Friday, November 05, 2021

Why Europe's Gas Prices are Rising

In the last year gas prices in Europe have risen more than 500%. This has led to the collapse of a number of energy suppliers and, more importantly, to huge increases to household energy bills. Gas supplies across Europe are also at such low levels that a cold winter could see governments having to cut supplies to both industry and households. 

In How Does Europe Get its Gas the Financial Times explores Europe's gas pipeline infrastructure and explains some of the reasons behind the current supply crisis. One of the main problems is that Europe has a huge demand for natural gas and relies on importing most of it from outside of the European Union. 

Much of Europe's gas is supplied from Russia, which makes it very susceptible to the political maneuvers of Vladimir Putin. Currently it is believed that Putin is limiting the supply of gas to Europe in order to pressure the EU into approving a new gas pipeline into the continent. Russia has built a pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which runs at the bottom of the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. However Germany has yet to approve its use. Many believe that Putin is restricting gas supplies to Europe in an attempt to force Germany to approve the operation of the new Baltic Sea pipeline. 

Elsewhere Europe's gas supplies are facing challenges both from dwindling domestic supplies and from political problems in North Africa. All of these gas supply problems have left European politicians praying for a mild winter.

The Financial Times uses a Mapbox Storymap to visualize Europe's gas supply infrastructure and to highlight why this infrastructure is facing a huge supply problem. The Mapbox Storymap template is a popular method for individuals and organizations to create interactive mapped narratives. It is a relatively easy and quick way to create visualizations and stories which involve geographical elements.

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