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More Russian LNG Being Exported to Europe Than Asia

Russia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports gained over 4% in the first quarter of this year as it increased output to replace sanctioned pipeline gas exports to Europe, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday. 

Citing a 4.3% (8.7 million metric ton) increase in unsanctioned LNG exports in Q1 2024 based on data from Kpler, Kommersant.ru said exports to the European Union were rising, while those to Asia were declining. Russia’s LNG exports to Asia for the first quarter of the year saw a 7% decline, which was made up for by a 4% increase in exports to Europe, which received some 5 million tons of Russian LNG during that time period. The bulk of LNG production in Russia comes from the Yamal LNG project, run by Novatak, and the Sakhalin Energy project, run by Gazprom. 

In late March, Moscow moved to sell Shell’s minority stake in the Sakhalin LNG project to state-run Gazprom for $1 billion. Initially, Moscow was planning to give the stake to Novatek in the wake of Shell’s move to abandon the project after Western regimes sanctioned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. According to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Novatek has deemed its participation in the Sakhalin project to have high legal risks.

The new data showing the rise in Russian LNG exports to the European Union indicates that Europe has replaced piped Russian gas from its eastern ports with Russian LNG at its western ports as the bloc becomes the biggest buyer of Russian LNG, clocking in half of all Russian LNG export volume this year so far, followed by China, which scooped up 21% as of February data. 

Reuters data analysis in February also showed that the EU has replaced Russian piped gas flows with Russian LNG imported primarily to Spain, Belgium and France. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 08 2024 said:
    In 2023 the EU imported 15.4 million tons (mt) of Russian LNG or 70% of Russian LNG company Novatek's production. The rest amounting 6.6 mt went to China and the Asia-Pacific region.

    This gave the lie to claims by Western Media that US sanctions are delaying the development of Novatek's LNG 2 project in the Russian Arctic and are affecting production expansion and exports.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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