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US could get first LNG import from Russia despite sanctions

This photo taken on June 3, 2017 the new Russian “Christophe de Margerie” Arctic LNG tanker, on the side of the International Economic Forum (SPIEF), following its naming ceremony in Saint Petersburg. (AFP)
A vessel that may be carrying liquefied natural gas from Russia’s new Yamal LNG export terminal could be heading to the United States despite sanctions against the company that operates the Russian facility, according to Thomson Reuters Interactive Map.
The Christophe De Margerie tanker picked up a cargo from Novatek PAO’s Yamal facility, Russia’s second LNG export terminal, on Dec. 9 and dropped it off at National Grid Plc’s Isle of Grain LNG facility near London on Dec. 28, the map showed.
Since then, Engie SA’s Gaselys LNG tanker picked up LNG from the UK facility on Dec. 30 and is expected to arrive in Boston on Jan. 22.
It is possible that some of the LNG on the Gaselys is from Yamal, according to a report by S&P Global Platts.
Carol Churchill, a spokeswoman for Engie, which bought the cargo in the United Kingdom and loaded it onto one of its vessels, said, “This transaction is compliant with all US trade laws.”
“Given the exceptionally cold temperatures and resulting high gas demand in the US Northeast, Engie purchased this spot cargo to supplement our other contracted supplies from Trinidad,” Churchill said. Engie owns the Everett LNG import terminal near Boston.
Churchill did not answer a question about whether any of the gas came from Russia. Officials at the US Energy Department and National Grid were not immediately available for comment.
If the vessel is carrying Russian LNG and ends up in the United States despite the US sanctions against Novatek, it would be the first ever Russian LNG to go to the United States, according to US energy data.
The US imposed sanctions against Novatek in July 2014 due to Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine, making it harder for the Russian gas producer to access western financial markets, according to S&P Global.
Novatek is Russia’s largest independent gas producer.
Since Yamal entered service in December 2017, three vessels have picked up LNG cargoes, Chris. De Margerie on Dec. 9 and Jan. 8, Boris Vilkitsky on Dec. 9 and Dec. 22, and Fedor Litke on Dec. 29.
The Boris Vilkitsky dropped off its cargo from Dec. 22 at Rotterdam, according to the map. It is uncertain whether the Boris Vilkitsky actually picked up any gas on Dec. 9 since it did not go anywhere after stopping by the port.
The Fedor Litke is heading to the Montoir LNG terminal in France, according to the map.

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