EU imports record volumes of liquefied natural gas from Russia


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The EU is set to import record volumes of melted gas from Russia this year, regardless of going for the bloc to wean itself off Russian nonrenewable fuel sources by 2027.

In the very first 7 months of this year, Belgium and Spain were the 2nd and third-biggest purchasers of Russian LNG behind China, according to analysis of market information by Global Witness, a nongovernment organisation.

Overall, EU imports of the super-chilled gas were up 40 percent in between January and July this year compared to the very same duration in 2021, prior to Russia’s major intrusion of Ukraine.

The dive originates from a low base as the EU did not import substantial quantities of LNG prior to the war in Ukraine due to its dependence on piped gas from Russia

But the increase is much sharper than the worldwide typical boost in imports of Russian LNG, which was 6 percent over the exact same duration, Global Witness stated.

The NGO’s analysis is based upon information from market analytics business Kpler, which revealed that the EU is importing about 1.7 percent more Russian LNG than it did when imports strike a record high in 2015.

Global Witness stated the expense of the LNG imported from January to July at area market value totaled up to EUR5.29 bn.

” It’s stunning that nations in the EU have actually worked so difficult to wean themselves off piped Russian fossil gas just to change it with the delivered equivalent,” stated Jonathan Noronha-Gant, senior nonrenewable fuel source advocate at Global Witness. “It does not matter if it originates from a pipeline or a boat– it still indicates European business are sending out billions to [Vladimir] Putin’s war chest.”

Most of the Russian volumes originate from the Yamal LNG joint endeavor, which is majority-owned by the Russian business Novatek. Other stakes are held by France’s TotalEnergies, China’s CNPC and a Chinese state fund. The endeavor is exempt from export tasks however undergoes earnings tax.

As well as leading to billions of euros in profits going to Russia at a time when the EU continues to tighten its sanctions program versus Moscow, the import levels leave the EU exposed to any unexpected choice by the Kremlin to cut materials as it provided for piped gas in 2015.

Alex Froley, senior LNG expert at consultancy ICIS, stated that “long-lasting purchasers in Europe state they will keep taking contracted volumes unless it is prohibited by political leaders”. He included that an EU restriction on imports would trigger some interruptions to shipping as worldwide trade patterns would require to be reorganized, “however eventually Europe might discover other providers and Russia other purchasers”.

Belgium imports big volumes of Russian LNG since its port of Zeebrugge is among the couple of European points of transshipment for LNG from ice-class tankers utilized in the high north to routine freight vessels.

Spain’s energy Naturgy and France’s Total likewise have continuing agreements for big amounts of Russian LNG, experts stated.

EU policymakers have actually been prompting European business not to purchase Russian LNG.

Spanish energy minister Teresa Ribera, whose federal government is chairing the six-month turning presidency of the EU, stated in March that LNG ought to be struck with sanctions, including that the scenario was “unreasonable”.

Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner, has actually stated that the bloc “can and ought to eliminate Russian gas totally as quickly as possible, still bearing in mind our security of supply”.

EU authorities have actually indicated a total effort to phase out Russian nonrenewable fuel sources by 2027, however cautioned that a straight-out restriction on LNG imports ran the risk of triggering an energy crisis similar to in 2015 when EU gas costs struck record highs of more than EUR300 per megawatt hour.

One authorities stated that in spite of European gas storage containers being more than 90 percent complete ahead of winter season, there was still “a great deal of anxiousness” need to there be any additional cuts to materials.

Russian LNG represented 21.6 mn, or 16 percent, of the EU’s overall 133.5 mn cubic metres of LNG imports (comparable to 82 bn cubic metres of gas) in between January and July, Kpler information programs, making it the bloc’s second-biggest provider of the liquid fuel after the United States.

In March, energy ministers presented a stipulation to brand-new guidelines governing the bloc’s gas market that would enable federal governments to prohibit Russian and Belarusian business reserving capability on EU LNG facilities in an effort to discover a legal method to avoid imports.

But the proposition need to initially be worked out with the European parliament prior to it can work.

Henning Gloystein, director of energy, environment and resources at Eurasia Group, stated the probability of federal governments needing to purchase market shutdowns due to the fact that of gas scarcities this winter season was “near no”.

The EU should cut need by an additional 10 percent, Gloystein included. “If we do not structurally lower gas intake by 10 to 15 percent, we are at danger of duplicating this race [for materials] every year.”

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