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EU could raise Russian gas imports if war ends – analyst

(Montel) EU countries may temporarily raise Russian gas imports again if the Ukraine war ends, despite agreeing to phase out all pipeline supplies by 2027, a Poten & Partners analyst said on Wednesday.

“If Russian gas comes in, a lot of European countries will take it,” Jason Feer, head of business intelligence at the consultancy, told Montel at the LNG Summit in Athens, although he did not identify which countries he was referring to.

“A lot of buyers are leaving their options open about Russia, should peace happen. There’s a lot of willingness to take Russian gas,” he added, noting that this could dent demand for LNG.

Europe depended on Russian gas for about a third of its supply, or around 155bcm, before the war in Ukraine, which has been partially offset by LNG.

EU nations have agreed to phase out all Russian pipeline gas by 2027.

Russian LNG and pipeline gas fell to 80bcm in 2022, compared to 45% of all the continent’s supply before the war. They have fallen further this year and were projected to reach just 40-45bcm by year-end, the European Commission said in October.

Political decision
“If we restore a reasonable geopolitical environment, it’s not impossible that we will keep Russian gas in the mix,” Maria Rita Galli, CEO of Greece’s gas TSO Desfa, told Montel on the sidelines of the conference, adding though that no country would ever become as dependent as before the war.

“The only way [to phase out Russian pipeline gas] is to legally ban it, which is not the case yet,” she said, adding that it would be a commercial decision.

Thierry Bros, professor at the Sciences Po university in Paris, said it would be a political, rather than commercial, decision whether to accept Russian pipeline supplies in the future.

“It’s possible, but it’s going to be policy-driven,” he added.