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More gas use in 2015 and 2016 makes CO2 emissions tumble

Brussels,  10 April  2017:  Natural  gas  consumption  in  the  EU - 28  increased  by  4%  in  2015 , compared  with 2014, and by another 7%  in 2016, compared with 2015 , the recent Eurogas statistical exercise showed. As a result,  CO2  emissions in the EU’s power generation sector dropped by 4.5% in 2016, mainly due to a large switch from coal  to gas.1

“In  the  UK,  power  sector  CO2   emissions  even  decreased  by  as  much  as  18.7%  thanks  to  gas2,”  Eurogas Secretary General Beate Raabe points out, “and its potential  to reduce CO2 emissions in all sectors is still large:  66% in power generation,  42%  in heating  and  25%  in transport.  Blend in  renewable gas  over timeand emissions can go towards zero.”

As the winters of 2015 and 2016 were colder, more gas was particularly used for heating in EU households. This shows the  flexibility of the gas system, compared with the  limitations of  the  power  grid, to cope with large differences in demand.  Gas demand also grew  in power generation,  industry and transport  in  some countries  in 2015 and  more widely in 2016.  A lot more electricity was produced from gas in France (+61%), where combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) became more competitive, and in the Netherlands.

Gas use is also very efficient and a switch from coal and oil can gain  45% in power generation and  65% in heating”,  says  Ms  Raabe.  New  gas  heating  systems  are  the  most  economic  way  to  realise  the  energy transition  in  buildings.  The  recently  launched  Eurogas  microsite provides these and further details.

Gas  works  well  with  variable  renewables,  such  as  wind  and  sun,  but  also  ambient  heat.  Agora  and Fraunhofer  have  pointed out  the  role of  natural  gas  is  in  heating.3 Also  in  Germany,  electricity  from  gas stepped in during lower wind availability in 2016.As  full electrification is facing  high costsand technical limits, the flexibility and energy storage capability of the existing gas grid are becoming more apparent.

In the transport sector,  gas is  gaining  new market  share  both as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid natural gas (LNG). CNG for cars, vans and fleet vehicles have grown particularly popular in Czechia. LNG is increasingly becoming available  for trucks  and as a  maritime fuel, like recently in Rotterdam  and  in  Baltic and Mediterranean ports, reducing all transport emissions and helping ships meet sulphur regulations. 

Gas demand increased in 23 Member States and in Switzerland between 2015 and 2016 to 4 928.6 TWh GCV, equivalent to 456.3 bcm or 381.4 mtoe NCV.It  very  slightly  decreased  only  in  Finland.  European production is further declining, whilst the availability of LNG is increasing, particularly from the Americas.

Supplies  of  renewable  gases  are  also  developing.  In  2016  France  recorded  the  largest  increase  of biomethane  injected  into  the  national  gas  grid:  162%  compared  with  2015.  Several  power-to-gas  plants turning excess renewable electricity into hydrogen or synthetic methane are operating in the EU.



Energy Transition in the Power Sector in Europe: State of Affairs in 2016, Agora and Sandbag,

UK department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: : “A climate friendly building heating mix in 2030 consists of 40 percent natural gas, 25 

percent heat pumps, and 20 percent heat networks.”

See for example studies in the UK and Spain: +

TWh GCV = terawatt-hours gross calorific value; bcm = billion cubic metres; mtoe NVC = million tonnes of oil equivalent net calorific value - Based on terawatt hours, the applied calorific values (10.8 kWh/cubic metre GCV; 11.63 TWh/MTOE NCV; NCV = 0.9 GCV) represent a European average.


Note  to  Editors:  Eurogas  is  an  association  representing  43  companies  and  associations  engaged  in  the  wholesale,  retail  and distribution  of  gas  in  Europe.  Eurogas  provides  data  and  information  relevant  to  EU  decision  makers  and  opinion  formers  in making the right policy choices.

Press contact: Kathleen Sinnott,, tel. +32 2 894 48 09

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