Two years after the start of the war: How Russian gas is still flowing into Germany

Two years after the start of the war
How Russian gas is still flowing into Germany

By Christina Lohner

In contrast to other EU states, Germany no longer imports gas from Russia – but not directly. There is certainly a stream on other routes. Not just gas.

The strong dependence of Western countries such as Germany on Russian energy at the time may have contributed to Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine two years ago. However, the Federal Republic reacted incredibly quickly considering its circumstances. Over the course of 2022, it reduced its share of Russian pipeline gas from more than half to almost zero, as the German foreign trade association GTAI explains. At record speed, the federal government launched new infrastructure for liquefied gas imports in order to become independent of Putin’s gas. Of all things, Russian gas is now flowing into Germany again via this new import route.

Germany now receives the majority of its gas imports via pipelines from Norway. “An admixture of Russian gas is ruled out here,” explains gas market expert Sebastian Gulbis in an interview with The situation is different with imports from the Netherlands, Belgium and France. The countries also continue to import gas from Russian sources by sea. This January, according to Gulbis, managing director of the energy consulting company Enervis, around a fifth of all European LNG imports were of Russian origin – and thus proportionately more than in the whole of last year, when the Russian import share was 13 percent.

“Once landed in the EU, the LNG is regasified and fed into the European gas network,” reports Gulbis. “The origin of the gas is becoming unclear.” Even if the exact amount cannot be determined, it can be assumed that “Russian gas also reaches Germany via France, Belgium and the Netherlands.” Experts and environmentalists estimate that the share of Russian liquid gas in Germany’s gas supply is in the mid-single-digit to low double-digit percentage range.

Russian oil reaches Germany via India

Non-governmental organizations criticize the lack of transparency; the Federal Ministry of Economics, for example, cannot provide any concrete information on Russian import volumes. However, Gulbis doubts that a “zero import” of Russian quantities to Germany could even be implemented because the European gas infrastructure is strongly networked. Especially since Russia could transport and sell its LNG, similar to its shadow fleet of oil tankers, under a different flag.

Nothing is likely to change in Europe’s Russian gas imports any time soon; Russia is the EU’s second largest LNG supplier after the USA. Szymon KardaÅ›, energy expert at the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, explained in an interview with “The first reason for this is that some EU member states still have long-term contracts with Russia “, such as Spain and France. On the other hand, existing buyers needed alternatives to Russian pipeline gas. Before Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the share of Russian pipeline gas in EU gas imports was 42 percent.

As a result, the EU could not bring itself to impose an embargo on Russian gas – in contrast to coal and oil from Russia, where it hurts less. But Russian oil also continues to flow to Germany via detours. The Federal Republic apparently continued to import large quantities of Russian oil via India as a processed product such as gasoline or diesel, as shown by figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Imports of petroleum products from India increased more than twelvefold in the first seven months of last year. India imports large quantities of crude oil from Russia. Russia has also successfully avoided the EU’s oil price cap, and controls have now been tightened.

Russian uranium reaches Germany

Russia also continues to supply uranium and fuel elements for nuclear power plants to the EU – uranium imports almost doubled last year compared to 2021, according to Klaus-Jürgen Gern, who analyzes the raw material market at the Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in Kiel Markets lead, emphasized in response to’s request. After the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck brought an import ban back into play. In addition to France, many eastern EU states are among the buyers.

But the sensitive cargo also comes to Germany. According to opponents of nuclear power, Russian uranium only arrived at the fuel element factory in Lingen, Lower Saxony, at the beginning of February. The French operators even want to expand production – in cooperation with a subsidiary of the Russian nuclear company Rosatom. The review by the German authorities is ongoing.

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