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The European Union will not succeed in its efforts to halt Russian natural gas imports by giving EU member states the power to stop these supplies, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said on Tuesday.
A move from the EU to authorize member states to block imports of Russian natural gas would only result in a faster redirection of Russia’s gas to emerging markets, Reuters quoted Zakharova as saying at a news briefing on Tuesday.
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, the Financial Times reported last week.
According to the FT report, the proposal will also include access to LNG terminals in the EU.
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”.
EU imports of Russian gas via pipeline may be very low compared to historic averages, but imports of Russian LNG are booming.
Around 21% of Russia’s LNG volumes bound for the European Union are transshipments, which are not included in official import figures and thus ignored by EU policymakers, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said at the end of last month.
“The transshipped cargoes arriving at LNG terminals in Europe are often not included in official import figures and thus ignored by policymakers,” Ana Maria Jaller-Makarewicz, the Lead Energy Analyst for IEEFA’s Europe team, wrote in an analysis.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com