Russian LNG exports up in H1 but set to fall due to maintenance

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Russia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports rose 2.7% in the first half of the year to 16.79 million metric tons, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday, but added volumes were set to decline in the coming months due to possible maintenance at the Sakhalin 2 plant.

Russia’s LNG exports increased thanks to a 6.3% boost in supplies to Turkey and Europe, mainly to France, to 9.7 million tons, it reported, citing ship-tracking data from Kpler.

It said Russia’s Sakhalin 2 LNG plant had stopped LNG exports since June 20, probably due to maintenance.

Gazprom controls 77.5% of Sakhalin Energy which operates the plant located at the southern tip of Russia’s Pacific island of Sakhalin. Other shareholders are Japanese firms Mitsui 8031.T with a 12.5% stake and Mitsubishi 8058.T with 10%.

The project’s operator did not reply to a request for comment. It usually conducts annual maintenance work in summer.

In June, Russian LNG exports fell by 3.7% year on year to 2.3 million tons, of which 1.44 million tons were shipped to Europe, 680,000 tons were exported to Asia and 220,000 tons were not nominated for destination.

The newspaper said France was the prime destination for Russian LNG in the first half of the year, receiving 3.2 million tons, up 86.8% year on year.

Last month, the European Union (EU) adopted new sanctions against Russia, including the ban of trans-shipments – transferring cargoes from one ship to another – off EU ports.

Analysts have said that the restrictions will, in fact, lead to an increase in Russian LNG exports to Europe, which does not require trans-shipment operations, unlike Russian LNG supplies to Asia via western routes, Kommersant said.

Source: Reuters