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US remains EU’s leading LNG supplier while Russian energy imports continue to drop, EU Commission says

Following a strong increase in energy imports in the EU between 2021 and 2022, the scenario is different in 2023, according to the European Commission, with imports dropping for the second quarter in a row when compared with the same period in the previous year.

In the second quarter of 2023, EU imports decreased by 39.4 per cent in terms of value and 11.3 per cent in terms of net mass.

In terms of net mass, Russia’s shares in the EU imports of petroleum oils and natural gas have been decreasing continuously over time since the second quarter of 2022. Petroleum oils imports from Russia fell from a monthly average of 8.7 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2022 to 1.6 million tonnes in the second quarter of this year (-82 per cent), but, in contrast, the imports from the extra-EU partners except Russia increased by 5.8 million tonnes, from 31.5 million to 37.3 million tonnes.

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Russia’s share in total EU imports of petroleum oils was 4.0 per cent in the second quarter of 2023, a staggering difference from the 21.6 per cent share recorded in the same quarter of last year.

EU imports of natural gas dropped significantly (-17 per cent in terms of net mass) in the second quarter of 2023, compared with the same quarter in 2022. This reduction could have been triggered by the EU reduction plan, where EU countries committed to reducing gas consumption.

Natural gas imports from Russia fell from a monthly average of 5.1 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2022 to 2.5 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2023.

The diversification of suppliers is also ongoing and growing. While, in the second quarter of 2022, Russia was the leading supplier of petroleum oils, with a share of 15.9 per cent of total EU imports. In the second quarter of 2023, Russia ranked only 12th, with a share of 2.7 per cent.

By contrast, Norway (+3.5 pp up to 13.7 per cent), Kazakhstan (+3.2 pp up to 10.2 per cent), the United States (+2.1 pp up to 13.6 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (+2.3 pp up to 9.0 per cent) saw their share increase over the same period and Libya became an important partner, accounting for 8.1 per cent of EU petroleum oil imports.

The situation was similar for natural gas in a gaseous state, with Russia’s share dropping by 14.5 pp to 13.8 per cent of total EU imports, while the shares of Algeria (+9.3 pp) and Norway (+6.2 pp) increased significantly. In the second quarter of 2023, Norway was the EU’s top supplier with a share of 44.3 per cent of total EU imports, followed by the United Kingdom (17.8 per cent) and Algeria (16.5 per cent).

As far as liquefied natural gas is concerned, the United States remains by far the EU’s leading supplier in the second quarter of 2023, with a share of 46.4 per cent in total EU imports, followed by Russia (12.4 per cent), Qatar (10.9 per cent), Algeria (9.9 per cent) and Nigeria (5.1 per cent). Among these suppliers, only Algeria and Nigeria saw their share increase (+5.2 pp and +1.0 pp respectively) compared to the second quarter of 2022. By contrast, the respective shares of the United States, Russia and Qatar fell by -2.8 pp, -2.7 pp and -1.1 pp respectively. Norway and Oman became important suppliers, with shares of 3.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

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