Imports of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) by Belgium grew sixfold in October after five months of reduced purchases from the heavily sanctioned country, RIA Novosti reports, citing EU statistical data.
In April, the EU country bought a record 745 million cubic meters (mcm) of Russian LNG, and then began to gradually lower imports until the volume dropped to 74 mcm in September.
In October, Belgium’s imports of the super-chilled gas surged to 448.6 mcm. In monetary terms, LNG imports from Russia saw a sevenfold increase to €166 million. As of the end of October, the EU nation accounted for nearly 37% of Russian LNG imports.
The Netherlands also resumed purchases of Russian LNG in September after a three-month break and continued to ramp them up in the following month. In October, the imports surged 26% to 267 mcm.
Greece and Portugal began importing Russian gas after a one-month break in September. In October, the countries purchased 88 mcm and 97 mcm respectively.
As a whole, the EU nearly doubled purchases of LNG from Russia to 1.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) in October.
The 27-member nation bloc was once the key market for Russian natural gas, with annual supplies amounting to 150 bcm. Shortly after the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the EU began to wean itself off Russian supplies. The unprecedented sanctions targeting the country’s energy sector and other factors, such as the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, significantly reduced Russian gas supplies the EU.
By the end of 2022, Gazprom’s gas supplies to non-CIS countries dropped nearly 85 bcm to 100.9 bcm, mostly due to the decline in EU imports.
At the same time, the latest data from Eurostat shows that EU member states spent €6.1 billion ($6.7 billion) to purchase Russian LNG in 2023 despite pledges to abandon Russian energy.
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