The European Union recomposes his energy puzzle. Brussels wants to replace before the end of the year two-thirds of the gas it imports from Russia with alternative supplies to reduce its heavy dependence on that country for energy and United States will play a crucial role. US President Joe Biden has pledged to supply the EU with at least an additional 15 billion cubic meters this year. The objective, however, is to guarantee an additional supply of 50,000 million cubic meters per year that Brussels is committed to acquiring until 2030. “This amount will replace a third of the Russian gas that comes to the EU, so we are on the right track,” he said. explained the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenduring a joint appearance at the US embassy in Brussels.
The pact includes the creation of a joint working group between Washington and Brussels to reduce dependence on Europe of the Russian fossil fuels and strengthen energy security the next two winters with two objectives: to diversify supply and reduce demand by accelerating the deployment of clean energy and energy saving measures. “We are together to reduce dependence on Russian gas. Putin uses it to manipulate his neighbors and finance his war machine. These steps will increase energy security, economic security and national security”, Biden assured during a joint appearance with Von der Leyen at the US embassy.
In addition to importing more, both blocs will work to remove unnecessary obstacles to granting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) licenses in the United States for accelerate US exports. In addition, both parties agree to work on reciprocal solutions to provide equivalence for market access purposesto develop joint efforts to complete Europe’s missing key infrastructure and investments to improve access to gas, and to conduct regular consultation and promotional activities with market operators to make the United States Europe’s leading gas supplier.
22 billion in 2021
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced the EU to speed up negotiations with third countries and quickly recompose its puzzle of suppliers. In fact, US liquefied natural gas imports into the European Union have risen substantially since the first shipment in April 2016, reaching a record 22 billion cubic meters last year – as of January the EU had imported from the US a total of 64,000 million – with an estimated value of 12,000 million euros, according to data from the European Comission.
The situation began to change in 2019, after the agreement signed the previous year between Brussels with Washington. That year, European ports received a total of 14,200 million liquefied natural gas in 154 methane tankers. A year later, in 2020, there were already 201 tankers that docked in the EU, with 18,700 million cubic meters, and in 2021 the figure skyrocketed to 248 ships and 22,200 million, making the EU the destination of the 23% of US exports. So far this year, the trend has continued with a new barrage of methane tankers, 47 in total, with 4,400 million cubic meters to ports in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal mainly.
The European Union sees liquefied gas as an “insurance policy” to reduce dependence on Russian gas and contain threats to security of supply. “If competitively priced, US liquefied gas can play an important role in the EU’s gas supply, improving the EU’s energy security and diversification,” says the European Commission. The main problem revolves around infrastructure, although there are countries like Spain that have important facilities in El Ferrol, Barcelona, Sagunto, Cartagena, Huelva and Bilbao, some of which also have expansion plans. Italy, Croatia, Belgium, Malta, Greece and the Netherlands also have operational regasification infrastructures, while projects are planned in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus and other Member States.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.