NewsEU targets Russian LNG in new sanctions, aiming to curb exports

EU targets Russian LNG in new sanctions, aiming to curb exports

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Images source: © Getty Images | NurPhoto

10:33 AM EDT, April 29, 2024

The European Commission is set to unveil its proposals for the 14th package of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, which is expected to include measures restricting trade in Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to a report by Politico.

In discussions with EU member states, the Commission focuses on new sanctions that would notably affect the transfer of LNG at European ports, Politico sources revealed. The proposed measures aim not to prohibit the purchase of Russian LNG by EU countries directly but to address shipments arriving in EU ports intended for further exportation.

New EU sanctions targeting Russia's gas sector

For the first time, the EU aims at Moscow's gas sector. Previously, the EU had implemented a complete embargo on Russian coal and oil imports by sea, but consensus on gas restrictions had been elusive. Opposition from certain member states, including Hungary, which relies heavily on Russian gas imports, had been a significant barrier.

Despite these challenges, Russian LNG imports into the EU have surged since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine. Russia has even expanded its export capabilities by constructing additional terminals. Although Russian LNG made up only about 5% of the EU's energy consumption in 2023, the purchases amounted to roughly 8 billion euros.

Belgium, France, and Spain are among the EU's most significant consumers of Russian LNG. The Baltic States, Poland, and, more recently, Sweden have been vocal advocates for implementing LNG restrictions.

The European Commission's draft of the 14th sanction package is scheduled for presentation next Wednesday, with EU ambassadors expected to discuss the proposals at the beginning of May.
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