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Seaborne Russian gas supplies to Europe disrupted by looming port bans -Breaking


© Reuters. Gazprom’s Power Of Siberia project, located in the Amur region of Russia, November 29 2019, shows gas pipelines at Atamanskaya, a compressor station. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov.

Marwa Rahhad, Jonathan Saul and Nora Buli

OSLO/LONDON – Uncertainty over whether ships are allowed to discharge cargoes in European ports has caused disruption in Russian liquefied LNG (LNG), supplies to Europe, according to trade sources and ship tracking data.

These disruptions occur at a moment when Europe is facing record natural gas prices due to tight supply. This has led to governments paying billions in subsidy to those who are struggling to keep warm.

The four tankers loaded LNG from the Russian gas terminal Yamal. They initially stated that they would be sailing to British or French ports. However, Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data revealed that their destination status has changed to “For orders”. This means that the vessels await new orders from their owners.

This was after Britain declared Monday it will not allow Russian ships into British ports. It is attempting to increase pressure on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

The British action has contributed to the wide-scale disruption in energy markets caused the West’s punitive sanctions against Moscow. Traders have stayed clear of Russian fuel despite many of Britain’s restrictions exempting Russian oil or gas.

Kaushal Ramesh (Rystad Energy senior LNG and gas analyst) stated that “The UK’s decision not to allow Russian-flagged, chartered or operated vessels” could significantly tighten the market.

Refinitiv analysts stated that the diversion of the closest tanker to Britain, Fedor Litke helped push British gas prices up on Wednesday.

While the British front month gas price rose by more than 40% to 410 pence a therm on Wednesday, it still fell short of its record of 453 on Dec. 21. British day-ahead gas prices increased 37% to 405 pennies per therm.


Ramesh reported that Russia has provided 7.5% of Britain’s LNG exports thus far in this year. In 2021, Russia will account for 19.%.

European Union members are looking at banning Russian vessels from the ports of the bloc to tighten sea regulations after an air traffic halt. A move that European officials claim would also hamper Russia’s commercial shipment.

Tuesday’s non-binding resolution by the European Parliament calls for stronger sanctions to Russia and for EU ports being closed to Russian ships.

According to trade sources, the change in destination status of the LNG ships reflects caution about what might happen with European ports.

Dutch gas contracts for the front month were 42% lower at 174 euro per megawatt hour (MWh), a European benchmark. This was after setting new records of 185 EUR/MWh.

Canada stated Tuesday that its ports will be closed to Russian-owned ships by the end of this week.

On Tuesday, the Fedor Litke LNG Tanker changed its course from its earlier destination of Britain’s Isle of Grain terminal.

The diversion occurred following the diversion by the NS Champion (an oil tanker owned and operated Russian shipping company Sovcomflot), which took off from Britain on Monday, sailing towards Denmark.

The spokesperson National Grid Isle of Grain is operated by (LON)


Other vessels, including the Boris Davydov (the Christophe de Margerie) and the Boris Vilkitsky, headed towards the Isle of Grain as well as French gas terminals at Montoir or Dunkirk. They then changed their destination status according to track data.

Novatek, Yamal LNG’s controlling shareholder, didn’t respond to inquiries for comment. Yamal LNG operates the Christophe de Margerie.

The Greek-based Dynagas that operates Boris Davydov, Boris Litke, and Boris Vilkitsky as per shipping records did not reply to my request for comment.

According to Elegny’s spokesperson, the Montoir terminal still expected the Christophe de Margerie.

The spokesperson confirmed that another LNG vessel owned by Russian shipping company Sovcomflot was expected to arrive at the terminal. However, it did not have an arrival date.

Sovcomflot did not respond to our request for comment.

Engie EnergyScan analysts stated that Russia was not only a significant pipeline exporter, but is also the world’s 4th largest LNG exporter.

Shell (LON), BP, (NYSE:) and others are involved in the LNG sector. Exxon Mobil They wrote that Russia’s sustainability is being questioned and they have decided to leave the country.