Demand and Supply Battle
The demand side of the energy equation in Europe looks equally impressive but not in favor of the latter. According to the European Commission’s report “EU Energy in Figures” for 2011, Europe consumed 1,698 Mtoe (millions of tons of oil equivalent—a common denominator of energy usage), out of which the largest share (35 percent) was of oil and oil products followed by gas (24 percent) and solid fuels (17 percent). Most of it Europe had to import: 84.9 percent of oil and oil products, 67 percent of gas, and 41 percent of solid fuels. Most of it comes from Russia: 35 percent of oil, 30 percent of natural gas, and 26 percent of solid fuels.164 These figures alone do not tell much, especially if the uneven import patterns across Europe are considered. Since the Euro?pean Union is a unique supranational institution that deals with such important issues in its member states’ lives, as the foreign and security policies, not individual but joint pan-EU oil and gas vulnerabilities should be considered.
Three issues should be paid particular attention in the matter of defying European dependence on the Russian energy carriers. First, the absolute (or unified) and not relative (or individual) energy dependence should be defined. Otherwise, the uneven distribution of the Russian energy carriers throughout Europe will skew the calculation of the overall energy dependence of Europe on Russian supplies as in the situation with a hospital report giving a median indicator of the patients’ temperature, as the famous Russian saying goes. Thus, while several European countries are highly dependent on the energy commodities coming from Russia, others are getting their energy fix elsewhere. For instance, Lithuania gets 92 percent of its gas from Russia; Poland, 91 percent, Slovakia, 98 percent, Bulgaria, 90 percent, Hungary, 86 percept, Finland, 76 percent, Sweden, 46 percent, Greece, 40 percent, and Germany, 30 percent.165 Other EU states are less dependent on Russia: Spain, 14 percent; Portugal, 10 percent; the United Kingdom, 13 percent, and France, 17 percent. Uneven distribution of the volumes of Russian gas also created political rifts within different EU members, where the attitudes toward Russia depend on the degree of its energy supplies: those who see Russia as a security threat are opposed by those who view it as a partner in potentially other spheres.166
Another consideration in determining the nature of EU-Russia energy relations is that the imports of energy carriers from Russia to Europe have been steadily declining since the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to Casier, “the Russian share in the EU’s import of gas has declined drastically. In the late Soviet years, in 1990, the Russian share in EU imports was 55 percent . . . a lot higher than it is today.”167 To a certain degree, this decline is a general theme in the contemporary Europe, which is committed to limiting its consumption of fossil fuels by 2050 and to slowly substituting them for renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and the automobiles’ hybrid engines revolution in the early
2000s.168 Finally, a part of Russia’s imported oil and gas to Europe is a transit from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via the Baku-Novorossiisk, Atyrau-Samara, and Tengiz-Novorossiisk pipelines, sometimes even to its short-term economic loss, but long-term political gain. For instance, in 2006, according to Tomberg, the Russian state gas giant Gazprom signed a sales agreement with Turkmenistan, where it “overpaid $6 billion for the Turkmen gas than it planned but would control all export of the Central Asian gas to Europe till 2010,” which will make it as a de-factor monopolist on the European gas market.169