The EU receives supplies of energy from a variety of countries around the world. It works actively with these countries to get the best deal possible, to increasingly diversify its energy sources, and to prevent disruptions to supply.
Norway is the world's third largest exporter of oil and gas after Saudi Arabia and Russia. In 2012, it accounted for about 31% of all the EU's natural gas imports and 11% of its crude oil imports. Norway also produces a large amount of hydroelectric power which it will be possible to export to the EU in greater quantities if new grid connections are built.
As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Norway fully participates in the EU's internal energy market and cooperates closely with the EU on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The European Commissioner responsible for Energy and the Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy meet annually for the EU-Norway Energy Dialogue. At the Dialogue, the two sides discuss how to coordinate their energy policies, including in the areas of research and technological development, and relations with other energy producing countries.
Russia is one of the EU's largest suppliers of energy. In 2013, it accounted for 39% of its natural gas imports.
A number of individual EU countries are also heavily dependent on Russian supplies for certain energy resources, in particular natural gas. Natural gas supplies from Russia often go through transit countries such as Ukraine and Belarus.
In 2009, the EU and Russia established an Early Warning Mechanism. This instrument aims to prevent supply interruptions in gas, oil, or electricity and to ensure rapid communication.
Central Asia and the Caucasus countries
Countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus are often rich in natural resources including oil and gas, which could help the EU diversify its energy supply. Recognising this potential, the EU has been participating in the development of their energy sectors. To date, the EU has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These MoUs outline steps to further energy cooperation with these countries.
The EU also cooperates with 11 partner countries from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus in the INOGATE program. The program aims to help all partners reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and energy imports, improve security of supply, and fight climate change.
The 12 countries that make up the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) provide the EU with around 40% of its total crude oil imports. Of these countries, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Nigeria are the biggest individual suppliers, each having delivered over 8% of the EU's total oil imports in 2012. The EU meets with OPEC annually at ministerial level to discuss a variety of issues including the promotion of more stable oil prices and transparent markets.