US President Joe Biden on Friday pitched himself as the EU’s savior from its Russian energy addiction – but achieving a rapid increase in the amount of LNG sailing to Europe will not be easy.
“We are coming together to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy,” Biden said at a joint news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as the two leaders worked on how Russia could help invade the US Ukraine could be fined.
Both sides mentioned a target of 15 billion cubic meters (billion cubic meters) of additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be delivered to EU markets this year, with hopes of 50 billion cubic meters more LNG from the US by 2030, or about 40 Percentage of the total gas consumption of the block.
But the details are not clear.
Von der Leyen spoke of a “US obligation to provide” these short-term volumes, but the final text Joint Statement says the US will “work with international partners and seek to ensure” these cargoes make their way to the EU later this year.
A senior US official clarified that the promise of 15 billion cubic meters this year is actually a commitment to try to persuade companies in Asia or elsewhere expecting cargo next winter to send them to Europe instead. That would be a repeat of what happened last winter, the official said.
But LNG industry executives are meeting in Texas earlier this month warned that weather would play a major role in where cargoes go – and that a cold snap could see Asian countries stick to their fuel promises.
“All importers are fishing for supplies in the same pool,” warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) in this month’s guide to weaning the EU off Russian gas. Increasing LNG flows into the block would mean “exceptionally tight LNG markets and very high prices”.
There’s gas out there. The IEA wrote that Europe could snag about 20 billion cubic meters of additional LNG on world markets — with 10 billion cubic meters more via pipelines from Norway and Azerbaijan if those countries agreed to increase production.
Even with significant austerity measures to reduce demand and a rapid roll-out of renewable energy, the best the EU could aim for this year would be to reduce Russia’s gas dependency by a third, the IEA estimated. Brussels is hoping for a two-thirds reduction.
Increasing US LNG exports will become easier when European countries secure long-term deals with US suppliers, like the 11-year deal French company Engie signed with Cheniere Energy in Texas in December.
A White House fact sheet on the deal written down that the promise of 50 billion cubic meters of future annual shipments of US LNG “was made on the basis that prices should reflect long-term market fundamentals and the stability of supply and demand.”
On Friday, Biden said it also means the EU is accelerating building permits for new LNG import terminals and urging European countries to demonstrate there is sufficient demand for American gas by 2030.
“To achieve this, the European Commission will work with Member States to store gas across the continent [and] build more infrastructure to get LNG,” Biden said.
Countries are already beginning to move.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised on Wednesday: “We will build our own LNG terminals much faster than before,” while the Netherlands signed a five-year deal to lease a floating LNG import and storage terminal for later this year.
The European Parliament also voted to approve a list of cross-border energy projects receiving accelerated approvals this month, including 20 gas projects from import terminals to pipelines.
This week the European Commission also proposed a new one regulation Mandating gas purchases to top up storage stocks each summer to ensure they are 90 percent full before each heating season.
The race for more petrol is not entirely at odds with the EU’s green goals; It aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, leaving no room for natural gas in the long term.
The EU-US joint statement says new gas infrastructure should have a low carbon footprint and includes a section on energy saving measures in line with the EU’s recent pledge to drastically cut oil and gas consumption.
Von der Leyen underscored these goals by adding, deviating from prepared remarks, that independence from Russian gas “can only be achieved through investments in renewable energy … but also additional gas supplies”.
Climate activists are appalled.
“Europe already has enough capacity to import the amounts of gas that the US wants to supply,” said Murray Worthy, an anti-gas campaigner with the NGO Global Witness. “Rather than lining the pockets of American fracking companies, Europe should focus its energy investments on sustainable solutions such as improving building insulation, heat pumps and renewable energy sources.”
Von der Leyen insisted that new infrastructure would not result in lost assets or additional dependence on fossil fuels, as “the infrastructure we use for gas today can be used for clean hydrogen in the future.”
But American LNG exporters are already on a winning streak.
Charlie Reidl, executive lobbying director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas in Washington, said the joint statement’s emphasis on “long-term contractual mechanisms with U.S. LNG suppliers” would “establish a virtual LNG pipeline to Europe … well into the future.” . “
ben lefebvre, Christopher Kadelago and Karl Mathiesen contributed to the reporting.
https://www.politico.eu/article/joe-biden-us-gas-eu-where/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Just where will Joe Biden find gas for the EU? - POLITICS