Total EU fuel provides from Russia are at all-time lows, however imports of Russian liquid fuel (LNG) have jumped up regardless of the warfare.
That was the image painted in an inside EU “background be aware on winter preparedness” circulated to vitality ministers final week and now seen by EUobserver.
Russian fuel will not be beneath EU sanctions, however provides plunged by greater than half final yr because of “weaponisation of fuel provides by Russia”, the be aware stated.
“Present import ranges are nevertheless far decrease,” it added.
“Russian pipeline imports’ share in whole EU fuel imports dropped to 7 p.c in January 2023 from round 50 p.c traditionally” and “flows from Ukraine diminished by approximatively 80 p.c in March”, it stated.
The EU received by way of final yr’s winter by squirrelling away provides throughout summer season and searching for new sources.
“Elevated different pipeline imports from Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Norway will strengthen our diversification efforts with projected imports of 36 bcm [billion cubic metres], 11.5 bcm, and 90 bcm in 2023, respectively,” the EU memo forecast.
The EU has additionally lower down on fuel consumption by some 20 p.c since pre-war instances and hopes to be prepared for subsequent winter even when Russian president Vladimir Putin goes additional in his soiled tips.
“Storage stock might attain 90 bcm (90 p.c) by the top of October, even assuming no pipeline provides from Russia,” the EU officers estimated.
“Dangers embrace a whole Russian fuel cease, infrastructure incidents, an exceptionally dry or heat summer season affecting the functioning of nuclear energy crops throughout summer season and restricted hydropower provide, or a chilly winter,” they warned.
The EU briefing be aware additionally stated: “LNG performed a central function within the substitute of Russian fuel with a rise of imports from 80 bcm in 2021 to 135 bcm in 2022”.
The EU was constructing one other 50 bcm of LNG infrastructural capability by 2024, it added.
Join EUobserver’s day by day e-newsletter
All of the tales we publish, despatched at 7.30 AM.
By signing up, you comply with our Phrases of Use and Privateness Coverage.
However the figures confirmed Russia itself was more and more utilizing that capability to squeeze out different LNG suppliers, in what some EU international locations have branded as illogical.
“Russian LNG imports have elevated over the yr 2022 from 15.9 bcm in 2021 to 22.1 bcm,” the EU be aware stated.
The EU consumes about 400 bcm a yr of fuel in whole and the background be aware known as the rise “moderately modest”.
However this nonetheless represented a 38 p.c bounce within the volumes of Russian LNG now coming to the EU regardless of the warfare.
The EU has up to now imposed 10 rounds of sanctions on Russia, together with a ban on Russian oil.
EU vitality ministers final week additionally mentioned new single market guidelines to curb Russian LNG exports, however stopped far in need of any LNG embargo.
“You construct the infrastructure [LNG] to do away with the provider [Russia] who manipulated your [pipeline-gas] markets and brought about nice difficulties to you — and then you definately settle for the identical provider by way of LNG? There’s one thing unsuitable with the logic,” Lithuanian vitality minister Albinas Zananavičius informed Reuters on the time.