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Belgium and Spain have increased their imports of Russian liquefied natural gas by 50% in 2023 compared to last year, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
A report by the think tank said the gap between EU LNG capacity and demand continues to widen, increasing imports from Russia.
European imports of Russian LNG between January and September remained flat compared to the same period in 2022, IEEFA said, adding that terminals in Belgium and France continued to supply LNG from Russia’s Yamal project.
The EU bought €41 billion of LNG from January to July 2023, with the largest share of imports coming from the US (€17.2 billion), followed by Russia (€5.5 billion) and Qatar (5.4 billion euros). These three countries are the biggest beneficiaries, the report said.
“The decline in gas demand challenges the narrative that Europe needs more LNG infrastructure to meet its energy security goals. The data shows that this is not the case,” said IEEFA analyst Ana Maria Jaler-Makarevich.
“Despite significant progress towards reducing gas consumption, countries in Europe risk replacing their dependence on Russian pipelines with a redundant liquefied natural gas system, further exposing the continent to volatile prices,” she added.
The EU has banned imports of Russian oil by sea since the start of the conflict in Ukraine and has drastically reduced pipeline gas supplies from Moscow. However, liquefied gas has so far remained unsanctioned despite repeated calls from EU politicians.