Gas: consumption fell in France in 2022, consequence of war in Ukraine and global warming

France burned last year 9 % less gas than in 2021, according to the annual GRTGAZ report, the main manager of the national gas transport network.

By Adrien Pécout

Between war in Ukraine and record temperatures, France had various reasons to do without gas. Its gross consumption went down to 430 terawattheures (TWH) in 2022, against 474 TWh in 2021. 9 % less, notes the main manager of the national gas transport network, GRTGAZ, in his balance sheet of the past year, Friday 10 February.

The Engie subsidiary (ex-GDF) talks about two types of sobriety, one “chosen”, the other “suffered”. The first is part of the government, since the fall of 2022, to encourage households and industrialists to energy savings. In addition to the climate issue of turning away from fossil fuels such as oil and gas (cumulation, more than 60 % of the final energy consumption in the country), it is, in the immediate future, Reduced dependence on Russia. Since the offensive of Russian troops in Ukraine, almost a year ago, the European Union (EU) intends to deprive itself, by 2027, of its main gas supplier until then – the second for France before the War, behind Norway.

Another corollary of the conflict, the sobriety “suffered” due to the increase in invoices dissuades certain users from consuming as much as they would like. Already upstairs under the effect of the resumption of economic activity, the prices of gas on the wholesale market have further increased: 97 euros per megawatt hour on average on the territory in 2022. More than double over a year, but Less than in Germany (122 euros), where Russian deliveries per gas pipeline played a preponderant role.

Low nuclear availability

Apart from geopolitics, global warming also pulled consumption down. According to Météo-France, 2022 was “the hottest year ever recorded in metropolitan territory since the start of the statements in 1900”, with 14.5 ° C on average. As a result, heating needs have decreased in winter. The phenomenon is even the first explanation for the fall in consumption from one year to the next for the public distribution network (residential, tertiary sector, small industrialists): – 16.6 % in absolute terms, but – 6 , 2 % by neutralizing climatic effects. Impossible, on the other hand, to determine in this last percentage the distribution between soberies suffered and chosen.

The rise in prices and several economic constraints (inflation on raw materials, supply difficulties, requests in decline) explain partly declines for heavy industry (for the only grtgaz network and not that of the ‘Another infrastructure manager Téréga): – 19 % in metallurgy, ditto in the refining and petrochemical sector.

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/Media reports cited above.