File - Russian gas giant Gazprom has made no secret it aims to claw back its market share, having built a new pipeline to Germany.
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Europe will have trouble weaning itself off Russian natural gas, analysts say, as its faces declining production at home and Asian competition for supplies.The diversification effort has been bearing fruit: imports of Russian natural gas fell from 45.1 percent of the EU's total to 31.9 percent over a decade to 2012, according to data from the EU's statistics agency, Eurostat.However, EU production, which currently covers a third of consumption, is expected to fall by up to 20 percent by 2020 and up to 30 percent by 2030 .The European gas market finds itself today at a crossroads following two unexpected events that have shaken up the energy market: the U.S. shale gas boom and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.The EU has long looked to tap into Caspian Sea gas supplies, but progress has been slow.Europe has already been benefitting from cheap U.S. coal. Cut-rate gas prices in the U.S. have displaced coal, but shipped to Europe, the coal is still cheaper than natural gas for electricitygenerators.
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