Spanish LNG purchases from Russia up 45% in 2022

LNG regasification ship

Spain has increased its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Moscow by 45%, according to data from the latest Enagás statistical bulletin, published by El Periódico de la Energía.

According to the newspaper La Vanguardia, it all started when Algeria closed the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline (GME), one of the two that supply Spain, after the spanish government changed its position to favour Morocco’s claims over the Sahara, in the autumn of 2021.

With one of Africa’s two gas taps disconnected, it was necessary to rethink the origin and nature of supplies. Then, in March 2022, the war broke out in Ukraine, which changed everything. Europe was forced to cut off trade relations with Russia and no longer buy gas from it via pipelines, in retaliation for the conflict. To compensate, Europe opted to resort to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is more expensive and is transported by ship.

Thus we arrive at the current situation. Algeria is no longer Spain’s main gas supplier. As of December 2022, its share had fallen from 42.7% to 23.8%, due to the closure of the aforementioned pipeline. To fill this gap, Spanish LNG imports from the US, which has become the largest gas supplier, shot up in 2022. But also from Russia, which went from 37 TWh to 53 TWh, which puts this country in fourth place, behind Nigeria. All that Spain has imported from Russia in 2022 is equivalent to what it has stopped buying from Algeria.

So the diplomatic and commercial rupture with the Algerian government has resulted in an increase in the financing of Putin’s war machine, which has come to receive more money from Spain. Another beneficiary is the US, which has doubled its revenues by selling Spain its LNG from the fracking extraction process.

“In general, Europe’s attitude to energy is a bit hypocritical. Europe bans or has a moratorium on fracking and then imports as much gas as it can from this source (US LNG); it signs sanctions on Russia and then increases purchases from Moscow…”, comments a sector expert.

At the time it was said that Algeria would compensate for the closure of the GME by sending more LNG to Spain. But the figures say no: it has gone from 23 TWh in 2021 to 5.4 TWh in 2022. The business is done by Washington. And Moscow

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