According to a report from Greek online daily Kathimerini, Greece has significantly increased its purchases of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year, despite the European Union’s (EU) commitment to reduce its reliance on Moscow for energy. The data reveals that the share of Russian gas on the Greek market in the first nine months of the year has risen from 35.7% to 45%, reaching the same level as before the Ukraine conflict and the subsequent Western sanctions on Russia.
In fact, Russia has become Greece’s second-largest supplier of LNG between January and September, with the US taking the lead. However, Russian LNG imports accounted for a staggering 72% of Greece’s total gas imports just last month.
This surge in Russian LNG purchases is driven by Moscow’s strategy of offering low-cost energy supplies in order to attract more buyers and limit revenue losses. This approach became necessary after Russia faced a reduction in pipeline gas deliveries to the EU as a result of Ukraine-related Western sanctions and technical challenges such as the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines last year.
Interestingly, while the EU has banned imports of Russian seaborne oil and has committed to stop consuming Russian gas by 2027, Russian LNG remains untouched by sanctions, despite calls for action from several EU officials.
According to a report by think tank Global Witness based on Kpler data, Greece’s EU counterparts have also increased their imports of Russian LNG this year. In the first seven months of 2023, LNG deliveries from Russia to the EU surged by 40% compared to pre-sanctions levels, making Russia the EU’s second-largest LNG supplier. In fact, it is estimated that 52% of all Russian LNG exports between January and July were destined for the EU.
This news raises questions about the EU’s commitment to reducing its energy dependence on Russia and highlights the continuing allure of Russian LNG supplies due to their competitive pricing. It remains to be seen how the EU will respond to the rising reliance on Russian LNG and whether further measures will be taken to diversify energy sources.
In conclusion, Greece has witnessed a significant increase in its purchases of Russian LNG this year, despite the EU’s goal of reducing dependence on Moscow for energy. The share of Russian gas in the Greek market has reached pre-sanctions levels, and Russia has become Greece’s second-largest LNG supplier. The reasons behind this surge include Russia’s low-price energy supply policy and the absence of sanctions on Russian LNG. The same trend is observed in other EU countries, with Russian LNG imports increasing by 40% compared to pre-sanctions levels. This news raises concerns about the EU’s energy diversification plans and its commitment to reducing reliance on Russia.