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Russia to ship first cargo from new LNG plant to Greece

By Anna Shiryaevskaya and Stephen Stapczynski (Bloomberg) — Russia will send the first shipment from its new liquefied natural gas terminal to Greece, a surprise destination as Europe tries to reduce its reliance on Moscow for energy supplies.

The first shipment from the Portovaya LNG plant on Russia’s Baltic coast will head to Greece, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as the information is private. The buyer of the cargo was not disclosed.

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The new terminal, near the closed Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany, is starting up amid an unprecedented energy crisis worsened by Russia’s decision to cut flows to Europe. But while pipeline supply has all but stopped, super-chilled fuel from another Russian LNG plant is still landing in European ports.

Gazprom did not respond to a request for comment.

Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC completed 72-hour tests of the small-scale facility on Monday, with “some paperwork” still to be done, deputy chief executive Vitaly Markelov said earlier this week. The plant has already produced some 30,000 tons of LNG.

There are currently no sanctions on Russian LNG in Europe, although the UK stopped taking super chilled fuel from the country after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Greece’s LNG facility alone can send 6 billion cubic meters a year, about half of which goes north to Bulgaria and North Macedonia and the rest to the domestic market. Bulgaria was cut off from the Russian gas pipeline earlier this year after refusing to comply with Russia’s new payment terms.

The Pskov LNG tanker is currently moored at the Portovaya LNG plant, taking the first cargo on board, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

–With help from Elena Mazneva and Paul Tugwell.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.