A state of play

Gas in the Transition

Europe is in a period of transition, where we find ourselves needing to decarbonise energy systems and source resilient supply in the face of geopolitical shocks. In such a situation, we need to make use of as many solutions that can contribute actively to achieving our Green Deal and Just Transition targets. Gaseous energies are vital for decarbonising Europe’s energy mix and achieving our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The European Union used over 350 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2021. Because of its versatility and efficiency, Europe has long used gaseous fuels for various end-uses. To decarbonise the continent while increasing the security of our supply, gaseous energies will be especially useful. The ability to use renewable and low-carbon gases through existing and repurposed gaseous infrastructure makes it an existing resource for the energy transition. This will become increasingly the case as we scale up biomethane and hydrogen production for additional emissions reductions.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine Europe has drastically reduced its reliance on gas imports from Russia. In 2023 the EU imported over half of its gas from Norway, the US, and the UK, with additional volumes coming from Qatar and North Africa.

Gas Use in Europe

Gas plays a pivotal role in multiple sectors.

Gases provide stability in power generation, as gas-fired power plants provide a flexible source of electricity that allows for quickly increasing or decreasing production to meet fluctuating demand, a power generation technology that could be further decarbonised through the use of carbon capture and storage

In buildings, gases serve as a fuel for residential and commercial heating systems. Gas furnaces and boilers are commonly used for space heating, cooking and hot water production in homes, businesses, and institutions.

The industrial sector is another major consumer of gas in Europe, utilising it as a feedstock in various manufacturing processes and as a fuel for heat and power. Examples of this are those industries producing steel, ceramics and chemical products like fertilisers, plastics and pharmaceuticals.

In the transport sector, gas is used primarily in road and maritime vehicles, and can be used in its compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) forms to lower GHG emissions and reduce air pollution. The industry is working to improve the availability of infrastructure for the ramp-up of gaseous fuel use in transport as a method for reducing emissions.

Renewable and low-carbon alternatives like biogas, biomethane, hydrogen, and synthetic gases add variety to the options for gaseous energies in Europe. On top of the end-uses and emissions reductions that natural gas can provide, these energies provide further potential to decarbonise our energy mix in line with climate goals. Eurogas encourages the scaleup of biomethane and hydrogen.