German state company resumes liquefied natural gas trade with Russia
Photo: TotalEngines

A former unit of Russia's Gazprom nationalised in Germany plans to load LNG produced at the Yamal LNG plant in Siberia in early October, drawing ire to the federal government, Bloomberg reports.

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Germany nationalised the company, known as SEFE, last year at the height of Europe's energy crisis.

A SEFE vessel will pick up the Russian cargo via transshipment in Belgium on Oct. 1 and deliver it in India later in the month, port data reviewed by Bloomberg show.

A company spokesperson said the operation does not violate EU sanctions against Russia since German ports are not involved in this process and "nor are European or German gas networks."

"These delivery volumes therefore do not reach the German market, industry or consumers in Germany," the spokesperson told Bloomberg in a statement.

The trading firm has a long-term contract to buy volumes from Yamal LNG, which it inherited from its Gazprom past.

It also has separate long-term obligations to supply India’s GAIL Ltd.

Although the cargo is headed for India, a German state-owned company doing deals with Russia is causing some alarm. Critics say it flies in the face of Germany’s pledge to avoid handling Russian LNG in the fallout of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

"This contradicts pretty much everything the German government has said on the subject in the past," Christian Leye, a member of parliament from the opposition Left Party group, told Bloomberg.

"The economic entanglements with Russia are apparently not as easy to resolve as politicians would have us believe."

Germany’s economy ministry acknowledged Bloomberg’s request for comment, saying it is looking into the matter.

Germany has opposed, though not banned, the procurement of LNG from Russia. In January, Berlin informed companies "that it will take appropriate measures to exclude purchases of Russian LNG if possible."