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31 Aug, 2023 17:25

EU official warns member states about Russian LNG

The bloc’s imports of the fuel hit a record high in the first half of this year, data shows
EU official warns member states about Russian LNG

European Commission spokesperson Tim McPhie has called on EU countries to cease purchasing Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and not to enter new contracts for the fuel.

The official was answering a question from journalists in Brussels on Thursday about record growth in the EU of LNG purchases from Russia in 2023. He claimed that, even though EU imports of LNG have increased, the bloc’s overall natural gas imports from Russia have dropped by around two-thirds since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

McPhie noted that the European Union imported 13.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian LNG in 2021, with the volume rising to 19.3 bcm last year. The figure surged to a record 10 bcm in the first half of 2023.

“In terms of our goals, we have a Repower EU plan in place, which includes the goal of getting rid of Russian gas purchases as soon as possible. We urge our countries and companies not to buy natural gas from Russia and not enter into new contracts when the current ones will run out,” he said, adding “We are making significant efforts to stop buying LNG from Russia.”

According to analysis published by Global Witness on Wednesday, the EU bought over half (52%) of the 41.6 million cubic meters of LNG that Russia exported this year. The figure is up from 49% and 39% in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

Kpler analyst Adam Bennett told Insider that 90% of Russian LNG flowing into the EU went to Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. All of them hold contracts that extend “far into the next decade,” Bennett explained.

The EU, which used to import around one-third of Russian piped gas for its energy needs, has drastically reduced natural gas supplies and banned imports of Russian seaborne oil since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. LNG, however, has so far gone unsanctioned despite repeated calls to do so from a number of EU officials.

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