Russia has sent its first consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Britain but signs have appeared that show the sanctions by the US and EU could prevent it from being supplied to the country which is facing a severe shortage of fuel.
The consignment was reportedly delivered at the British Grain terminal on Thursday by an ice-class tanker – the Christophe de Margerie – that brought the LNG from Russia’s Yamal project.
However, Russia’s Tass news agency quoted Jeanette Unsworth, an official from the British energy company National Grid, as saying that the gas would not be supplied to homes after regasification.
"It will not enter the National Grid UK transmission network," Unsworth said, adding that she could not comment on the final destination of the consignment “for commercial reasons”.
On December 11, Russia’s Novatek natural gas producer, having a share in Yamal LNG, said that the first batch of gas from the facility had been sold to Petronas LNG UK Limited, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Petronas state oil and gas company, according to a report by Sputnik news agency.
For Russia’s energy industry, the $27bn Yamal project has been both a technical and political test, according to a recent report by the Financial Times. Not only has it aimed to prove the viability of producing LNG just 2,000 kilometers from the North Pole and shipping it to China through the Arctic, it has also shown that investments can still flow to Russia despite the restrictions on finance and technology caused by US and European sanctions.
The Yamal project, which is majority owned by private Russian gas company Novatek, was threatened in 2014 when Gennady Timchenko, the company’s second-biggest shareholder, was targeted by US sanctions following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, the Financial Times added.