One of the first Russian ships that brought natural gas to Portugal after the country invaded Ukraine. Image: Tiago Canhoto/ Lusa
One of the first Russian ships that brought natural gas to Portugal after the country invaded Ukraine. Image: Tiago Canhoto/ Lusa

Russian gas imports increase in Portugal

2023 sees 8.4% of Russian imports, compared to 7% in 2022 

Sines’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal received three ships from Russia in the first nine months of this year, corresponding to 8.4% of the total gas received in Sines, compared to 7% in the same period of 2022, writes Lusa.

According to the Gas Infrastructure Utilisation Bulletin for the third quarter of this year, published by the Energy Services Regulatory Authority (ERSE), up until the end of September, Russian gas accounted for 8.4% of the total received at Sines LNG terminal – the main infrastructure for natural gas entering the national system – as a result of three methane ships unloading in February, April and August.

In that period, Russia came third in the countries of origin of natural gas received at Sines, behind the United States of America (44.4% of the total) and Nigeria (44%), and ahead of Trinidad & Tobago (3.2%).

In the same period of 2022 – the year in which Russia invaded Ukraine and began to be the target of sanctions from the European Union, which promised to drastically cut gas imports from Moscow – Russian imports accounted for 7% of the total received at Sines, also the result of three ships received (in March, April and August).

With regard to gas storage, the stock in underground caverns located in the Leiria region on September 30 was 98%, which is equivalent to 26 days of average national consumption and exceeds the target set by the European Commission in REPowerEU, for each country to have at least 90% of gas reserves in underground facilities on November 1, 2023 and in the following years.

Beyond September, it is certain Sines received a 4th Russian ship carrying natural gas.

Portugal isn’t alone, however, in this situation. As the UK’s Telegraph reported earlier this week, “European Union countries have quietly funded Vladimir Putin’s war machine to the tune of €6.1 billion this year through the purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“Despite a promise to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels, the number of cargo ships carrying LNG from Russia to Europe has increased” pretty much across the board.

“The bloc has bought up more than half of Moscow’s LNG exports, with Spain and France being the second and third largest buyers behind China.

“Eurostat trade data acquired by The Telegraph shows Madrid sent €1.8 billion to Moscow in the first nine months of the year.

“Europe’s second-largest purchaser was France with shipments worth €1.5 billion arriving in its ports, while Belgium followed closely behind buying €1.36 billion worth of Russian LNG.

“Some of Kyiv’s most ardent backers in Europe, including Estonia and Lithuania, also continued to send money to Moscow for LNG”.

These sales of gas are expected to generate huge revenues for Russia at a time when EU countries attest to hoping to ‘starve Putin’s regime of the funds needed to wage war in Ukraine’, and the accepted plan is to end the use of Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

Sources: Lusa, Telegraph