Europe keeps buying Russian liquified natural gas despite sanctions

Russia conquers strategically important global LNG market

Russia is actively participating in the redistribution of the strategically important global market of liquified natural gas despite Western sanctions. Europe can not imagine its life without Russian LNG.

After Western countries imposed sanctions on imports of Russian pipeline gas and sabotaged the Nord Streams, Europe switched to American liquefied natural gas (LNG).

More than 60 percent of American LNG exports go to the EU, keeping the American economy afloat. This is one of the reasons for which Washington wants the conflict in Ukraine to continue.

Russia did not give up. Moscow turned to the eastern vector of pipeline gas supplies, including to its territories and started developing LNG production and trade.

Russian LNG in increasing demand in EU

Western specialised publications note that Russian LNG is in increasing demand in Europe.

The war in the Middle East has jeopardised the logistics of LNG supplies from Qatar. Germany and France found themselves in a very difficult situation because they entered into long-term contacts with Qatar.

There is no confidence in the reliability of supplies from the USA.

President Joseph Biden recently announced that he would suspend approvals for new overseas LNG contracts until November. The pause is "due to the nature of the climate crisis,” ostensibly an existential threat of our time. As a matter of fact, Biden wants to punish Texas for "liberties” on the federal border.

Eurogas President Didier Holleaux warned that the US could thus prolong the global gas supply imbalance. Last week, European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal Maros Sefcovic stressed that the United States was playing the tole of "the global guarantor of energy security.”

However, the internally unstable "guarantor” does not live up to expectations. This explains why the EU has not introduced any sanctions on LNG imports from the Russian Federation yet.

Russian LNG supplies to EU break records

In December 2023, a record amount of Russian LNG was exported to the EU — 50 percent of total exports of 3.2 million tons, both under "gray import” schemes and officially. Every month, the EU makes Russia $1 billion richer, a report from a Ukrainian resource said.

The key importers are:

  • Belgium,
  • Spain
  • France,

which together account for 88 percent of Russian LNG imports into the EU over the past ten months.

Russia bypasses US sanctions on gas in the production process as well. China continues Arctic LNG 2 plant project with Russia. Harbin Guanghan replaced Baker Hughes as the turbine supplier. The Russian LNG will be imported not only to China, but also to Kamchatka, Russia's easternmost border.

LNG will replace Russia's export losses in pipeline supplies

According to Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Russia intends to increase its share in global LNG production from 8 to 20 percent by 2030. New LNG production plants in Yamal will ensure LNG production at a level of up to 100 million tons per year by 2030.

The capacity of the Yamal LNG plant is about 20 million tons, Arctic LNG-2 — about 20 million tons, as is the future Murmansk LNG project, and Ob LNG is another 6 million tons.

Novatek's LNG projects will be able to produce 65-66 million tons of liquefied natural gas in 2030 (about 92 billion cubic meters). Gazprom also has its factories.

For comparison, today's supplies of Russian pipeline gas to the EU amount to 20-25 billion cubic meters per year, vs about 200 billion cubic meters before Ukraine.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov