the EU and the US reinforce their energy alliance

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The European Union (EU) and the US have responded this Friday to Russia’s threats on Ukraine’s borders by reinforcing their energy alliance to guarantee a “continuous, sufficient and timely” supply of gas to the community bloc in the event of a crisis, such as a possible attack by Moscow on Kiev.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the United States, Joe Biden, have responded to recent events with a joint declaration in which both commit to “intensify energy cooperation” in order that citizens and companies in the EU and in neighboring countries “have reliable and affordable energy supplies”.

The text is part of the escalation of tensions with the Kremlin, which has accumulated troops on its borders with Ukraine and has aroused fear of a new aggression against its neighbor despite diplomatic attempts to appease Vladimir Putin’s intentions.

In this context, European sources acknowledge to EFE that they have worked “more intensely than ever” with the US authorities during the last three weeks with the aim of preparing sanctions against Moscow, but also to be ready against those that Russia may adopt against the community club.

Europe dependent on Russian gas

The problem with the EU is that it depends to a large extent on gas imports from Russia, which brings together the 41% of them and distributes this resource to about twenty Member States of the bloc, with the bloc’s southeastern partners the hardest hit. In addition, the gas deposits of the EU countries, when the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter, are currently at 40%, compared to 53% of the values ​​just one year ago.

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Diversifying its portfolio and reducing dependence on Russian gas is one of the great objectives that the bloc has set for a long time, despite the fact that Berlin and Moscow carried out their plan to increase gas imports through Nord Stream 2, still pending authorization to operate, something to which the United States opposes.

In 2019, with Donald Trump in the White House and Jean-Claude Juncker at the Berlaymont, Brussels promised to increase its imports of US gas to settle a trade conflict with Washington, and in the following six months, purchases increased by 181%.

The United States is the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas.

Currently, Washington is the EU’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as Biden and Von der Leyen recall in their joint statement, in which both parties stress that they are working “with governments and market operators in the supply of additional volumes of natural gas to Europe from various sources around the world.

“LNG in the short term can reinforce the security of supply and at the same time enable the transition to zero emissions,” The joint text continues, which also includes the commitment of the Community Executive to “improve transparency and use” of liquefied natural gas terminals in the EU.

On February 7, both blocs will hold a US-EU Energy Council in the US capital in which energy security and markets will dominate the agenda.
The declaration with Washington is another step in the diplomatic contacts that Brussels undertook this week to show the Kremlin its determination to reduce dependence on its gas.

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Contacts with Qatar to guarantee energy security

Both Von der Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, contacted the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Zani, in telephone conversations in recent hours after which both leaders highlighted the importance of this Persian Gulf country for the EU.

“Qatar’s reliability as an energy provider it is important for EU energy security and gas supplies,” Michel wrote on his Twitter account after speaking with the Qatari emir.

In fact, from the European capital it is recognized that many eyes in this exercise to diversify the energy portfolio they are stationed in the Gulf countries, with which the EU has a “very strong” relationship; community sources point out. The interest, they explain, lies not only in strengthening cooperation in terms of oil and gas supply, but also in “expanding” it to other areas such as investment in new renewable energy projects, such as hydrogen

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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