"There is actually a surplus of natural gas" distributed around the world, says Tagesschau, a German national and international television news service produced by the editorial staff of ARD-aktuell on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD. The problem is a simple one ~ we can't get to the gas, as gas, in contrast to oil, is difficult to transport.
According to energy expert Gabriele Widmann of the DekaBank, a guest on the program, this is the reason many consumers have turned to oil. Gas can be transported either by ship or by pipeline, and up to now it has been economically favorable and comfortable to rely on pipelines. And Russia was not so far away (from Europe), compared to other centers of prodigious gas concentrations like Iran, Qatar and North Africa.
Such places generally require ships to get the gas to market. And the ships are a problem, as the gas they transport has to be cooled to a -165 degrees Celsius before the gas can be moved. This is all expensive and requires a lot of time. In addition there is a dearth of facilities (LNG) where the gas can be received and distributed. And perhaps more fundamentally, there is a dearth of available ships, and for those available there is stiff competition among industrial countries for them.
Claudia Kemfert, Deutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, discussed ways of possible independence from Russian gas and suggested that, while the pipelines from Russia through Ukraine and Poland do not contribute to European stability, new pipelines from say Qatar plausibly could. Over the middle term an increased focus on renewable energy could help to stabilize the situation in Europe.