EU country weaning off Russian energy – official

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The Dutch energy minister has said the government will not sign new supply contracts for Moscow’s LNG

The Netherlands is working to end liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing Dutch energy minister Rob Jetten.

He said the government has already stopped signing new contracts for importing the fuel from the sanctioned country.

We have to do what we can do to make sure there is no Russian fossil energy in our system, and we have been successful on coal, pipeline gas and oil,” Jetten explained, adding that authorities are in constant talks with domestic energy companies, urging them to scale down pre-existing LNG deals. The measures will apply to both spot and long-term contracts, the minister said.

Russian LNG imported through contracts signed before 2023 makes up about 15% of total Dutch imports of the fuel. According to ship-tracking data, so far this year, the Netherlands was the EU’s fourth-largest buyer of the Russian fuel. The country is also a transit hub for gas supplies, so the move away from Russian LNG could impact the entire European energy market, analysts say.

Jetten’s announcement follows a similar move by Spain, Europe’s largest buyer of Russian LNG, where importers were also recently asked not to sign new supply contracts for the fuel from Russia.

There have been more widespread efforts from Brussels to find a way for member states to ban Russian LNG shipments without introducing new energy sanctions. Last month, the bloc’s energy ministers endorsed a proposal that gives national governments legal power to temporarily prevent Russian exporters from up-front booking of infrastructure capacity they need for deliveries.

However, not all European countries are eager to curtail the use of Russian energy. Earlier this week, Hungary reached an agreement with Russian gas giant Gazprom on supplies in excess of what is provided for in its long-term contracts. The EU country is about 85% dependent on Russian natural gas.

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