Data shows Chinese imports of Russian LNG flat in March despite overall drop


A model of the gas pipeline is placed on a Russian ruble banknote and a flag in this illustration taken March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) – China imported 321,380 tonnes of liquefied natural gas from Russia in March, flat on the same month last year, despite a sharp drop in the country’s total fuel imports due to high spot prices, according to Chinese authorities. customs data.

China imported nearly 400,000 tons from Russia in February and 264,000 tons in January.

The March imports were mostly for deals made before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

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China’s overall LNG imports last month fell 17% year-on-year to 4.63 million tonnes, the lowest in two years.

China regularly imports LNG shipments from the Yamal project in the Russian Arctic, in which Chinese state-owned CNPC and CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) have stakes. But last month, imports from the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia’s Far East accounted for 59% of China’s imports from Russia.

China imported 190,000 tonnes of Sakhalin-2 LNG in March, tripling February’s total, when there were no purchases from that project in January, according to shipment tracking data from Refinitiv.

Sakhalin-2 is controlled and operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM). Other stakeholders are Shell, Japan’s Mitsui & Co (8031.T) and Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T).

Shell announced on March 1, shortly after Russia launched what it called a “special military operation” on Ukraine, that it would end all Russian operations. Read more

Japan, however, decided not to abandon the massive LNG project in the name of its energy security.

(This article from April 20 corrects the title and indicates that imports are stable, not falling, and moves the reference of the decline in total imports from paragraph 3 to lead.)

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Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Muyu Xu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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