Spain imports almost twice as much natural gas from the US as from Russia




The conflict in Ukraine has once again put on the table the energy dependency of Spain, which is forced to import 99% of the natural gas and oil it consumes. This issue already jumped to the front pages of the newspapers last November, when Algeria closed the Maghreb gas pipeline – to punish its neighbor Morocco – through which significant quantities of gas had been reaching our country for 20 years.

The case of Ukraine is different, since we do not import gas from this republic. However, if there were a major conflict with Russia, Spain would indeed be affected, since 8.7% of all the gas we consume comes from there.

This raw material arrives

to our country by boat –Liquefied petroleum gas, in a liquid state and at -160º–, since the different gas pipelines that leave Russia end in Central Europe.

In 2021 (until November, according to the latest official data from Cores), Russia exported 32,832 gigawatt hours (GWh) to Spain. In all of 2020 there were 38,081 GWh (10.42% of the total) and, a year earlier, 35,618 GWh (8.5%).

If we transfer to this sector the diplomatic pulse between Russia and the United States, we see that this country is ahead, since it exports almost twice as much gas to Spain as the former. Last year, until November, we received 50,287 GWh, 13.3% of the total; in 2020, 57,117 GWh (15.63%) and in 2019 46,126 GWh, 11%.

While gas imports from Russia began in 2018, those from the United States began in 2016.

The ship 'Sestao Knutsen' became, on July 22 of that year, the first gas carrier to unload LNG in Spain from the United States. It was the second shipment of North American LNG to arrive in Europe (a few weeks earlier another docked in Portugal). The vessel, with a capacity of 138,000 m3, unloaded at the Reganosa terminal (Ferrol) from Sabine Pass (Louisiana).

Modern methane tankers have a capacity of over 170,000 m3, which equivalent to the consumption of almost a day in Spain. The construction of one of these ships involves an outlay of around 200 million euros.

In any case, if the conflict in Ukraine worsened, Spain would have no problem substituting Russian gas for other sources. In fact, our country receives gas from a score of sources. The problem with an armed confrontation in that region is that international gas prices would skyrocket.

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