The Kremlin’s intentions to expand its gas infrastructure in the Arctic can be stopped by imposing stricter sanctions and ending Europe’s purchases of LNG from Russia.
To achieve lasting peace and climate action, the EU and the US must begin by banning imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Strict sanctions against Russia’s oil industry, which is the foundation of its economy, and their strict enforcement are essential to stopping Russia from funding its aggressive war.
Without access to global markets, Russian gas will remain in the ground and will not contribute to climate change.
Russian LNG is easy to reject
With the correct policy instruments, Europe is in a strong position to phase out Russian LNG supplies this year quickly, as demonstrated by the fact that the EU is far more energy robust without Russian energy supplies than previously anticipated during the past winter.
Spain, Belgium, and France ought to take the Netherlands’ lead and stop importing any liquefied natural gas from Russia. The Netherlands has already taken this step.
According to Bruegel data, the EU bought Russian liquefied natural gas in the first quarter of 2023 for the most money in three years.
Despite the EU’s sanctions against Russia’s crude oil and oil products, Russia continues to freely import LNG. A 35% increase from 2021, the EU imported 19.2 billion cubic meters of Russian LNG last year.
The EU has been buying between 7–11 million tons of Russian LNG each month over the past six months, making up about a third of all Russian LNG commerce.
The loss of the pipeline gas market in the EU due to maritime supplies might be made up for by further growth of Russian LNG commerce, which would also boost Russia’s influence over energy market prices globally.
Russia intends to almost triple its LNG export capacity to 100 million metric tons per year (mtpa) by 2030 from the present 35 mtpa, according to official declarations made public on March 9.
According to industry sources, Russia is now developing a new export capacity of 51 million tons per year.
The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) estimates that Russian LNG exports to Europe have averaged over $40 million per day over the past six months, with $20 million of that amount ($40 million) flowing to the federal government’s coffers in the form of taxes.
Every day that Russian LNG is ready for export to Europe gives the aggressor state the money to arm its military with more than 50 missiles
A demand for more sanctions to end the conflict and safeguard the environment Secondary sanctions are required to make up for a clear flaw in the principal clauses that currently forbid U.S. and EU companies from taking part in the construction of Russian LNG infrastructure, tacitly asking Chinese companies to take their place.
Additional economic restrictions are imposed as part of secondary sanctions, such as divestment and secondary trade boycotts, to prevent companies from third countries from doing business with sanctioned entities.
The obvious necessity that the EU and the US must take to respect the stated security and climate goals is the adoption of secondary sanctions on Russia’s LNG sector in full swing, namely to impose a complete stop to the Arctic LNG-2 project.
The US and the EU must work together in an emergency to implement a full set of sanctions to swiftly halt Russia’s efforts to expand its LNG exports.