Madrid claims it can't stop LNG imports, which have soared by more than 170%, El Confidencial reports
Spain's imports of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Russia in January and February saw a massive year-on-year surge of 172%, El Confidencial reported on Friday, citing data from Spanish energy company Enagas.
Purchases of super-chilled fuel from the sanctioned country since the beginning of Russia's military operation in Ukraine have soared by 84%, making Spain the biggest importer of Russian LNG among EU member states.
The impressive growth of LNG imports in spite of the EU's pledge to eliminate its reliance on energy exports from Russia have reportedly caused major concern in Madrid and Brussels.
Earlier this month, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson called for Russian LNG shipments to be stopped, saying energy companies shouldn't renew long-term contracts once current ones expire.
Similarly, Spain's Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge asked companies - including Naturgy, Repsol, TotalEnergies, Axpo, Pavilion, Enagas, Met Energy, Enet Energy, EdP, CEPSA and BP - not to sign up for new purchases from Russia.
However, Spain and the rest of the EU have no mechanism to stop the flow of LNG from Russia, El Confidencial reports. The importers are reportedly private companies and trading operations are completely legal, since Russian LNG has not been targeted by EU sanctions.
Prior to its military operation in Ukraine, Russia supplied nearly 40% of the gas consumed by EU countries, mostly through the pipeline network. Over the past year, EU gas purchases from Russia have been in steady decline. They are currently hovering about 10% of the bloc's entire consumption, according to Brussels. The latest increase in LNG purchases from the sanctioned country comes amid EU attempts to fill the void resulting from the sharp reduction in pipeline supplies.
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