The EU is hitting Russia for the first time with sanctions against LNG


EU countries have agreed on a fourteenth package of sanctions against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine. Diplomats confirmed the sanctions on Thursday, including the first measures against Russian LNG.

The EU has restricted the re-export of Russian LNG in its waters, but has not completely banned imports, in contrast to the ban on Russian oil from the sea in 2022. Nevertheless, some EU countries continue to import gas from Russia via pipelines through Ukraine.

Diplomats said the package also sanctions three Russian LNG projects and includes a clause allowing Sweden and Finland to cancel Russian LNG contracts.

Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency until July 1, said on social media platform X that the package “maximizes the impact of existing sanctions by closing loopholes.”

The EU ambassadors met on May 8 to discuss possible actions for the 14th round of sanctions against Russian LNG, as the European Commission (EC) aimed to approve these sanctions by July.

Reuters said The countries discussed the proposed new measures for over a month and, under Germany’s influence, weakened one of the Commission’s suggestions to prevent further circumvention.

Most current EU measures are still in place, including the ban on Russian ships by sea import of oil and restrictions on the export of advanced technological goods to Russia.

However, Reuters reported that gas market experts suggest this decision is likely to have minimal impact as the transfer of gas via EU ports to Asia represents only about 10% of total Russian LNG exports.

On the contrary, to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) has proposed that Europe should “gradually reduce” its Russian LNG imports, starting with sporadic Russian LNG imports.

According to data from ACERRussian LNG production reached 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2023. The top 28 destinations for Russian LNG were the EU (18 billion cubic meters), China (11 billion cubic meters), Japan (8 billion cubic meters) and South Korea (2 billion cubic meters), together accounting for more than 90% of all Russian LNG production.

Earlier, Offshore technology reported that Gazprom, Russia government-controlled energy company, has delivered the second shipment of LNG from the Russian Portovaya LNG plant on the Baltic Sea to Spain. According to Reuters‘analysis of shipping data, unlike oil exports, Russian LNG exports have not faced Western sanctions.

Urgewald, a German environmental research nonprofit, found that Russian LNG is regularly shipped to Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Spain. In 2023, the EU received 31 million tons of Russian LNG, with imports reaching a monthly record of 3.2 million tons in December.

“EU hits Russia with LNG sanctions for the first time” was originally created and published by Offshore technologya brand owned by GlobalData.

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