Reuters Henning Gloystein
* Russia's EU market share to stay around 30 pct
* New supplies seen, mainly from overseas LNG
The European Union aims to diversify away from Russian natural gas supplies, yet Reuters research indicates the EU's biggest provider a decade from now could easily still be Russia.
Billions are to be spent on piping gas from Azerbaijan while new finds in Africa and eastern Mediterranean also promise new supply for the EU, which currently buys mostly from Russia and Norway.
Europe also gets liquefied natural gas (LNG), mostly from Qatar, and the U.S. shale boom could free up LNG exports from there in coming years, too.
But growth in Europe's demand for gas will eat up much of the new potential supply, and the Russians show little willingness to fade away as they gear up to defend their position through massive projects, such as the $35 billion South Stream pipeline to Italy.
"Russia will continue to remain Europe's primary energy supplier, including natural gas supplies, for many years and possibly decades," a U.S. congressional research paper on Europe's energy security said in March.
Reuters' own research indicates that in 2023 Russia will likely remain the dominant supplier, as it boosts exports while EU and Norwegian output declines.