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Europe’s Gas Storage Compared to Historical Consumption

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Europe's gas storage levels

Europe’s Gas Storage Compared to Historical Consumption

In the wake of the energy crisis, Europe has been rushing to cut ties with Russian gas.

In 2021, Russia accounted for around 45% of the EU’s gas imports. As of August 2022, that figure was around 17%.

However, reducing reliance on Russian gas after years of dependence has put Europe in a precarious situation ahead of winter. To reduce the possibility of an energy crunch in the heating season, the EU bloc set a target to fill 80% of its underground gas storage by November 1.

This infographic puts Europe’s current gas storage levels in perspective by comparing them with annual gas consumption in 2021, based on data from Gas Infrastructure Europe as of November 28, 2022.

Heat For the Winter

As winter approaches, many European countries have near-full gas storage levels, with the overall EU gas storage 94% full. But comparing storage with annual consumption paints a different picture.

CountryTotal Storage Capacity (TWh)% of Storage FilledStorage as a % of Annual Consumption
🇺🇦 Ukraine*32530%38%
🇩🇪 Germany24699%27%
🇮🇹 Italy19392%25%
🇳🇱 Netherlands13989%35%
🇫🇷 France13498%30%
🇦🇹 Austria9695%100%
🇭🇺 Hungary6883%52%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic4496%46%
🇸🇰 Slovakia3991%67%
🇵🇱 Poland3698%15%
🇪🇸 Spain3597%10%
🇷🇴 Romania3394%27%
🇱🇻 Latvia2459%122%
🇩🇰 Denmark1098%42%
🇬🇧 UK*10100%1%
🇧🇪 Belgium8100%5%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria693%16%
🇭🇷 Croatia595%16%
🇵🇹 Portugal498%7%
🇸🇪 Sweden0.193%1%
EU 🇪🇺111994%28%

*Ukraine and UK are non-EU countries. Nine EU countries that are not on the list do not have any gas storage sites.

Ukraine has the largest storage capacity, and while it’s only 30% full, it represents nearly 40% of the country’s annual gas consumption. However, Russia’s continuing attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure may squeeze supplies as temperatures drop.

The Nations at Risk of Running Low on Gas

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and largest importer of Russian gas, has almost completely filled its gas storage. Despite this, storage supplies only amount to 27% of annual German gas consumption. Given that half of all German households use natural gas for heating, these stocks are especially important as winter peaks.

While storage facilities in countries like Poland, Spain, and Belgium are over 90% full, they represent only a fraction of annual gas consumption at 15%, 10%, and 5% respectively. Meanwhile, countries like Austria and Latvia have stored more gas than they consume in an entire year.

The UK’s gas storage is full but makes up just 1% of its annual consumption. The majority of UK homes rely on gas for heating, and it also accounts for 30% of electricity generation. A gas crunch could lead to both higher heating and electricity prices for UK residents.

What’s Next for Europe’s Gas Crisis?

This year, warmer-than-normal temperatures and efforts to reduce gas consumption have both played important roles in controlling Europe’s energy crisis before winter sets in.

However, the region’s reliance on Russia was decades in the making, and replacing it won’t be easy. EU countries’ gas storage sites are likely to be depleted by the spring of 2023. Without pipeline gas from Russia, Europe will have limited import capacity, and filling gas storage sites for next winter could be challenging.

Europe is undertaking a number of initiatives to combat the crisis. Countries in the region (including the UK) have pledged over $700 billion to reduce energy costs for households and to meet the liquidity needs of power companies. This, along with lower consumer demand due to high gas prices, will help lessen the impacts of the crisis in the short term.

However, looking ahead to 2023 and 2024, if gas prices remain high, industrial production is likely to fall as producers cut costs. Combined with low consumer confidence and high inflation, a fall in industrial output will likely exacerbate a potential recession, should things unfold that way.

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Energy Shift

Visualizing the Rise of the U.S. as Top Crude Oil Producer

Over the last decade, the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top producer of crude oil.

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Line chart showing how the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's top producer of crude oil.

Visualizing the Rise of the U.S. as Top Crude Oil Producer

Over the last decade, the United States has established itself as the world’s top producer of crude oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia.

This infographic illustrates the rise of the U.S. as the biggest oil producer, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

U.S. Takes Lead in 2018

Over the last three decades, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia have alternated as the top crude producers, but always by small margins.

During the 1990s, Saudi Arabia dominated crude production, taking advantage of its extensive oil reserves. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 42% of the country’s GDP, 87% of its budget revenues, and 90% of export earnings.

However, during the 2000s, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in production during some years, following strategic investments in expanding its oil infrastructure. The majority of Russia’s oil goes to OECD Europe (60%), with around 20% going to China.

Crude Oil Production United StatesSaudi ArabiaRussia
199211.93%13.97%12.74%
199311.50%13.68%11.35%
199410.96%13.32%10.50%
199510.60%13.17%9.96%
199610.21%12.87%9.49%
19979.84%12.73%9.29%
19989.39%12.58%9.05%
19999.06%11.99%9.33%
20008.67%12.33%9.64%
20018.65%11.89%10.45%
20028.63%11.49%11.53%
20038.05%12.92%12.10%
20047.46%12.74%12.67%
20057.00%13.21%12.82%
20066.85%13.00%12.90%
20076.84%12.38%13.29%
20086.71%12.44%12.56%
20097.32%11.28%12.98%
20107.37%11.31%13.03%
20117.55%12.81%13.02%
20128.50%13.04%12.94%
20139.76%12.86%13.10%
201411.18%12.60%12.86%
201511.67%12.77%12.66%
201610.92%13.12%13.02%
201711.53%12.68%13.05%
201813.21%12.77%12.96%
201914.90%12.15%13.20%
202014.87%12.37%12.97%
202114.59%12.06%13.10%
202214.73%13.17%12.76%

Over the 2010s, the U.S. witnessed an increase in domestic production, much of it attributable to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the shale formations ranging from Texas to North Dakota. It became the world’s largest oil producer in 2018, outproducing Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. accounted for 14.7% of crude oil production worldwide in 2022, compared to 13.1% for Saudi Arabia and 12.7% for Russia.

Despite leading petroleum production, the U.S. still trails seven countries in remaining proven reserves underground, with 55,251 million barrels.

Venezuela has the biggest reserves with 303,221 million barrels. Saudi Arabia, with 267,192 million barrels, occupies the second spot, while Russia is seventh with 80,000 million barrels.

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Energy Shift

Visualizing All the Nuclear Waste in the World

Despite concerns about nuclear waste, high-level radioactive waste constitutes less than 0.25% of all radioactive waste ever generated.

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Graphic cubes illustrating the global volume of nuclear waste and its disposal methods.

Visualizing All the Nuclear Waste in the World

Originally posted on the Decarbonization Channel. Subscribe to the free mailing list to be the first to receive decarbonization-related visualizations, with a focus on the U.S. power sector.

Nuclear power is among the safest and cleanest sources of electricity, making it a critical part of the clean energy transition.

However, nuclear waste, an inevitable byproduct, is often misunderstood.

In collaboration with the National Public Utilities Council, this graphic shows the volume of all existing nuclear waste, categorized by its level of hazardousness and disposal requirements, based on data from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Storage and Disposal

Nuclear provides about 10% of global electricity generation.

Nuclear waste, produced as a result of this, can be divided into four different types:

  • Very low-level waste: Waste suitable for near-surface landfills, requiring lower containment and isolation.
  • Low-level waste: Waste needing robust containment for up to a few hundred years, suitable for disposal in engineered near-surface facilities.
  • Intermediate-level waste: Waste that requires a greater degree of containment and isolation than that provided by near-surface disposal.
  • High-level waste: Waste is disposed of in deep, stable geological formations, typically several hundred meters below the surface.

Despite safety concerns, high-level radioactive waste constitutes less than 0.25% of total radioactive waste reported to the IAEA.

Waste ClassDisposed (cubic meters)Stored (cubic meters)Total (cubic meters)
Very low-level waste758,802313,8821,072,684
Low-level waste1,825,558204,8582,030,416
Intermediate level waste671,097201,893872,990
High-level waste3,9605,3239,283

Stored and disposed radioactive waste reported to the IAEA under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Data is from the last reporting year which varies by reporting country, 2019-2023.

The amount of waste produced by the nuclear power industry is small compared to other industrial activities.

While flammable liquids comprise 82% of the hazardous materials shipped annually in the U.S., radioactive waste accounts for only 0.01%.

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