The European Union is contemplating a potential ban on imports of Russia's pipeline gas by the end of this year, Walter Boltz, the energy advisor to the Austrian government, stated in an interview with Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS).
According to Boltz, the EU has acknowledged that it could manage without the remaining Russian pipeline gas it currently receives. However, some countries, particularly Hungary, which still rely on natural gas delivered via pipelines, might seek exemptions or resist an EU ban.
Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has ceased the publication of data on its gas deliveries to Europe. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, gas exports to Europe have declined as Russia cut off gas supplies to several European countries.
In April and May 2022, Russia halted its gas supply to Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland. Subsequently, gas deliveries via Nord Stream to Germany were significantly reduced in June, followed by a complete cutoff of Nord Stream supply in early September, just weeks before the mysterious sabotage incident on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea at the end of the same month.
Russia still transports some gas to Europe through pipelines, primarily through the transit route through Ukraine and TurkStream.
Ukraine could potentially present a compelling case to lobby the EU for a ban on Russian pipeline gas imports. Boltz highlighted that if one considers the fact that Russia earns $15 to $25 billion annually from gas sales while Ukraine only earns $800 million in transit fees, it would be sensible for Ukraine to forgo transit and prevent Russia from accessing this revenue.