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EU to Allow Members to Ban Russian Pipeline Gas

The European Union has drafted a legislative proposal to authorize member states to ban Russian and Belarusian companies from booking capacity on gas pipelines in the bloc in a bid to reduce further the EU’s intake of Russian gas.

According to a Financial Times report, the proposal will also include access to EU LNG terminals.

The proposal comes amid calls to ban Russian LNG imports even as these hit a record this year.

Another aspect of the raft legislation is letting European companies that have existing contracts with Russian or Belarusian gas companies get out of their contractual obligations without having to pay the respective penalties, according to one unnamed Brussels source who spoke to the FT.

Per the document, seen by the FT, EU members will be allowed to “partially or, where justified, completely limit” access to infrastructure to gas operators from Russia and Belarus “where necessary to protect their essential security interests”.

So far this year, Russian pipeline gas supplies to the European Union have trended significantly lower than last year. Per Russia’s VTB Bank, the average daily for this year could end up being just 21 billion cu m, which is down by some 66% from last year. It would also be a sixfold drop from 2021, the bank also said, as quoted by Reuters.

Per Eurostat data cited by the FT, Russian gas imports in the third quarter of this year accounted for 12% of the total, which although substantially lower than the more than 40% share Russian gas had before the war in the Ukraine is still a not insignificant amount.

The European Parliament is set to vote on the new gas legislation today, with formal approval by member states to follow. The EU has stipulated that it should end all imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal by 2027.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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