The European Union needs reliable sources of fuels, and most of all – gas. EU's indigenous gas production is declining. The EU estimates suggest that additional gas import demand may reach 144 bcm per year. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and greater reliance on Russian pipeline gas supply are considered to be the two primary solutions.
In recent years, the EU has been cutting energy consumption.
This trend has been mostly driven by EU's energy efficiency policies and development of the renewable energy industry.
However, in some member countries (the Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, and Poland) fossil fuels still provide up to 90% of the overall energy demand, and are not likely to be replaced by renewables any time soon.
Despite all energy efficiency initiatives and penetration of renewables, fossil fuel imports have grown over the same period of time.
Nowadays, European economies rely primarily on natural gas, being the cleanest fuel available; and the demand will keep rising.
Egypt's resources are currently in the spotlight (in 2015 Eni (Italy) discovered there a new field that may contain approximately 850 bcm of gas).
The US LNG is another option: throughout 2016 the EU received only three shipments from the US, but in the first two months of 2017 four LNG tankers were unloaded in European ports.
Europe is also involved in the TAP gas pipeline project to supply gas from Azerbaijan (10 bcm).
Russia can supply Europe with more than 80 bcm of extra gas annually. This is the goal of the two ongoing pipeline projects i. e.: Nord Stream 2 (55 bcm), and Turk Stream (two strings, 15.75 bcm each, one serving Turkey and the other supplying European countries).
It should be also noted that construction of the second string of the Turk Stream pipeline remains somewhat iffy at this time, since Russia needs more reassurance from potential gas buyers.