Energy giant Gazprom is using its floating storage and regasification unit to export LNG.

The 170,000-cbm Marshal Vasilevskiy (built 2018) has loaded a cargo of gas from the group’s Portovaya LNG plant in the Baltic Sea, data from LSEG shows.

The FSRU normally supplies LNG to the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, to ensure energy security in case of pipeline disruption.

The unit’s use for exports raises the question of whether there is a shortage of Russian LNG carriers due to Western sanctions.

AIS data showed the vessel’s destination as “for orders” while underway in the English Channel, heading west past the Channel Islands on Tuesday morning.

The FSRU loaded the LNG on 9 May.

It is expected to arrive at its unknown discharge port on 27 June, Reuters reported.

Gazprom and Portovaya LNG have not commented.

Until 2022, the Marshal Vasilevskiy was used for LNG exports.

This year, the vessel has been deployed for ship-to-ship transfers of Portovaya gas due to repairs to another vessel.

TradeWinds has reported European Union member states are preparing to discuss a fresh tranche of proposed sanctions against Russia designed to hit the country’s LNG production and export capabilities.

Barred from re-exporting?

Under the planned sanctions — the EU’s 14th package — while imports of Russian LNG into Europe would not be banned, countries would be barred from re-exporting it from European terminals to other global destinations outside the bloc.

Belgium, France and Spain have been key for re-exports, importing cargoes shipped in on Russia’s specialised Arc7 LNG carrier fleet that are then shipped to other destinations on conventional vessels.

This would effectively force Russia to send its LNG cargoes on longer routes west from Novatek’s Yamal LNG project and under-construction Arctic LNG 2 when exporting to markets outside Europe, or take the Northern Sea Route east, which would tie up ice-breaker tonnage in winter months.

The UK and US have already sanctioned the Arctic LNG 2 project, which is now delayed.

The US has gone further, sanctioning Russia’s Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex, which is building LNG carriers for the Arctic project, and the two giant floating storage units.