Imports of natural gas to Spain from Russia shot up last May to record levels, reaching 9,663 gigawatt hours (GWh), thus becoming the second main supplier in the month, very close to Algeria.
Specifically, natural gas from Russia, all of it by methane tanker as liquefied natural gas (LNG), almost tripled its figure in May compared to the same month last year, when it amounted to 3,289 GWh, according to data from the latest bulletin from enagas.
In this way, in May the upward trend of recent months in purchases of natural gas from Russia was confirmed, although it reached maximum levels since the war broke out in Ukraine at the end of February 2022.
Upward trend across Europe
With these imports of 9,663 GWh in May, natural gas of Russian origin covered 27.8% of the total demand in Spain for the month, only behind Algeria, which with 9,824 GWh -7,853 GWh per tube and 1,971 GWh as GNL-, was once again the main supplier, with 28.3% of the total.
It is true that in May the upward trend in natural gas imports from Russia occurred throughout Europe. And it is that Russian natural gas is not included in the vetoes adopted by the EU against the country.
In the specific case of Spain, most of the natural gas that arrives from Russia comes from long-term contracts with Yamal LNG, a consortium led by the private Russian company Novatek and whose shareholders include European capital and capital from other countries.
However, for months the third vice president and Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has been appealing to the Spanish energy companies to diversify the sources of LNG supply and do without that from Russia.
Ribera came to transfer this suggestion in a letter sent to the energy companies and main Spanish natural gas marketers.
Collapse of gas from the US
Also notable in the month was the collapse suffered by natural gas from the United States – a country that last year came to star in a historic ‘sorpasso’, becoming the main supplier of Spain in the midst of the crisis caused after the invasion of Ukraine, by ahead of Algeria-, which fell to 1,964 GWh, almost 85% less than the 13,083 GWh of May of last year.
In this case, a large part of the natural gas coming from the United States went to Argentina, which increased supplies from this country in May, driven by the Austral winter.
In the accumulated of the year, Algeria is also confirmed as the main supplier of natural gas to Spain, with 44,015 GWh; ahead of the United States, with 36,055 GWh. Both countries account for 45% of total imports -25% and 20.4%, respectively.
Behind them are Russia, with 33,472 GWh -19.0% of the total- and Nigeria, which reached 27,297 GWh -15.5%- in these first five months of the year.
Storages, at record levels
With regard to underground gas storage in Spain, in May they reached record levels, with 94% filling, when in the same month of 2022 they were at 66%.
Likewise, in May a historical daily record was broken in the export of natural gas by pipeline to France through the VIP Pyrenees, registering a flow of 261.5 GWh/day, with 98.7% of its maximum export capacity on past May 13.
Demand falls 4.6%
For its part, the national demand for natural gas in the month of May registered a decrease of 4.6% compared to the same period last year, with 24,536 GWh. The drop in both conventional demand (-3.4%) and that of the electricity sector (-7.6%) stood out.
In the first five months of the year, the consumption of natural gas accumulates a decline of 14.3% compared to the same period of 2022, with 140,146 GWh.