Surprise: Russia Beats US in Supplying Europe with Gas

In May, natural gas imports to Europe from Russia surpassed those from the US for the first time since the onset of the Ukraine war, highlighting the EU's ongoing struggle to reduce reliance on Russian energy. Despite concerted efforts to cut ties with Russian fuels, one-off factors drove this shift, emphasizing the complexity of Europe's energy landscape, according to the Financial Times.

Tom Marzec-Manser from ICIS consulting noted the irony of Russian gas gaining market share in Europe after extensive efforts to diversify energy sources. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow slashed pipeline gas deliveries to Europe, prompting the region to boost liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, primarily from the US. The US overtook Russia as Europe's top gas supplier in September 2022 and provided about 20% of the region's supplies in 2023. However, in May, Russian gas and LNG accounted for 15% of the total supply to the EU, the UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia, while US LNG dropped to 14%, its lowest since August 2022. The change was influenced by increased European imports of Russian LNG, despite ongoing EU sanctions discussions.

Russia ceased gas supplies through northwestern European pipelines in mid-2022 but maintained deliveries through Ukraine, Turkey, and Bulgaria. May's deliveries were influenced by temporary factors, including a US LNG export facility breakdown and increased shipments via Turkey before scheduled maintenance in June. Despite weak gas demand in Europe and high inventory levels, this situation is seen as temporary.

Marzec-Manser suggested the current situation might not last as Russia could redirect LNG to Asia via the Northern Sea Route during summer, reducing...

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