EU's Simson calls for phase-out of imports of Russian LNG

(Reuters) - The European Union must reduce Russian LNG exports and aim to phase them out completely, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said on Thursday.

Simson said the EU has imported 12.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian LNG over the past 12 months. This year's volume could be similar to 2022 or even higher, she told a conference in Warsaw.

Europe's imports of Russian LNG between January and July were up 40% versus the same period in 2021, before the war in Ukraine.

This, despite EU plans to wean itself off of Russian fossil fuels by 2027. The bloc has already banned seaborne imports of Russian crude oil and oil products such as diesel.

"We can and we must reduce Russian LNG exports to phase them out completely," Simson said.

"I want the parliament and the council to agree for the gas package to include robust provisions to allow member states individually to restrict, where security of supply allows it, the access to Russian LNG exports."

Simson said there was over 100 bcm of gas stockpiled in EU storage before the winter season, while noting the bloc's gas consumption between August 2022 and June this year fell by 17% versus the previous five-year average thanks to efficiency and demand reduction measures.

"It is estimated that the EU can save 65 bcm of gas from March 2023 to March 24," she said.

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