The European Commission, commenting on the data on the increase in purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia by the EU member states, reiterated its call for them to stop this practice.
This was stated at a briefing by European Commission representative Tim McPhie.
He emphasized that since February 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian energy imports to the EU have decreased significantly.
“The EU has completely stopped importing Russian coal. It has reduced its imports of Russian oil by about 90%. And we have reduced our total imports of Russian gas and liquefied natural gas by about two-thirds,” McPhie emphasized.
“So even though LNG imports have gone up, they’re still relatively small, and they’re a very small part of our total energy imports,” he added.
The representative of the European Commission also recalled the words of European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, who called for a complete cutoff from Russian gas back in March at a meeting in the European Parliament.
“The commissioner said she was calling on all EU member states and all companies to stop buying Russian LNG and not to sign any new contracts with Russia after the expiration of existing contracts,” he recalled.
EU countries bought 22 million cubic meters of Russian LNG between January and July 2023
A study by the anti-corruption group Global Witness released the day before showed that EU countries bought 22 million cubic meters of Russian LNG between January and July 2023, up from 15 million cubic meters in the same period in 2021, an increase of 40%.
The study found that EU member states purchased more than half of the Russian LNG on the market in the first seven months of 2023. Spain and Belgium were the largest buyers after China.
Sources in the governments of both countries told The Guardian that the record purchases were due to the presence of a significant number of LNG terminals in their countries, not their own needs.
A source in Spain, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, also believes that purchases of Russian LNG will only stop once EU states reach an agreement, which is currently lacking.
Pipeline gas supplies to Europe from Russia fell to historic lows after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But LNG supplies worldwide, including Russia, which is not subject to EU sanctions, have increased.