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EU weighs sanctions on Russian liquefied natural gas

by editor

The European Commission is considering sanctions against Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to two EU diplomats, a move that would mark the first time Brussels has dared to go after Moscow’s gas sector.

The Commission, the EU’s executive, is currently preparing a 14th package of sanctions against Russia more than two years after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine.

The new measures could include restrictions on three Russian LNG projects, and on the re-export of Russian LNG from EU ports, the diplomats said.

So far, Brussels has imposed a blanket ban on Russian coal and seaborne crude oil exports to the EU but has been unable to find consensus on gas restrictions amid opposition from countries like Hungary, which remain heavily reliant on imports from Moscow.

Still, the EU has reduced its dependence on Russia for gas imports by around two-thirds since the beginning of the full-scale invasion through a combination of sudden cutoffs from Moscow and swapping suppliers to Norway and the U.S.

While Russian LNG made up just 5 percent of the EU’s energy consumption last year, the bloc still paid the Kremlin an estimated €8 billion for its exports, which mainly arrived at ports in France, Spain and Belgium.

Still, the new proposals wouldn’t ban purchases of Russian LNG in the bloc but rather tackle cargoes that arrive at EU ports only to be sent elsewhere.

EU ambassadors are set to discuss the Commission’s new proposal early next month.

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