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Spain Calls for Coordinated Action to Reduce EU Imports of Russian LNG

Spain is seeking a tougher EU-wide coordination on handling imports of Russian LNG, Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera told Bloomberg in an interview published on Tuesday.   

The EU has increased purchases of Russian LNG since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and after Russia’s pipeline gas volumes to Europe slumped.

LNG and natural gas are not under any sanctions, but the EU has set a target to ditch Russian gas by 2027.  

The EU will soon allow individual member states to block imports of LNG from Russia without the use of sanctions. But Spain wants the EU to make sure that EU member states can block such imports without cargoes being diverted to neighboring countries, according to Ribera.

“Please let’s try and coordinate how we react on this, both on the spot market and existing contracts,” Ribera told Bloomberg on the sidelines of an EU energy ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said in September that the European Union should phase out imports of LNG from Russia. 

Spain’s LNG imports from Russia have doubled since 2022.

At the same time, 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 in an analysis at the end of last year.

The EU was the largest buyer of Russian LNG in January 2024, according to data collected by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).   The EU bought 50% of Russia’s LNG exports, followed by China (21%) and Japan (19%).  

France’s LNG imports from Russia jumped by 50% month-on-month despite a drop in total LNG imports. At the same time, gas flows from France to other EU countries increased by 17%, with jumps in exports to Germany (up by 165%) and Spain (a surge of 108%), according to CREA.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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