Tanker Full Of Russian Gas To Land In Boston Despite Sanctions

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Despite sanctions, a shipment of liquid natural gas from a blacklisted Russian company in Siberia is expected to be unloaded in Boston this weekend.

The French LNG tanker Gaselys has been sitting in Massachusetts Bay since Wednesday, but the tanker is expected to land at Engie SA’s Everett LNG import terminal just north of Boston this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard told Bloomberg News Friday.

Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot delivered gas from Siberia’s Yamal LNG, a joint venture established by Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and China’s CNPC, to a terminal on Britain’s Isle of Grain late last year, according to Reuters. Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad then sold the product to Engie SA, a French company. The gas was loaded on the Gaselys, a ship bound for New England with a mixture of liquid natural gas from multiple locations. While the delivery was delayed, the ship is expected to make port in the very near future.

While Russia’s oil and gas exports are not subject to U.S. sanctions, Yamal LNG and Novatek, the project’s majority owner, are both blacklisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Politico revealed Friday. The punitive measures are in response to Russia’s aggressive invasion of the Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of Crimea.

The delivery of Russian liquid natural gas to Everett terminal is reportedly unprecedented. But, as the liquid natural gas on board the tanker is now the product of a French company, not the original Russian producer, its arrival in the U.S. is not technically a violation of the Obama-era prohibitions.

The Trump administration announced new sanctions against Russia Friday, designating 21 individuals and nine entities in order to increase pressure on the Russian government.

The arrival of the Gaselys signals the difficulty in enforcing sanctions against Russia in a diverse and expanding global energy market. Another tanker with a similar cargo is expected to arrive in February.

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