Spain Asks Gas Importers to Wean Themselves Off Russian LNG

(Reuters) — The Spanish government has asked LNG buyers to refrain from signing new contracts for Russian gas once existing contracts have expired, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Energy Minister Teresa Ribera sent a letter to LNG importers and major operators in the country recommending that they do not sign new contracts to buy Russian LNG, the two sources said.

The sources said that the request is not binding, since such shipments are not subject to European Union sanctions. The EU does have a ban on seaborne oil products and crude oil imports from Russia.

The letter reinforces a plea Ribera made last year and is in line with an appeal EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson made earlier this month.

The letter, sent on March 14, asks companies to step up efforts to diversify supply of LNG and cut reliance on Russian gas, one of the sources said.

Spanish LNG imports from Russia soared since the invasion of Ukraine and the closure of a pipeline link with Algeria last year, based on data from gas grid operator Enagas. Spain relies entirely on imports for its gas supplies.

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