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EU Targets LNG and Dark Fleet in New Sanctions Against Russia

The European Union adopted on Monday a new sanctions package against Russia, targeting Russian LNG projects and shipments for the first time and looking to curb Moscow’s use of the so-called dark fleet to circumvent the price caps on Russian crude and oil products.    

The EU member states approved today the 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The EU’s latest sanction measures target high-value sectors of the Russian economy, like energy, finance, and trade, and make it ever more difficult to circumvent EU sanctions, the EU said in a statement.

The EU will ban reloading services of Russian LNG in EU territory for the purpose of transshipment operations to third countries, after a transition period of 9 months. This covers both ship-to-ship transfers and ship-to-shore transfers, as well as re-loading operations, and does not affect import but only re-export to third countries via the EU, the bloc said.   

Trans-shipment of LNG within the EU has been a widespread practice so far, although the volumes don’t represent a large part of Russia’s LNG exports.

The EU, however, is stopping short of outright banning imports of Russian LNG, as it did with oil and oil products. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

To further try to restrict Russian LNG revenues, the EU also agreed to prohibit new investments, as well as the provision of goods, technology, and services for the completion of LNG projects under construction, such as Arctic LNG 2 and Murmansk LNG.

Moreover, the package now bans the import of Russian LNG into specific import terminals that are not connected to the EU gas pipeline network.

The EU also placed 27 vessels on a sanctions list in a new measure targeting the dark fleet which circumvents the EU and Price Cap Coalition's caps, while adopting deceptive shipping practices “in complete disregard of international standards.”

“The 14th package of sanctions demonstrates our unity in supporting Ukraine and seeking to limit Russia’s criminal activities against Ukrainians, including efforts to circumvent EU measures,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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