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Russia diverts LNG supplies for Asia around Africa to avoid Red Sea, LSEG data shows


Russia is diverting China-bound cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on a longer route via the Cape of Good Hope due to the heightened risk of attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, LSEG data showed.

Global fuel producers, including Russia, were forced to change the way they deliver to Asia and go around Africa to avoid Houthi attacks in the Red Sea despite the Suez canal being the shortest route between Asia and Europe.

The conflict has also pushed up insurance premiums for ships taking the Red Sea route, adding to costs.

The extended route to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope will add about 10 days to the journey, something that could worsen a shortage of tankers Russia is already facing due to Western sanctions.

According to LSEG data, tanker LNG Geneva, loaded on Jan. 3 with Russian LNG from Yamal ship-to-ship (STS) near Kildin Island in the Murmansk region was heading around Africa and unloaded on Feb. 16 at the Jieyang terminal in China.

Another tanker, Clean Vision, which was carrying Russian gas from Novatek Yamal LNG, was loaded on Jan. 17 and is heading towards China where it is expected to unload on Feb. 28. Vessels carrying LNG from Yamal, which were loaded in December last year and delivered fuel to China via the Red Sea route are heading back around Africa, LSEG data shows. Novatek did not respond to a Reuters request.

Novatek used to supply its LNG to Asia via the Suez Canal when navigation along the Northern Sea Route was closed during the winter months.

Russia plans to establish year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route.

In January 2024, exports from Yamal LNG have totalled about 1.8 million metric tons. That figure fell to 1.46 million metric tons in February, according to LSEG data.

Qatar, one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters, informed Italy’s Edison and other buyers in Europe in January that its LNG cargoes would take a longer route via the Cape of Good Hope due to the Red Sea crisis.


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