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Spain energy minister urges utilities to reduce LNG imports from Russia

·1-min read
Emergency meeting to discuss the energy situation in Europe

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Energy Minister Teresa Ribera urged Spanish companies on Monday to reduce imports of liquefied natural gas from Russia and search for alternatives and said the country was readying a contingency plan for the winter in order to help EU neighbours.

"It is desirable that traders seek to minimise imports of Russian gas and diversify the contracts they may hold," she told a news briefing.

In May 2022, Russian LNG accounted for 11.9% of Spanish gas imports compared with 6.6% in the same month of 2021.

Spain has heavily invested over the past decades into capacity to unload and regasify LNG and has little dependence on Russian energy supplies. Europe has sought to curtail its reliance on Russia's gas since the invasion of Ukraine.

Although it is in a better position than most other European countries, Ribera said Spain would seek to save energy in order to free up resources to use in "solidarity" with the most exposed EU neighbours.

"We are asking ourselves how we can contribute to helping our neighbours, knowing that this is one of the fundamental rules of how Europe works," she said.

The plan will promote "smart use" of energy to save power and the replacement of gas with other sources of energy.

The biggest single pipeline carrying Russian gas to Germany began annual maintenance on Monday, with flows expected to stop for 10 days, but governments, markets and companies are worried the shutdown might be extended because of the war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo nd Belen Carreno, editing by Andrei Khalip)

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