Although the pipelines no longer deliver Russian gas to Germany, Europe remains dependent on Russia. Moscow now delivers large quantities of liquid gas by ship instead of by pipeline. Another leverage for the Kremlin.
Europe is still dependent on Russian gas. As the Financial Times reports, imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is transported on large tankers, increased by 40 percent in the period from January to October 2022 compared to the same period last year. While gas imports through pipelines are almost completely suspended, Europe continues to make itself dependent on the Kremlin.
The problem: Because states like Hungary see their energy security threatened, there are no EU sanctions against Russian gas. The Kremlin took advantage of this loophole by reducing the flow of gas through the pipelines, thereby reaping high gas prices. Russia recently threatened to shut off gas flow through the last remaining pipeline through Ukraine.
In order to fill the gas gap, many states are now relying on liquid gas. New LNG terminals are being built on the German North Sea coast in record time. Between January and October 2022, Europe imported 111 billion cubic meters of LNG, almost 70 percent more than in the same period last year. 17.8 billion cubic meters – i.e. a good 16 percent – come from Russia.
“One day Putin could wake up and say: We will stop sending LNG to Europe,” warns energy researcher Anne-Sophie Corbeau in the newspaper. Instead, Russia could divert the ships to other countries to “gain political gain” and “put pressure on Europeans,” Corbeau said.