Biden and EU announce new deal to get more natural gas to Europe in move to undercut continent’s dependence on Russian energy
- President Joe Biden and European Union President Ursula von der Leyen announced a deal to secure additional liquefied natural gas supplies for Europe
- Move is help wean continent off Russian energy as Putin invades Ukraine
- The U.S. and other nations will boost the supply of liquefied natural gas to European countries by the end of 2022 with at least 15 billion cubic meters
- Russia supplies 40 percent of the EU’s collective natural gas needs
President Joe Biden and European Union President Ursula von der Leyen announced a deal on Friday to secure additional liquefied natural gas supplies for Europe in order to help wean the continent off it its dangerous addiction to Russian energy.
As part of the plan, the U.S. and other nations will boost the supply of liquefied natural gas to European countries by the end of 2022 with at least 15 billion cubic meters, the White House announced. Even larger shipments would be delivered in the future.
It’s targeted at hurting Vladimir Putin’s war in the Ukraine with Biden noting the Russian president is using ‘the profits to drive his war machine.’
Biden said the deal ‘it’s going to put us on a much stronger strategic footing.’
The duo also announced the creation of a joint task force to ‘reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and strengthen European energy,’ according to a White House fact sheet.
The deal is also aimed at helping Biden’s climate goals with a push to get European nations to reduce their dependency on gas.
‘It’s going to take some time to adjust gas supply change in structure, as a built for the last decade. So we’re going to have to make sure that families in Europe can get through this winter and the next, while we’re building an infrastructure for a diversified, resilient, and clean energy future. At the same time, this crisis also presents an opportunity,’ Biden said during the announcement, acknowledging the logisitical challenges ahead.
President Joe Biden and European Union President Ursula von der Leyen announced a deal to secure additional liquefied natural gas supplies for Europe
Earlier this week, Von der Leyen said ‘we are aiming at having a commitment for additional supplies for the next two winters.’
And Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan recently told reporters that the administration wants to quickly ‘surge’ gas to Europe.
Europe is highly tied to Russian gas, one of its largest exports and the biggest filler of President Vladimir Putin’s coffers.
Russia supplies 40 percent of the EU’s collective natural gas needs, 27 percent of its oil imports and 46 percent of coal imports.
A senior admnistration official told reporters on a briefing call that the goal of the arrangement was ‘reducing energy dependence on Russia and removing it altogether before the end of this decade’ for Europe.
Biden wants western allies to levy heavier financial sanctions on Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine but some of those nations, which are dependent on the Kremlin for their energy needs, have show reluctance to go as far as the United States wishes.
A new deal to boost US gas shipments to Europe could clear the path for allies to sign on to tougher sanctions.
European countries remain divided, however, on whether to sanction Russian oil and gas directly, a move already taken by the United States. An EU embargo would require unanimous approval from all 27 member states.
(Left-right) Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz before a before a G7 leaders’ family photo
U.S. exporters have already shipped record volumes of LNG to Europe for three consecutive months, as prices have jumped to more than 10 times higher than a year ago.
Getting more liquefied natural gas to Europe could be difficult. Many export facilities are already operating at capacity, and most new terminals are still only in the planning stages.
Most U.S. shipments already go to Europe, according to the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, an industry lobbying group. Although much of the supply is already contracted out to buyers, there’s still opportunities to shift its destination.