Russia-Ukraine war: China selling imported gas to the EU

European companies are buying Sinopec's surpluses. Despite its quasi-ally status with Russia, China is helping the EU reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Surging prices, not politics, are behind this trend. Meanwhile, China-EU trade is up.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese energy giant Sinopec has sold excess quantities of imported Russian liquefied natural gas to its European clients.

This seems to run against China's special partnership with Russia, since the European Union is looking for new energy suppliers to replace Russian fossil fuels.

The EU is currently evaluating how to end gas and oil imports from Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Sinopec yesterday reported that its gas sales to Europe are based only on market considerations, not politics.

The surge in price and higher stockpiles due to reduced demand following winter have encouraged resale.

Last year, almost half of China's domestic natural gas consumption came from imports.

LNG made up about two-thirds of natural gas imports, roughly 40 per cent of that from Australia and 10 per cent from the United States.

China has not followed the West and imposed sanctions on Russia for its aggression of Ukraine; in fact, it plans to boost its imports of Russian gas.

The United States and the European Union have warned China not to financially support Russia and undermine their sanctions.

Despite the official rhetoric of neutrality and “understanding” vis-à-vis Russia’s position, China’s support for Putin appears a bit lukewarm.

Current LNG imports from Russia are in line with last year's with 321,380 tonnes in March, 400,000 in February and 264,000 in January.

Many analysts believe that interdependence with US and EU markets is pushing China to avoid openly helping Russia.

Chinese leaders are seeking a point of equilibrium between their country’s close relationship with Moscow and trade with the United States and European Union.

Together, the United States and the European Union account for more than a quarter of China's global trade, while the Russia’s share is just 2.4 per cent.

Just yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce reported that in the first quarter of this year bilateral trade with the European Union grew by 12.2 per cent, reaching US$ 205.9 billion.