19 Apr 2024 12:53

EU still needs Russian LNG supplies - EU energy regulator

BRUSSELS. April 19 (Interfax) - The European Union (EU) still needs to import Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in order to avoid an energy shock, even despite calls from several member states to ban fuel purchases from Russia, the EU's Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) said.

Efforts to curb record imports of Russian LNG into Europe should be approached with caution as pipeline gas supplies from the country are set to fall later in the year, the agency said in a statement Friday.

"The reduction in Russian LNG imports should be considered in stages," the report said, as quoted by the Financial Times, highlighting the EU's difficulty in finding a balance between energy security and its desire to affect Russia's revenues by cutting gas purchases.

Russia is currently the second largest supplier of LNG to the European Union after the United States, with a market share of about 16% at the end of last year. According to Kpler, the countries of the bloc bought 15.5 million tonnes of Russian LNG in 2023, which is almost 40% more than in 2021 (before the start of the military operation in Ukraine).

ACER also expressed concern that individual EU member states are imposing restrictions on the supply of natural gas, including LNG, from Russia and Belarus, noting that this could negatively affect long-term contracts with Russia active prior to the events in Ukraine. Violating these contracts could result in European companies having to pay hefty fines.

The cessation of pipeline supplies of Russian gas through Ukraine to the EU this year will lead to a reduction in imports of 13.6 bcm, ACER estimates. This represents about 4% of total gas consumption in the European Union last year.