1.0. Europe does have a choice – it does not have to make itself more dependent on Russian gas.
Falling European natural gas production has been used as a justification for the need for the proposed Nordstream 2 pipeline. This pipeline would have the capacity to bring a further 55bcm from the Russian Baltic coast through the Baltic Sea to eastern Germany. Gazprom argues that falling European production puts the Europeans in a position that they have no choice but to accept the prospect of more Russian gas. However, that ‘no choice’ view would have the effect of making Europe potentially even more dependent on Russian gas. Already Gazprom provides approximately 40% of EU imports. If Nordstream 2 does provide additional capacity, then that 40% figure will rise significantly, making Europe yet more dependent on Gazprom and Russia. Europe in fact does have some choice. It can push forward with greater deployment of renewables, it can supress demand and, crucially, it has more gas options.