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The European Union could move to ban imports of Russia’s pipeline gas by the end of this year if it puts preliminary measures in place, Walter Boltz, energy advisor to the Austrian government, has told Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS).
The EU has seen increased recognition that it could cope without the remaining Russian pipeline gas it gets, but some countries still receiving natural gas via pipeline, most notably Hungary, could seek exemptions or not agree to an EU ban, according to Boltz.
Gazprom has stopped publishing numbers on its gas deliveries to Europe. The Russian giant has seen exports to Europe decline since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, as Russia cut off gas supplies to a number of countries in Europe.
Russia halted gas supply to Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland in April and May 2022, slashed gas deliveries via Nord Stream to Germany in June, then cut off Nord Stream supply in early September, weeks before the still mysterious sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea at the end of September.
Russia still sends some gas via pipelines to Europe via one transit route through Ukraine, and via TurkStream.
Ukraine itself could have a strong case for lobbying the EU to ban Russian pipeline gas imports.
“If you think that Russia is making $15-$25bn annually from gas sales and Ukraine only $800m in transit, it would make every sense in the world for Ukraine to forego the transit and stop Russia from getting this money,” Boltz told ICIS.
Still, the EU is unlikely to agree to an idea to ban gas imports from the pipelines from Russia, where Moscow has already cut off the gas supply to Europe, EU diplomats told POLITICO last month. Analysts and EU officials told POLITICO there is no consensus to support the idea of banning the resumption of Russian gas flows.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.