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- The EU will expand its liquefied natural gas import capacity to help ease supply bottlenecks.
- The bloc has also encouraged bloc companies to not enter any further LNG agreements with Russia.
- Despite trying to wean away from Russian supplies, LNG exports from the country increased in 2022.
The European Union is set to increase its liquefied natural gas import volume by almost a third in a continued move to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies.
Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission, tweeted on Thursday that the union was gearing up to add eight more LNG regasification terminals in the next year, up from 27 existing facilities.
The extra infrastructure will help alleviate bottleneck concerns that the 27-member bloc experienced in the past year and provide the continent with more LNG for the future. The move will increase its regasification capacity from 178 to 227 billion cubic meters, Sefcovic tweeted.
The announcement comes alongside remarks from European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, directing European companies not to enter any new LNG trade deals with Russia, as the continent tries to completely shed Russian energy exports by 2027.
“I encourage all member states and all companies to stop buying Russian LNG, and not to sign any new gas contracts with Russia once the existing contracts have expired,” she said in an EU meeting on Thursday.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago sparked an energy war as Russia cut off its gas and oil exports to the continent in retaliation for Western sanctions.
Though the bloc weathered the crisis thanks to a mild winter and increased imports from alternative suppliers, such as the US, it continues to depend on Russian LNG, and imports of the commodity increased by 35% in 2022.
“We can and should get rid of Russian gas completely as soon as possible, still keeping in mind our security of supply,” Simson said.
At the same time, the EU has continued to develop on-sea floating import terminals, or FSRUs, that have allowed it to import LNG from new suppliers without the construction of pipelines.