United States, European Union announce new partnership to reduce continent’s reliance on Russian energy

BRUSSELS – The United States and the European Union announced on Friday a new partnership to reduce the continent’s dependence on Russian energy, a move by top officials that marked the beginning of a long-term initiative to further isolate Moscow after its invasion. Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using energy to “coerce and manipulate his neighbors” and is using the proceeds from his sale to “drive his war machine”.

Biden said the co-operation he announced with a top European Union official would reverse that momentum by reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy sources, as well as the continent’s overall gas demand.

The president said such a move was “not just morally correct”, but “would put us on a stronger strategic footing”.

According to the plan, the US and other nations will increase liquefied natural gas exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year, although US officials have not been able to say exactly which countries will provide the extra energy this year. Even larger shipments will be delivered in the future. .

At the same time, they will try to maintain their climate targets by supplying clean gas infrastructure with clean energy and reducing methane leaks that could exacerbate global warming.

While the initiative is likely to require new facilities for the import of liquefied natural gas, the partnership also aims to reduce long-term dependence on fossil fuels through energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, according to the White House.

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU’s executive arm, said it was important for Europe to move away from Russia and towards energy suppliers that are reliable, friendly and trustworthy.

“We intend to reduce this dependence on Russian fossil fuels and get rid of it,” he said.

Russian energy is a major source of income and political leverage for Moscow. Almost 40% of the European Union’s natural gas comes from Russia for home heating, electricity generation and the electricity industry.

Biden left Brussels after the announcement and headed to Rzeszów in Poland, where US troops are based about an hour’s drive from the Ukrainian border.

He will be briefed on the humanitarian response to refugees fleeing Ukraine and those still suffering inside the country. He will also meet with members of the US Army from the 82nd Airborne Division, who are serving with Polish troops.

Biden is then expected to fly to Warsaw for talks Saturday with Polish President Andrei Duda and a speech to the Polish people before leaving for Washington.

While in Brussels, Biden attended a trio of summits hosted by NATO, the Group of Seven industrialized nations and the European Union, all on Thursday. The series of emergency meetings reflects growing concerns about the war in Ukraine, which is in its second month.

Although Ukraine resisted the Russian invasion much more successfully than originally expected, the conflict has become an exhausting and bloody affair, with thousands of victims on all sides and millions of refugees fleeing the country.

Western leaders are also worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use chemical or even nuclear weapons to regain momentum in the war.

Transporting more liquefied natural gas to Europe could be difficult, although the US has increased its exports dramatically in recent years. Many export facilities are already operating at capacity, and most new terminals are still in the planning stages.

Most shipments to the US are already going to Europe, according to the Liquefied Natural Gas Center, an industry lobby group. Although much of the supply has already been outsourced to buyers, there are still opportunities to shift its destination.

“The US is in a unique position because it has a flexible LNG that can be rerouted to Europe or Asia, depending on who is willing to pay that price,” said Emily McClain, a gas market analyst at Rystad.

Even if the US can transport more gas to Europe, the continent may find it difficult to obtain it. Input terminals are located in coastal areas, where there are fewer pipeline connections for their distribution.

And if all of Europe’s facilities were operating at capacity, the amount of gas would probably be only about two-thirds of what Russia supplies through pipelines.


Bussewitz reported from New York. Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington DC contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

United States, European Union announce new partnership to reduce continent’s reliance on Russian energy Source link United States, European Union announce new partnership to reduce continent’s reliance on Russian energy

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