah paramilitary Islamist organisation threatened with high-precision artillery strikes.

In fact, Lebanon's claims to the Karish gas field are groundless. Official Beirut has sufficient gas reserves in its Mediterranean economic zone, but the lack of investments leaves all projects on paper.

There may be some kind of an agreement between the Kremlin and Lebanon regarding escalation of this conflict in exchange for financial and technical assistance.

Secondly, there is a limited capacity of the existing infrastructure and therefore, the need to build a new corridor for the delivery of Israeli gas to the EU.

Such a project exists — it is the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline (EastMed), set to connect the Israeli shelf deposits with mainland Greece via the islands of Cyprus and Crete. However, this pipeline has a bottleneck: it lies in the Lebanese economic zone. Most likely, the Russian Federation will take advantage of this nuance and try various ways to obstruct alternative supplies of blue fuel to the European market.

There is also another scenario for the implementation of this infrastructure project: a change in the pipeline route to connect it to the gas transportation system of Turkey, which has recently cooperated quite closely with the terrorist state.

What if EastMed is not implemented?

Such uncertain prospects of EastMed prompted Israel to develop another project: an energy bridge between the Middle East and the EU.

They in Jerusalem decided that in case of a failure with the construction of the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, power generation stations will be built using natural gas, and the produced electricity will be transmitted to the European market.

To implement it, you need to lay two cables. The first one will pass at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea via Crete and connect the energy systems of Egypt and Greece. The second cable will allow Israel to directly export electricity to the EU. The seriousness of these intentions is evidenced by the inclusion of the mentioned infrastructure facilities in the long-term plan for the development of the European energy system.

However, under this model of cooperation, there are also risks of the Russian intervention, for example, speculations and provocations surrounding Rosatom's participation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt (El Dabaa). The aggressor can use similar pressure on official Ankara, because it was also allowed to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

Unfortunately, the rather passive position of the IAEA regarding the crimes at the Zaporizhia NPP and the Chornobyl NPP Alienation Zone only frees the hands of the tyrant Vladimir Putin to spread nuclear blackmail to the Middle East and Africa.

Therefore, today the success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine alone can protect the civilised world from the Kremlin terrorists.


Maksym Bielawski

Leading Expert, Energy Programmes

Born in 1986 in Zhytomyr oblast


Zhytomyr State Technological University (2008)

Ph.D in Technical Science (2010)

Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas (2012)

Author of 17 patents and 100 scientific works

Work Experience:

2008 – 2011 — Operator of Gas Infrastructure Units, Controller of Gas Transmission System in Rivne Division of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2011 – 2017 — Leading Engineer, Deputy Head of Press-Service, Head of Public Relation Department of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2017 – 2018 — HR Director of PJSC "Maine Gas Pipelines of Ukraine", Advisor to the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine

2021 — Director of Integrated Communications of NJSC "Naftogaz of Ukraine"