Spain registered a 35 percent yearly rise in natural gas from Russia in 2023 as the Ukraine crisis was about to enter its third year.
According to Enagas, a Spanish energy company that owns and operates the nation’s gas grid, the natural gas imports from Russia reached a record 72,690 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2023.
With the gas pipelines between Europe and Russia mostly at a standstill, Spain’s large gasification infrastructure has become a top destination for Russian gas delivered by ship before it is resold to other countries, Albert Banal-Estanol, an energy expert and professor at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, told Xinhua.
“Spain is now using its gasification infrastructure for storing lots of gas and even keeping it to resell later if necessary to other countries who might need it,” said the expert.
Despite government pressure on Spanish energy companies, the cut in Russian gas purchases has not been successful, as firms strive to honor contracts signed prior to the onset of the Ukraine crisis, while the EU has yet to implement sanctions on imports of Russian gas.
“Decisions on foreign trade must be taken within the EU framework. There has been no decision by the European Council to include gas imports from Russia among the prohibited and sanctioned activities,” said Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, in response to the news.
Europe’s search for new sources of gas has made Spain a key player in guaranteeing the continent’s supply, with gas delivered from Spain increasing by 10 percent last year to a new record of 75,300 GWh, according to Enagas.