In the first half of this year, Latvia's natural gas consumption was 4.8 terawatt hours, which is 38% less than the average consumption of the period considered in the past five years, according to the public utilities commission (SPRK). There are two reasons for this: a warmer winter and a more expensive price for natural gas. The high price has forced residents and businesses to be frugal.
"If the consumption trend remains the same as it is now, then we should not be worried about meeting European requirements. I would say that we have been up to 50% [cut] in some months,” said Jānis Negribs, head of the market surveillance division of the SPRK Energy Department.
Natural gas consumption has reduced since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, energy expert Gunārs Valdmanis also said.
“The largest consumer of Latvia – Rīga thermal plants, responding to very high natural gas prices and responding to this need for natural gas storage, have not worked since the beginning of the war. Practically [worked] only a few days. This consumption of natural gas has been replaced by electricity purchases from neighboring countries,” Valdmanis said.
The call for saving gas is a shared European message for Russia that the whole EU can take a decision on reducing gas consumption, said Ilze Indriksone, Minister for Economics. The message is particularly important following the threats made by Russia regarding the cessation of gas supplies.
"The main set-up and purpose of [Russia] is to get Europe to divide and no unity. And that is the key thing that everyone needs to be aware of. It is certainly such a preparatory step by showing that Europe is able to agree on a shared vision," the minister said.