(Bloomberg) -- Several liquefied natural gas buyers have paused further purchases from Russia due to the quickly evolving wave of sanctions from the West, adding to worries over tight global supplies of the super-chilled fuel.

Some importers from Asia to South America have decided to temporarily halt buying spot LNG shipments from Russia as they wait for more clarity on restrictions against banks and companies, according to traders. Across the board, traders say they are being more cautious about buying LNG or using vessels from Russian entities.

The move will intensify global competition for a shrinking pool of available LNG, exacerbating a global shortage that threatens to send spot prices of the heating and power plant fuel higher. Russia was the fourth-largest LNG exporter in 2021.

Western nations agreed over the weekend to exclude some Russian banks from the SWIFT bank messaging system. And while the new raft of sanctions don’t directly target energy, the volatile and fast-moving backdrop is making it challenging for LNG buyers to commit to more shipments from Russia.

Some smaller importer are struggling to get letters of credit from banks to purchase Russian LNG, effectively halting their procurement, the traders said, requesting anonymity to discuss private details. At least two of China’s largest state-owned banks are restricting financing for purchases of Russian commodities.

To be sure, LNG importers are continuing to take delivery of Russian shipments under long-term contracts or that were previously purchased, traders said.

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