EU still net energy importer

European Union statistics office finds more than half of energy supply comes from foreign sources.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 4, 2016 at 8:39 AM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Members of the European Union imported more than half of their energy in 2014, data from the region's statistics office showed.

Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union, said member states relied on imports for 53.4 percent of their energy needs in 2014, the last full year for which the office has data.

Data show the level of dependency on foreign reserves was higher than in 1990, but lower than peak levels reached in 2008.

"The evolution of EU energy dependency has not been constant between 1990 and 2014, however, it has continuously stood above 50 percent since 2004," Eurostat said in its release.

European efforts to reduce dependency vary from diversification schemes to fledgling shale natural gas campaigns in the United Kingdom. Output from North Sea basins, meanwhile, is dwindling as fields there start maturing.

The British government last week said it would help incentivize the North Sea energy sector as output declines and job losses mount. London, meanwhile, is working to advance a shale gas sector, stating that, without one, natural gas imports could increase from around 45 percent of demand in 2011 to 76 percent by 2030.

The British economy is among the least dependent on foreign reserves among member states, with 45.5 percent of its energy coming from outside the region in 2014, Eurostat said.

Europe is looking to Azerbaijan as a source of diversity for an energy market dominated by Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom. The Trans-Adriatic pipeline will start delivering gas from the Shah Deniz gas project offshore Azerbaijan in 2019. TAP would connect to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas project running through Turkey to the Greek border.

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