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EU countries ramp up Russian LNG imports – report

Spain and Belgium have increased purchases by 50% in annual terms, according to a think tank

Spain and Belgium have increased their imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 50% in 2023 compared to last year, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

In a report on Tuesday, the think tank said the gap between the EU’s LNG capacity and demand has continued to widen, driving up imports from Russia.

European imports of Russian LNG between January and September remained steady compared to the same period in 2022, the IEEFA wrote, adding that terminals in Belgium and France have continued shipping LNG from Russia’s Yamal project.

The EU spent €41 billion ($44 billion) on LNG imports between January and July 2023, with the US (€17.2 billion), Russia (€5.5 billion), and Qatar (€5.4 billion) the largest beneficiaries, the report stated.

“The decline in gas demand is challenging the narrative that Europe needs more LNG infrastructure to reach its energy security goals. The data is showing that we don’t,” said IEEFA analyst Ana Maria Jaller-Makarewicz.

“Despite significant progress towards reducing gas consumption, countries in Europe risk trading a reliance on Russian pipelines for a redundant LNG system that further exposes the continent to volatile prices,” she added.

READ MORE: Global demand for Russian LNG exceeding output – energy minister

The EU has banned imports of Russian seaborne oil since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict and has drastically reduced shipments of pipeline gas from Moscow. LNG, however, has so far gone unsanctioned despite repeated calls from a number of EU officials.

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