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US seeks to thwart Russia’s ambition to become a major LNG exporter – Shaistah Akhtar comments for the Financial Times

Posted on 13 November 2023

Sanctions specialist, partner Shaistah Akhtar, has featured in a Financial Times article on US efforts to thwart Russia’s ambition to become a major LNG exporter.

The article reports that the US is directly targeting Russia’s ability to export liquefied natural gas and Washington has, for the first time, added Russian liquefied natural gas to sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine. European countries continued importing Russian LNG even after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, which triggered an energy crisis after Moscow slashed pipeline supplies to the continent.

Until recently, the US has sought to avoid disrupting flows so as not to increase the pressure on allies battling a shortage. But in early November, the US State Department announced sanctions on a new Russian development known as Arctic LNG 2 — in effect blocking countries in Europe and Asia from buying the project’s gas when it starts producing next year, according to officials, lawyers and analysts.

Shaistah explained that the US restrictions would in effect block the project for western buyers.

“If you are going to comply with US sanctions, as most people will if they have any kind of dealings with the US, they will not buy the gas coming from the project,” she said. “Unless you have some sort of licence or exemption in place.”

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