European Commission to impose new sanctions on Russian LNG

The European Commission is expected to propose restrictions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time in its next sanctions package, three EU sources told Reuters.

The sanctions would include a ban on transit shipments in the EU and measures against three Russian LNG projects. The Commission is in the final stages of preparing its proposal and is holding informal talks with member states this week. Reached by Reuters for a response, the commission did not give any opinion.

The proposal would not ban the import of Russian LNG into Europe, but would instead target trans-ships that move LNG from one ship to another and then sail to its final destination. These transfers usually take place in harbour areas. The other proposed measure is to sanction three Russian LNG projects (Arctic LNG 2, Ust Luga and Murmansk) that are not yet operational.

The European Union announced a ban on Russian oil imports by sea shortly after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but refrained from banning block LNG despite repeated calls from the Baltic states and Poland.

According to analysts, Russia will not be able to meet its target

Russian LNG imports to Europe have been increasing since the start of the war. The largest buyers are Belgium, France and Spain. EU statistics and Reuters calculations show that the increase in LNG has increased the share of Russian gas in EU supply to about 15 per cent after pipeline imports from Russia’s state-owned Gazprom (GAZP.MM) fell from 37 to 8.7 per cent of EU gas supplies.

Analysts say that Russia is unlikely to meet its target of commissioning 100 million metric tonnes of LNG capacity by 2030 due to current sanctions and difficulties in obtaining ships.

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