German Firm To Facilitate First Russian LNG Shipments Since Crisis

In a significant development, a former trading unit once under the control of Gazprom is on the brink of receiving its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia since it was taken over by Germany during last year’s energy crisis.

Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE), which Berlin successfully pried away from the Russian gas giant, is scheduled to load LNG originating from the Yamal plant in Siberia on October 1st, according to port data. SEFE’s vessel, the Amur River, will undertake a transshipment process at Zeebrugge, Belgium, before proceeding to deliver the cargo in India.

While the precise route of the tanker may evolve, there is currently no indication that this cargo will find its way back to Europe. SEFE holds a longstanding contract to procure LNG volumes from Yamal LNG, an obligation inherited from its Gazprom legacy. Failure to fulfill this commitment could result in financial losses for the company. SEFE’s spokesperson declined to offer any comment on this matter.

It’s worth noting that the European Union still permits gas imports from Russia, despite imposing comprehensive sanctions in various other domains following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. The surge in Russian LNG imports occurred as a response to Gazprom’s reduction in pipeline gas supplies during the conflict aftermath. While the German government has not banned such imports, it has expressed its disapproval.

SEFE, previously known as Gazprom Germania, encountered severe financial difficulties due to its Gazprom ties in the wake of last year’s invasion. To prevent its collapse, the German government intervened and provided support, effectively relying on German taxpayers. Notably, the company maintains trading operations in London and Singapore.

Following Germany’s takeover of the unit, Moscow imposed sanctions on the company, including a halt to access to Russian LNG, including supplies from Yamal. In a recent development, Russia eased its ban on LNG shipments to this former Gazprom trading unit in June. It’s worth mentioning that SEFE has distinct obligations to supply India’s GAIL Ltd. under a separate long-term contract.

Neither Yamal LNG nor its majority shareholder, Novatek PJSC, has responded to requests for comments as of now. Similarly, the German Ministry of Economy has not provided a response.

According to port data from Zeebrugge, the cargo carried by the Amur River tanker is slated to arrive at the port of Dahej in western India on October 23rd. Presently, the vessel is moored at the French port of Dunkirk.

Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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