Despite worldwide sanctions imposed after invading Ukraine in 2022, Vladimir Putin’s Russia maintains a ranking as the world’s fourth-largest LNG exporter, shipping out approximately 30 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in 2023.

Russia continues to increase its liquefaction capacity with the opening of Arctic LNG 2 and is planning further projects, Flex LNG said in its first-quarter 2024 results presentation on May 23. Flex is owner and commercial operator of a fleet of 13 state-of-the-art LNG carriers.

Looking forward to 2030, Russia’s liquefaction capacity is expected to surpass the 74 mtpa mark, Flex LNG said, citing various sources including Rystad Energy and Politico.

The EU has recently proposed sanctions targeting the Russian LNG sector, including bans on re-loading Russian LNG in the EU and barring new investments and provisions of technology and services by EU operators for new Russian LNG projects, Flex LNG said.

The sanctions are in addition to existing U.S. and EU sanctions that target suppliers and shareholders in the Arctic LNG 2 project, which has suspended production.

Flex LNG warned that “Russia's inability to construct or charter in the necessary tonnage capacity for its projects could lead to increased demand for existing vessels on the water, potentially resulting in the emergence of an ‘LNG dark fleet’.”