Russia became Spain’s third-largest supplier of LNG this year, El Mundo reports © Getty Images / lyash01
Spain stepped up purchases of Russian natural gas in 2023, with imports expected to hit a historic high by year’s end, news outlet El Mundo reported on Friday, citing data from the country’s gas network operator Enagas.
According to the report, Spain has so far purchased the equivalent of 60,770 gigawatt of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia this year, a 43% increase from the same period in 2022.
From January to October, Russia was the third largest exporter of LNG to Spain, supplying 18.1% of the country’s overall gas imports, surpassed only by Algeria (28.8%) and the US (20.1%). Since 2018, when Russian gas made up a mere 2.4% of Spain’s gas imports, the country’s dependence on Russian energy has spiked sixfold.
Russian LNG is not subject to the EU sanctions imposed on Moscow since last year in response to the Ukraine conflict, despite repeated calls from some EU officials to ban its importation. Spain has six regasification plants and is one of the major ports of entry for LNG carriers in the bloc.
Apart from Spain, France and Belgium were among the countries that have boosted their purchases of Russian LNG this year, ship-tracking data showed.
According to an earlier report by the Financial Times, the EU has been reselling more than a fifth of its imports of Russian LNG, via transshipment at its ports, to countries such as China, Japan, and Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, sanctions saw imports of pipeline gas from Russia to the EU mostly halted since last year. They began to decline due to the destruction the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, and to the refusal of a number of EU member states to pay for their fuel in rubles.
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