The European Union will seek to replace Russian gas with more expensive American gas
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters on Friday that the European Union would buy its own gas and divide it among its members, a new development for the 27-member bloc.
The move comes as European leaders seek to eliminate Russian imports and the United States is waiting to move their more expensive products to the continent.
“The energy mixes and specific situations in our members vary widely but we need to work together to aggregate our weights,” Von der Leyen said during a news conference after the two-day summit in Brussels, Belgium. “We have a huge buying power. I therefore welcome that we will now use our collective bargaining power. Instead of paying a higher price, pushing the price up, we will pool our demand. “
Von der Leyen has promised to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, but some EU countries still depend on steady supplies from Russia. Germany, whose leaders recently warned that its economy could collapse as a result of sanctioned Russian imports, relies on Moscow to provide more than half of its gas supplies.
However, leaders in Berlin did not pay for Russian gas in rubles, like Russian President Vladimir Putin request they did earlier this week. France has also opposed the ruble gas system, with French President Emmanuel Macron telling reporters on Friday that he believes such a need is “ban” by law.
If the EU refuses to pay in rubles, as that is likely, the bloc’s members will have to supply their gas elsewhere. America will likely step in to fill that void. During a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden on Friday, von der Leyen said that Washington will step up the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to “At least 50 billion cubic meters” per year, which she said would replace a third of the gas currently supplied by Russia.
“We as Europeans want to diversify away from Russia towards suppliers that we trust, that are our friends, that are reliable” she speaks.
However, US LNG is more expensive than the Russian alternative, and getting it to Europe involves condensing it to fill special tankers, before converting it back to gas when it is ready. purpose-built docks. There are currently two dozen LNG import terminals in Europe, but none in Germany, an important gas distribution site. Currently, work has yet to begin on Germany’s flagship LNG terminal, which is scheduled to start receiving gas in 2024.
These pricing and logistical problems led Germany to ignore US offers for LNG shipments under President Donald Trump, and instead promote the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia. However, Nord Stream 2 certification has been suspended due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“I know getting rid of Russian gas will have costs for Europe,” Biden said during an appearance with von der Leyen, before adding that high energy prices are what Europe should come up with against Putin.
“It’s not just the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint,” he say. “It will put us on a much stronger strategic footing.”