Spain seeks tougher EU checks on energy imports to ensure Russian sanctions upheld

·1-min read
Spain's Minister of Energy Teresa Ribera poses for a portrait after an interview with Reuters at the ministry headquarters in Madrid

By Pietro Lombardi

BILBAO, Spain (Reuters) - Spain will push the European Commission to introduce a certification system to identify the source of energy imports to Europe to ensure that sanctions covering Russian exports are upheld, a source at Spain's energy ministry told Reuters on Friday.

Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera will write to the European Commission as soon as next week to propose a guarantee certificate from the Commission on all imports, with energy products being a key concern, the source said.

The news comes a day after the chief executive of Spanish energy firm Repsol said that Russian diesel is still coming into Europe via third countries despite EU sanctions and called for firmer enforcement.

"We ask European authorities to stop these imports through intermediaries," Repsol's Josu Jon Imaz said on Thursday.

Spain's proposal for a certificate from the Commission would require ports, refineries and exporters to include all elements of the shipment including volume and date, guaranteeing that imports arriving in EU territory are not subject to any of the approved sanctions packages, the source said.

The source said that Spain has already stepped up checks on import papers but had so far detected no evidence of Russian diesel being imported.

The European Union banned Russian crude imports from Dec. 5 and Russian oil products from Feb. 5, as it attempts to deprive Russia of oil revenue.

However, market sources told Reuters when the bans were introduced that tracking crude once it was refined and diesel once it was blended would pose a challenge, and that some Russian diesel was likely to be delivered to and re-exported from countries such as India and Turkey.

(Reporting by Pietro Lombardi, editing by Aislinn Laing and Susan Fenton)