Vladimir Vize. Photo: Kees Torn (Wikimedia Commons)

Portugal to receive Russian gas this afternoon (Friday) in Sines

A week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and at a moment when its attacks on civilians and other sensitive targets are escalating – Russian gas is continuing to enter Europe. 

Today, the Vladimir Vize – a tanker flying under a Hong Kong flag – is due to deliver its cargo of liquified natural gas (LNG) in Sines.

The time slot given is 3pm.

The tanker left the Russian port of Sabetta on February 23 – the day before Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine.

It is one of three tankers delivering LNG today, according to details published by the ports authority. A second is arriving from Stade, Germany; the third from the United States.

According to realtime platform Vessel Finder earlier this morning, the ship is already less than 50 nautical miles from Sines.

It is carrying LNG for Spanish firm Naturgy, reports SIC (formerly Gas Natural Fenosa), under the terms of a long-term contract signed in 2018 and due to continue until 2038.

Says SIC, “Naturgy is one of four importers of gas to Portugal that continue to import Russian gas”.

Expresso says it has asked Naturgy if it has more consignments of Russian gas planned for Portugal (or whether it is deciding to suspend them), “but has not received an answer at this time”.

The arrival of this tanker is the first delivery of Russian gas in Portugal for the last four months. The last time Sines dealt with a consignment of Russian LNG was October 2021, according to data from REN, the nation’s energy network.

TSF radio meantime explains that “as LNG is not part of the European sanctions against Russia, LNG will continue to be able to be commercialised within the European space, and the port of Sines is the only terminal in Portugal equipped to receive LNG”.

The station adds that “Sines gas” comes from Nigeria, the United States and Russia – Nigeria being responsible for 65% of imports, the US 25% and Russia (up till now) 10%. How long this will continue is the big question: the Financial Times, for example, queried yesterday: “Will the West place an embargo on Russian oil and gas supplies?” (click here).

The answer, according to the text, was ‘very possibly yes’. “Nothing is off the table”, in the words of US president Joe Biden. “As the brutality of Moscow’s invasion has intensified, the idea of targeting oil and gas exports for sanctions” has come to the fore “even if it damages western economies in the process”, says the FT.