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Russia ‘burning off gas’ that would normally have been sent to Europe

Analysis suggests that Russia is using large quantities of natural gas it would have previously exported to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Satellite monitoring of heat levels in a new facility for liquified natural gases near the Finnish border has shown that it has been occurring since 11 July. An estimated $10m (PS8.4m), worth of gas is being burned every day.

Flaring was first discovered by Finnish citizens when they saw a large flame at the Russian border.

Rystad Energy, a Norwegian independent energy research company, has found that approximately 4.34 million cubic meters of gas are burned each day.

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According to Sindre Knutsson (senior vice-president for gas and LNG markets at Rystad Energie), this is enough gas to supply 1.5 Million European homes.

He described the amount of carbon dioxide produced at the plant as an “environmental catastrophe”.

Experts believe that the flaring is part of the testing procedures at Portovaya LNG plant, or due to a lack coordination between different operating segments. However experts say “the likely magnitude of this continuous flaring period and its duration are quite extreme”.

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According to Mr Knutsson, similar observations were made by other firms that had been interpreting satellite data and “confirming these radiant heat levels”.

He stated that there is a lot of flaring at the LNG facility, which is currently under construction.

The Portovaya plant is located northwest of St Petersburg. It is near a compressor station at Nord Stream 1’s start. This pipeline will take you from Russia into Germany.

The supply was interrupted for 10 days during July’s annual maintenance. While it has since been restored, the gas flow is only half of its capacity.

Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, has stated that the main reason for this was faulty or delayed equipment.

Germany denies this claim, saying that it is a pretext. Moscow uses gas to counter Western pressure over its invasion Ukraine. This has fueled soaring prices as well as the deeper cost of living crisis ahead winter.

Russia claims that this is false and denies it.

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In June, the UK did not import any fuels from Russia.

Putin plans to increase the size of Russian armed forces

Mr Knutsson stated that the exact cause of flaring is unknown because Russia and Gazprom have not communicated with each other.

He suggested that there could be many reasons for Russia’s flaring, with Russia having a “surplus” of gas.

He said, “There are many possible reasons, but we don’t know which one.”

Concerns are also raised about the amount of soot and carbon dioxide the plant produces.

Mr Knutsson stated that this is equivalent to 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, which is an environmental disaster.

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