LNG Hub Built to Ease Energy Link to Russia Gets Siberian Cargo

(Bloomberg) -- The liquefied natural gas terminal Lithuania built five years ago to reduce its dependence on Russian fuel is about to get its first Siberian cargo.

The cargo will arrive at the facility, symbolically named Independence, next week on board the Stena Clear Sky, according to ship-tracking data on Bloomberg. That vessel loaded it at France’s Montoir terminal from another tanker that had in turn taken it from a Russian ship in Zeebrugge in Belgium.

The moves indicate the increasingly global nature of the LNG trade, when cargoes change hands, and vessels, several times. The final seller into Lithuania is unknown and may not be Novatek PJSC, the operator of the Siberian Yamal LNG project, which sells its cargoes to a variety of buyers.

LNG Hub Built to Ease Energy Link to Russia Gets Siberian Cargo

Lithuania built the Independence floating LNG import terminal in 2014 to buy cargoes from global sellers such as Norway, Qatar and the U.S. to reduce its almost complete dependence on Russian pipeline fuel and as a bartering chip to secure better prices. U.S. President Donald Trump has been urging the Baltic states and Poland to stop importing gas through pipelines from Russia and instead turn to buying “freedom gas” from the U.S.

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“It is a bit ironic to now observe Lithuania’s FSRU ‘Independence’, a symbolic name representing Lithuania’s independence from Russian gas, receiving a cargo originally sourced from Yamal,” Madeleine Overgaard, an LNG market analyst at Kpler, a data intelligence company, said by email. “It reminds me of the Russian cargo arriving in the U.S. last year, whilst Trump was tweeting about the EU needing U.S.-sourced LNG to break free from pipeline gas from Russia.”

The first-ever Yamal LNG cargo was in January 2018 sent to a U.K. terminal and from there to Boston. While the molecules always mix via such transfers, at least some of that cargo originated at the Siberian plant.

Klaipeda LNG terminal confirmed that the Stena Clear Sky will arrive on Sept. 16 from Montoir, but declined to comment on the commercial aspects of the cargo.

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