French Senate Committee Urges Halt to Russian LNG Imports.

In a decisive move, a Senate investigating committee has called on France to cease importing Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and to advocate for EU sanctions on the fuel.

This recommendation was part of a comprehensive report issued on Wednesday, which also proposed that the French government obtain special rights over strategic decisions and major shareholder changes within the French energy giant TotalEnergies.

The investigation, initiated in December by green lawmakers, culminated in a report that gained unanimous approval from the committee, despite the upper house being dominated by centrist and conservative alliances.

TotalEnergies previously sparked a political controversy when CEO Patrick Pouyanne suggested relocating the company’s primary stock listing from Paris to New York. In response, the committee’s report recommended that the French state acquire a “special share” in TotalEnergies, granting it significant influence over the company’s strategic decisions and ownership changes.

This measure, the report argued, is necessary due to “the evolution of threats weighing on the energy sovereignty of France and Europe, and the evolving shareholder structure of TotalEnergies.”

The report highlighted that North American investors currently hold a substantial portion of TotalEnergies’ shares, further justifying the need for state intervention.

Additionally, the committee urged France to take a leading role in Europe by advocating for Russian LNG to be included in the list of sanctioned energy products. It called for France to set an example by swiftly ending the importation of Russian LNG. Despite the cessation of Russian gas deliveries to Europe via pipeline following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, shipments of LNG by sea have continued, with TotalEnergies transporting the gas from Siberian fields to France.

While Western sanctions have targeted Russian crude oil and oil products, natural gas has remained untouched due to its critical role in heating and industry.

The Senate committee’s report aims to address this oversight by pushing for comprehensive sanctions on Russian natural gas.

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