The European Union should phase out imports of LNG from Russia instead of buying more of Moscow’s super-chilled fuel, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said on Thursday.
Unlike Russian oil, Russian gas is not banned or under sanctions in Europe. But while pipeline gas supply from Russia has slowed to a trickle, Europe has raised imports of LNG, including LNG from Russia.
Russia’s LNG exports to the EU have surged this year as the bloc is now buying significantly more Russian LNG than it did before the invasion of Ukraine.
The EU’s liquefied natural gas imports from Russia jumped by 40% between January and July 2023 compared to the same period of 2021, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, campaign NGO Global Witness said last month.
Overall, the EU bought 52% of Russia’s LNG exports between January and July 2023, compared to 49% in 2022 and 39% in 2021, according to Global Witness’s report.
At an energy security conference in Warsaw, Poland, Commissioner Simson said on Thursday, “We see that over the past seven months Russia has exported 12.4 bcm of LNG to EU destinations. Russian LNG exports may well remain this year as high as they were last year, or even slightly bigger. We cannot be happy with that.”
“We can and we must reduce Russian LNG exports, to phase them out completely,” Simson said, urging again all companies and EU member states to do their part.
In March this year, Simson had already urged all EU member states and all companies not to sign new LNG import contracts with Russia.
In today’s remarks, she said, “I call on the European Parliament and the Council to agree, in the context of the gas package, on a robust provision to allow Member States individually to restrict, when security of supply allows it, access to Russian LNG exports.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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