(Updates throughout with detail from document)
BRUSSELS, May 25 (Reuters) - European Union gas demand could fall in the coming 12 months by more than the total volume of gas the EU expects to buy from Russia this year, the European Commission has said.
In a document seen by Reuters, EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said policies to save energy should reduce EU gas use by 60 billion cubic metres (bcm).
That would exceed the combined volume of gas and liquefied natural gas that the EU expects to import from Russia in 2023, according to the document, dated May 23 and reported earlier on Wednesday by the Financial Times.
The EU introduced emergency measures to conserve energy last year, after Russia cut gas flows to Europe and plunged countries into a crisis of soaring energy prices and tight supply.
Exceeding an ongoing EU target to cut gas demand by 15%, the bloc's gas demand dropped by 18% from August 2022 to March 2023, compared with the same period in recent years, as emergency policies, production curtailment in industries and mild winter weather curbed countries' energy use.
«Actions undertaken under REPowerEU allowed among the steepest gas demand decline in history,» the document said, referring to the EU's «REPowerEU» plan to curb Europe's reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, Europe’s Russian gas imports were about 150 bcm annually. (Reporting by Kate Abnett and Julia Payne; editing by Barbara Lewis)