U.S. aims to boost LNG sales to Rus­sia-dom­i­nated Euro­pean gas mar­ket

Tehran Times - - ENERGY -

The Euro­pean Union (EU) is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly de­pen­dent on Rus­sian nat­u­ral gas sup­ply, Steven Win­berg, As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Fos­sil En­ergy at the U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy (DOE), said at a Se­nate com­mit­tee hear­ing on Thurs­day, not­ing that ex­ports of U.S. liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG) can be part of Europe’s ef­forts to di­ver­sify its en­ergy sup­ply.

As EU mem­ber states cut down on coal­fired power gen­er­a­tion to com­ply with emis­sion goals, they raise their nat­u­ral gas de­pen­dence, but due to in­suf­fi­cient pipe­line ex­pan­sions and sup­ply routes, Europe is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly de­pen­dent on Rus­sia for its nat­u­ral gas sup­ply, Win­berg said be­fore the Com­mit­tee on En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources at the U.S. Se­nate dur­ing a hear­ing to ex­am­ine the role of U.S. LNG in meet­ing Euro­pean en­ergy de­mand.

Cit­ing the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Quar­terly Re­port on Euro­pean Gas Mar­kets, Win­berg said that as EU nat­u­ral gas im­ports rose by 6 per­cent an­nu­ally in Q4 2017, Rus­sia re­mained the EU’s top sup­plier of nat­u­ral gas, ac­count­ing for 43 per­cent of nat­u­ral gas im­ports, while LNG ac­counted for 12 per­cent of im­ports.

“The United States is strongly com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing Europe with ac­cess to strate­gic, di­verse, and re­li­able en­ergy sup­plies,” Win­berg said, point­ing out that due to the lack of LNG re­gasi­fi­ca­tion ter­mi­nals in most cen­tral and south­east Euro­pean EU states, they can rarely ac­cess LNG sup­plies through the EU’s col­lec­tive nat­u­ral gas dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.

“This in­ad­e­quate gas in­ter­con­nec­tion in­fra­struc­ture be­tween Euro­pean Union Mem­ber States rep­re­sents a ma­jor ob­sta­cle pre­vent­ing LNG from di­ver­si­fy­ing sup­ply across the EU,” the DOE of­fi­cial said.

Con­clud­ing his tes­ti­mony in front of the Se­nate com­mit­tee, Win­berg said that “In­creas­ing ex­ports of U.S. LNG to our al­lies in Europe cre­ates great op­por­tu­ni­ties for our na­tion to ad­vance this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s goal of strength­en­ing our al­lies’ en­ergy se­cu­rity.”

Mean­while, Rus­sia’s gas gi­ant Gazprom es­ti­mates that its de­liv­er­ies to Europe and Turkey be­tween Jan­uary and Au­gust 2018 rose by 5.6 per­cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, the Chair­man of the Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee, Alexey Miller, said at the end of Au­gust, not­ing that “Europe’s de­mand for Gazprom’s gas has been re­mark­ably high for three years in a row.”

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