China is buying cheap Russian natural gas and bumping up natural gas exports from non-Russian sources to an increasingly energy-strapped Europe, where decreasing supply has pushed up prices.
Chinese liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia have skyrocketed amid a partial embargo on Russian exports to Europe that has brought down prices for Russian cargoes, Business Insider reported. European countries are scrambling to fill their natural gas storage reserves in preparation for winter, providing an opportunity for China to capitalize on subsequently inflated prices.
“It appears China is happy to take Russian LNG cargoes at discounts, swapping out alternative supply that can then be directed to Europe at higher prices,” Saul Kavonic, a Credit Suisse energy analyst, told Bloomberg.
China secured a 50% discount on LNG produced at an export plant owned by Russia’s state-run energy company Gazprom, Bloomberg reported. The country’s August imports of Russian LNG hit a two-year high at 611,000 metric tons, Business Insider reported.
European imports of natural gas climbed 60% in the first half of 2022, boosted primarily by an increase in supply from China, an August Nikkei report stated. At the same time, prices for natural gas cargoes heading to northwest Europe rose 65% on Sept. 8 compared to prices before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, S&P data showed.
Chinese traders could profit from channeling excess LNG to Europe as domestic demand has fallen in conjunction with a slowing economy, according to Business Insider. (RELATED: From China To Europe, Woke Funds Investing In Fossil Fuels And Slave Labor)
A Shanghai-based trader told Nikkei that profits from reselling imported LNG to Europe could reach in the tens of millions of dollars.
Chinese traders have resold at least 4 million tons of LNG, comprising roughly 7% of Europe’s imports, according to Nikkei.
The @EU_Commission proposal will aim to:
• Reduce electricity demand (peaks)
• Price cap on 🇷🇺 pipeline gas
• Help vulnerable consumers & businesses with revenue from the energy sector
• Enable support to electricity producers facing liquidity challenges linked to volatility
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 5, 2022
Meanwhile, Moscow’s fossil fuel revenues hit higher levels than before the invasion of Ukraine as crude oil prices rose in conjunction with increased exports to non-EU countries, The Wall Street Journal reported in August. While the EU has sworn to end dependence on Russian gas and Western countries have banned imports, Moscow continues to develop new buyers, ways of financing transactions and ways of evading sanctions.
China has refocused on domestic energy production, mainly from coal and fossil fuels, according to Nikkei. Local media reported the Shanxi province has increased coal mining by 100 million tons so far this year and will produce an additional 5o million tons in 2023.
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