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12 Apr, 2024 12:26

France ramps up imports of Russian gas – Politico

Purchases surged by 75% in 2024, data shows
France ramps up imports of Russian gas – Politico

French purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia have increased by a massive 75% since the beginning of 2024 compared to the same period a year ago, Politico reported on Thursday, citing data provided by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

In the first quarter of this year, imports of Russian LNG by the EU’s second-biggest economy reportedly amounted to €600 million in monetary terms – more than any other member of the bloc.

France topped the table in terms of both total volumes imported in 2024, which amounted to 1.5 million tons, and the surge in purchases versus the same period last year, when imports totalled 882,209 tons.

Following the beginning of the conflict with Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed on Moscow by Brussels, the EU sought to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Russian gas supplies had previously made up nearly half of all the bloc’s gas imports.

Gas has not been targeted by the EU’s sanctions on Moscow, which banned seaborne exports of Russian oil and significantly narrowed the scope of trade between Russia and the bloc overall. However, gas supplies from Russia to the bloc have seen a sharp drop due to the restrictions and the September 2022 sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.

The EU also unveiled a plan to end the bloc’s dependence on fossil imports from Russia by 2027 shortly after the launch of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine.

Commenting on the impressive increase in France’s gas imports from Russia despite the bloc’s official stance on the issue, an unnamed French Energy Ministry official told Politico that it “isn’t an easy topic.”

“If we continue to pay for gas we do not import, there is no point,” they added, referring to long-term contracts signed by French oil and gas major TotalEnergies.

Last year, TotalEnergies СEO Patrick Pouyanne said the company would purchase the chilled gas from Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project when it is launched due to contractual liabilities. The enterprise is being developed by private energy giant Novatek.

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