Will a Russian tanker bound for Sabine Pass embarrass Putin?

(Courtesy Gazprom)

A Russian tanker headed to the Sabine Pass terminal to pick up a cargo of liquefied natural gas later this month could prove embarrassing to President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.

Putin has accused the U.S. of undercutting his country’s gas exports, as U.S. seaborne LNG is seen as a threat to Kremlin-controlled gas company Gazprom’s dominance of the gas market in Europe, where it accounts for more than 35% of supplies.

Reuters reports that energy trader Gunvor leased the Marshal Vasilevskiy tanker from Gazprom for loading an LNG cargo in the U.S. According to Refinitiv Eikon data, the tanker —a floating storage and regasification unit, or FSRU, that can also act as an LNG vessel— departed from the port of Rotterdam on Nov. 4. It is due to arrive at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal on Nov. 26 and loading is scheduled for Nov. 29.

The Russian ship’s voyage comes at a time when Gazprom’s deliveries of pipeline gas to Europe are expected to fall this year from a record-high of more than 200 billion cubic meters in 2018, as Europe seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.

The Russian tanker’s final destination is unknown.

Reuters has the full report.