Russia’s share in Germany’s gas imports was 39% in 1H18

Germany’s export-import regulator BAFA used to break down natural gas imports by supplying country. For 2016 and 2017, BAFA provided no breakdown to avoid disclosing commercially sensitive information. For 1H2018, unexpectedly, the breakdown is back. Russia accounted for 39% of Germany’s natural gas imports in January-June 2018 by energy content. The Netherlands’ share was 31% and Norway’s, 26%.

Russia’s reported share grew from 34.4% in 1H2015 to 38.9% in 1H2018. This might look like a moderate increase but only if one ignored the growth in Germany’s overall gas imports. In 1H2018, the energy content of imported gas was up 27% on 1H2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 8%. But imports from Russia grew must faster, by 44%, for a CAGR of 13%. Not bad at all.

What seems puzzling is why imports from the Netherlands were up so much, both in absolute and in relative terms. Gas from the Netherlands made up 29% of German imports in 1H2015; three years later, its share rose to 31%. In energy terms, the overall growth over the three years was 36% and the CAGR was a little short of 11%. Keeping in mind the natural production decline and the planned shutdown of the Groningen field in the Netherlands, it seems counterintuitive. These volumes must include gas from other places (including regasified LNG) that gets imported into Germany via the Netherlands.

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