Demand for Russian liquefied natural gas in the EU has increased following fuel flow reduction through pipelines. This fact shows that Europe has kept its dependence on Russian energy resources.
Europe is still dependent on Russian energy resources
Imports of Russian liquefied natural gas increased by more than 40% in the period from January to October 2022, the Financial Times reported. For comparison, last year, in the same period of 2021, the demand for LNG was lower.
Despite Europe’s efforts to move away from Russian energy and harsh sanctions against Moscow for its war in Ukraine, a complete ban has not been introduced yet.
Russian LNG accounted for 16% of European maritime imports during the mentioned period. Moreover, since 2017, Russia has been one of Europe’s three most significant sources of liquefied natural gas, accounting for about 20% of total imports over the past three years.
“One day Putin may wake up and say: “We stop supplying LNG to Europe,” forcing the region to buy gas on a more expensive market”, – said Anne-Sophie Corbo, a research fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy.
No sanctions imposed on Russian liquefied natural gas
Because Russian liquefied natural gas is too important for some European countries, no sanctions have been imposed on it.
Therefore, Russia has taken advantage of this weakness of Europe and is trying to blackmail the region by gradually reducing the flow through the pipelines after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, raising prices and fuelling the crisis across the continent.
According to the Bruegel think tank, gas supplies from Russia are down almost 80% compared to the same period last year.
Europe is turning to liquefied natural gas from the US and Qatar
Despite Russia’s significant influence on the LNG market, its share still fell to 16%, despite record imports. Europe is trying to buy more US liquefied natural gas, which accounted for 42%. Qatar was the third largest supplier of liquefied natural gas to Europe, accounting for 13.7%.
Countries such as Spain and Greece favor capping gas prices, while Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands remain skeptical of such a move. Instead, Hungary signed a new agreement with Gazprom in August.
EU energy ministers work to overcome the crisis
EU energy ministers agreed on five proposals of the European Commission to overcome the energy crisis. However, they could have decided on introducing a threshold for gas prices.
However, it is evident that a complete ban on purchasing Russian energy resources is needed to defeat the Russian Federation’s aggression and force it to abandon the war against Ukraine. After all, euros for Russian gas turn into missiles striking Ukrainian cities.