In 2016/2017, thinkstep compared the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of natural gas imports to Europe provided by Nord Stream 2 pipeline and LNG import alternatives.
Due to the decreasing domestic natural gas production in the future, the European Union will face a substantial natural gas supply gap in the next 30 years. Consequently, additional natural gas has to be imported to Europe to satisfy the demand of natural gas on the European energy market. The reference scenario 2016 of the European Commission – which analyses the trends to 2050 regarding energy, transport and GHG emissions in Europe – determines significant amounts of incremental net imports of natural gas up to 2050.
The study focuses on two supply options to Europe for this additional natural gas demand:
- Pipeline gas imported from the new Russian gas field with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline;
- Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported from Algeria, Australia, Qatar and USA considering existing and emerging natural gas resources.
The GHG results refer to 1 MJ of energy provided to the European natural gas grid at the external border of Europe. The system boundaries for both considered supply options include the production and processing of natural gas from natural resources and its transport either in gaseous or liquefied condition to the entry point of the European natural gas grid. Pipeline natural gas and regasified LNG provided to the European grid are deemed to have the equivalent function.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is the supply option with the smallest carbon footprint associated with the transport of natural gas to Europe in comparison to all investigated import alternatives within the study. Delivering natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is resulting in 2.4 to 4.6 times less GHG emissions than the analysed LNG alternatives.