(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s Yamal LNG venture, which produces liquefied natural gas in the country’s Arctic region, has started halting shipments to a former Gazprom trading unit due to sanctions imposed by Moscow.
Yamal Trade Pte has declared force majeure on some of the cargoes it sold to Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter. The legal clause -- which allows the company not to fulfill its contractual obligations -- wasn’t triggered for the whole contract, but on a cargo-by-cargo basis, the people said.
The move comes after Moscow imposed sanctions on several Gazprom units seized by the German government earlier this year. It also highlights how the economic battle following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is starting to ripple through the market for LNG, a key fuel for Europe as the continent seeks to diversify its sources of energy.
Russia blocked dealings with Gazprom Germania GmbH and its trading unit, GM&T. A ban on payments -- and on entry to Russian ports by GM&T-chartered vessels -- has cast doubt on the unit’s ability to lift and trade cargoes from the country.
Read: Russian Sanctions on Ex-Gazprom Arm Risk Upending LNG Market
GM&T is still trying to find a way to secure its contracted cargoes, including via possible exemptions to the sanctions, according to the people. The trader is encountering similar loading problems at Russia’s other LNG plant, Sakhalin-2, where it has a deal to take 1 million tons of LNG a year, they said.
GM&T lifts 2.9 million tons of LNG annually under a 20-year contract with Yamal LNG, with cargoes changing hands at the Zeebrugge terminal in Belgium. The trader supplies 2.5 million tons a year to GAIL India Ltd. under a contract that runs until 2041, according to data from the LNG importers group GIIGNL.
Yamal LNG is majority controlled by Russia’s Novatek PJSC, with TotalEnergies SE and China National Petroleum Corp. holding minority stakes. Its Yamal Trade arm is incorporated in Singapore.
Yamal LNG and GM&T didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Novatek and Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. weren’t immediately available for comment.
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