The reduction in Russian gas imports is pressing, especially for the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, which are among the most dependent on Moscow to meet their energy needs and therefore among those most exposed to a possible supply disruption, write EFEaccording to Rador.

Rosneft Gas StationPhoto: Wikimedia Commons

Along with the Baltic states, Eastern Europe and the Balkans “are the most exposed regions,” warns the renowned Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW).

The exposure is very uneven among the countries and “it is not excluded that some of them will go into recession” if they no longer receive Russian gas, either because of a possible European embargo on Moscow or because the Kremlin would decide to suspend exports to the Old Continent. , says EFE Artem Kochnev, economist at WIIW.

As long as this does not happen, “we can be confident that it is possible to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy sources by two-thirds by the end of the year, as proposed by the European Union (EU), although this will depend mainly on of technical problems “, he says.

In addition to finding alternative suppliers in an already tight market, the problem is that, technically, it is not possible to use the same facilities for different energy sources.

According to Kochnev, the main alternative to Russian gas, in the short and medium term, is liquefied natural gas (LNG), mainly from the USA, but most of the necessary regasification facilities are in the western part of the EU.

Thus, while Spain has seven regasification stations, many in the central and eastern countries, including Germany, do not have and still do not build them, as they receive Russian gas mainly through gas pipelines.

The situation in the different countries of the region is also very different.


In Austria, it is estimated that 80% of the imported gas comes from Russia, although part of it is sent to other markets in the region.

The industry consumes 40% of this gas, 30% consumes power plants, 20% housing, hot water and heating, and 10% public transport.

Gas reserves are currently at 18% capacity, with which Austria can meet its needs from now until April.

A little less exposed is the Alpine country in terms of oil imports, with a share of Russian imports of 25%.

Czech Republic and Slovakia

87% of the natural gas imported by the Czech Republic is of Russian origin, while in the case of oil the share reaches 50%. As a precaution, the country has decided to increase its gas reserves by 200 million cubic meters.

Neighboring Slovakia, which borders Ukraine, receives 100% of Russia’s natural gas and oil needs, while its two nuclear power plants are of Russian construction, based on Russian technology and uranium supplies.


Almost all energy imports from Hungary, which cover 70% of consumption, currently come from Russia.

On the other hand, Budapest has turned to the state-owned nuclear company Rosatom to expand its only nuclear power plant.


Bulgaria has been the closest and most loyal country in south-eastern Europe to the Soviet Union for decades, and as such is now completely dependent on energy imports. According to local analysts, up to 90% of its oil and gas consumption comes from Russia.

The main oil refinery is owned by the Russian consortium Lukoil, which covers 60% of its fuel needs. In addition, the only nuclear power plant in the country (Kozloduy) is of Russian construction and is completely dependent on nuclear fuel imported from Russia.


Romania, another neighbor of Ukraine, is the second largest producer of oil and gas in the EU and therefore the country in the region least dependent on Russian energy.

It imports 25% of the natural gas it consumes, which comes entirely from Russia, while it buys 70% of the oil it needs from abroad, of which 40% comes from Russia.

Romania has large amounts of untapped natural gas in the Black Sea and the capacity to produce clay gas as well.

However, local analysts believe that the lack of strategic vision and the legal uncertainty in the Balkan country explain why these reserves have not been exploited so far, which would allow Romania to be energy independent and export to other countries.


Croatia is one of the least dependent countries in Russia for energy imports. Only 22% of the natural gas consumed by the Balkan country comes from Russia.


Serbia is a historic ally of Russia and has been negotiating its entry into the EU for years. 85% of the natural gas consumed by the Balkan country is imported from Russia.

In terms of oil, Serbia has to import almost 80% of its needs, and here too it is completely dependent on purchases from Russia.

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