Europe faces “unprecedented risks” to its natural gas supplies this winter, with the market tightness expected to continue well into 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said. 

The Paris-based body's quarterly Gas Market Report for Europe said most of the cutbacks would have to come from consumer behaviour, such as turning down thermostats by one degree and adjusting boiler temperatures, as well as industrial and utility conservation.

In preparation for this critical situation, the European Union has already agreed on a mandate for a reduction in the bloc's energy consumption by at least 5 per cent during peak price hours. Some business in the area have already taken measures to cut back on natural gas use, sometimes simply by abandoning energy-intensive activities such as making steel and fertiliser.

The EU has already filled storage to 88 per cent, but the IEA assumed 90 per cent would be needed in its Russian cutoff scenario.