Germany still buys LNG from Russia


Import of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is falling, LNG imports from Russia are rising. Germany also purchases liquefied natural gas from Russia.
Image: kees tornCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Germany continues to buy gas from Russia, even though the pipelines have dried up.

Despite declining volumes, this is a lucrative business for the Kremlin. German energy suppliers and the state are currently building new plants on the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts to supply the country with liquefied natural gas and become less dependent on Russia.

However, data indicate that Germany also obtains liquefied natural gas from Russia (Zeit: 21.12.22).

Germany may purchase liquefied natural gas from Russia, despite pipeline closure

Germany is currently building new facilities to gain independence from Russia and switch to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to offset gas supplies from Russia that have been lost as a result of the Ukraine war.

But according to data from the market research company ICIS, Germany could continue to purchase liquefied natural gas from Russia.

Europe imported 21% more liquefied natural gas from Russia this year than last year, up from 18 billion cubic metres by the end of November.

Russia does not supply gas directly to Germany, but it does supply to some neighbouring European countries whose gas networks are closely linked to Germany.

By the end of 2024, Russia plans to build a new LNG terminal, Arctic LNG 2 in Siberia, which could increase the amount of LNG shipped to Europe. “The gas network in northwestern Europe is so closely connected that part of the Russian LNG inevitably reaches Germany,” explains gas expert Ed Cox from the market research company ICIS.

Origin of imported liquefied natural gas in Germany can be determined more precisely by new terminals

With the delivery of liquefied natural gas via the new terminals in Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbüttel and Lubmin, the origin of the liquefied natural gas imported into Germany can soon be determined more precisely.

However, there is no legal obligation for their operators to renounce Russian LNG, because the embargo imposed by the EU still applies only to Russian oil, but not to Russian gas. However, the contracts are concluded by private companies and not by the state.

The German Government supports possible trade relations through political talks. According to the energy suppliers RWE, Uniper and VNG, they have no interest in importing Russian liquefied natural gas via the new LNG terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven.

Import of Russian pipeline gas to Europe falls, LNG imports from Russia increase

The amount of imported Russian pipeline gas to Europe has fallen significantly compared to the increasing LNG imports from Russia.

In November 2021, Germany still obtained 4.4 billion cubic meters, about half of its needs for the month, via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline directly from Russia, in addition to indirect imports via Poland. In the meantime, however, no Russian gas flows to Germany via these pipelines.

Gas consumption in Germany reduced by 27% in November compared to the previous year

Industry and private consumers saved about 27 percent of gas consumption in November 2022 compared to the previous year, which corresponds to about 2.6 billion cubic meters. However, this is not enough to completely replace supplies from Russia.

The rest of the gas is obtained from other sources. Norway is currently Germany’s most important gas supplier with about four billion cubic meters per month, followed by Belgium, the Netherlands and France. In addition to a small production off the Dutch coast, this mainly involves liquefied petroleum gas passed on from overseas.

The USA is the most important liquefied natural gas supplier to Europe, followed by African and Arab countries

The United States is the main liquefied natural gas supplier to Europe, with about four billion cubic meters in November 2022.

Almost five billion cubic meters were imported from various countries in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, including Algeria, Angola and Qatar.

Russian liquefied natural gas accounted for about 1.8 billion cubic meters in November, according to Belgian think tank Bruegel. This corresponds to about one sixth of total LNG imports into the EU.

Qatar plans to expand LNG capacity and sign supply agreement with ConocoPhillips

Qatar is currently planning to expand its capacities and has agreed an energy partnership with the German government.

A recently concluded deal with the US company ConocoPhillips provides for deliveries only from 2026, which ConocoPhillips is to transport from Qatar to Brunsbüttel. Then up to 2.8 billion tons of LNG are to be imported into Germany annually over a period of at least 15 years.

However, the gas from Qatar will arrive too late for the current crisis.