Spain asks the EU to take a tougher stance on Russian LNG imports

Spain’s Energy Ministry believes that the EU should allow countries to block imports of Russian liquefied natural gas without redirecting supplies to neighbors.

Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera stated this, Bloomberg reported.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian gas supplies to Spain have doubled, accounting for about a fifth of its gas imports in 2023. However, the EU will soon allow member states to block such flows without imposing sanctions.

“We must ensure an effective response. Please try to coordinate how we respond to this, both on the spot market and under existing contracts,” Ribera said.

The newspaper notes that Finland is currently one of the few countries that will take advantage of the ban, citing an anonymous source. According to the publication, its Russian gas imports are practically zero.

“For Spain and a number of other European countries that are more dependent on Russian cargo, the plan creates a dilemma. Most of their cargo comes through the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, and one EU country blocking imports could simply encourage them to go elsewhere,” Bloomberg explains.

Ribera said companies need guidance on how to exit long-term take-or-pay contracts with Moscow.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian gas imports to the EU under the RePowerEU program have decreased by 71%.

“Europe is stable today, and the RePowerEU program has yielded results for two years. Last year, Russian gas accounted for 15% of total gas imports, compared to 24% in 2022 and 45% the year before the war. Since 2021, Russian gas imports to the EU have decreased by 71%. Prices have dropped significantly and are at a relatively stable level. Last week, they were 25 euros per megawatt-hour, which is the level that existed before the war,” she said.

According to her, the EU countries are confidently approaching the end of the heating season, with 62% of gas storage facilities filled. The start of the new injection cycle is expected to see this figure reach 45–55%.

The European Union should enshrine in law its plan to abandon Russian pipeline gas and LNG by 2027.

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