Russian LNG Imports boosted by Spain

March 28, 2023

Spain’s imports of Russian liquefied natural gas have increased by 84% since the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, demonstrating how reliant Europe remains on Moscow despite efforts to cut energy ties.

Spain has been forced to increase LNG purchases from other countries after shipments from long-term gas supplier Algeria declined due to a diplomatic feud between the two countries. While Russia has reduced pipeline sales to Europe to a bare minimum, LNG flows increased by more than 30% last year. According to Bloomberg ship-tracking data, Spain is the EU’s top buyer of Russian LNG so far this year, followed by Belgium and France.

According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, it is also the EU’s biggest spender on oil and gas from Moscow, spending €944 million ($1 billion). Spain only receives Russian gas in the form of LNG because its utility Naturgy Energy Group SA has a 20-year contract with Yamal LNG in the Arctic until 2038. According to data from grid operator Enagas SA, imports increased to 61,344 gigatonne-hours between March 2022 and February this year, up from 33,305 gigatonne-hours in the same period last year. During that time, fuel purchases from the United States increased by 48%. 

Russian LNG accounted for 14% of the total supply in Spain during the period, representing a 6.2 percentage point increase. Last month, Russia supplied about 16% of total LNG imports into Western Europe, with the United States supplying nearly half.

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