By Alexander Miller, emerging market consultant – Eurasia Business News, March 25, 2022
The European Union (EU) and the United States on Friday formalized an agreement on additional U.S. deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, as leaders of the Twenty-Seven meeting in Brussels continue to discuss reducing the EU’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Today we have agreed on a joint action plan” to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels without calling into question the objectives in the fight against global warming, for example by developing renewable energies and reducing the consumption of hydrocarbons, explained Joe Biden in a brief speech alongside the Chairman of the European Commission, the German Ursula von der Leyen.
“The United States will work with its international partners and do its utmost to ensure that we make an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG available for Europe this year“, added the US President.
The announcement came as U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the formation of a task force on March 25 to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian hydrocarbons following Russia’s military operation of Ukraine.
For Ursula von der Leyen, this is already “a big step” towards reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
In the longer term, the goal is for the additional volume of U.S. LNG shipments to be about 50 billion cubic meters each year for the European Union until at least 2030, according to a briefing note released by the White House.
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“This additional volume of 50 billion cubic meters per year will make it possible to replace a third of the amount of Russian gas arriving in Europe today,” stressed Ursula von der Leyen, adding that with this agreement, Europe was on “good track” to diversify its supply from “reliable and trustworthy” partners.
The announcement of this agreement on the occasion of a visit by US President Joe Biden to Brussels, comes a day after the holding of three summits in Brussels (NATO, G7 and EU) in the presence of Joe Biden, during which Western leaders announced an increase in their military aid to Ukraine.
On the second day of the European Council, this Friday in Brussels, the leaders of the G7 discussed the ways to the energy prices for citizens and businesses, guarantee the bloc’s security of supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
Southern European Union countries, including Greece and Spain, are pushing for a cap on energy prices, but other Member states, including Germany and the Netherlands, oppose such a move.
Imposing an embargo on Russian hydrocarbons, like the United States and the United Kingdom, also divides Europeans.
The leaders of the G7, on the other hand, should commit to pooling gas purchases and the constitution of strategic stocks in anticipation of next winter.
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© Copyright 2022 – Alexander Miller, emerging markets consultant.