Norwegian energy major Equinor in a market update on Wednesday predicted a 2% growth in Europe’s demand for natural gas this year after contracting by around 4% in 2020.
The company said the drop last year was caused by mild weather and quarantines linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Equinor, while lockdowns have continued in the first quarter of 2021, the impact on gas demand has been smaller.
Equinor spokeswoman in an email said “Our 2021 forecast builds on a return to average heating demand through the winter season and a gradual recovery of industrial and commercial activity”.
“We foresee a gradual rebound in gas demand for 2021, but not a return to pre-COVID levels before 2022,” she added.
Equinor is the second-largest supplier of natural gas to Europe after Russia’s Gazprom.