The United States will supply the European Union (EU) with more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels. The information was given by US President Joe Biden this Friday (25), amid the meeting of EU leaders to analyze the energy crisis triggered by the war.
The pact, announced during Biden’s visit to Brussels, follows a three-day summit in the city, where leaders met to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and offered renewed support to Kiev.
“We are coming together to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy,” Biden told reporters. “We must not subsidize Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine.”
Russia supplies 40% of the European Union’s gas needs and more than a quarter of its oil imports.
“As you know, our aim is to reduce our dependence on Russia,” Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said in a joint interview with Biden.
“The US commitment to provide the EU with at least 15 billion additional cubic meters (bcm) of LNG this year is a big step in that direction,” she said. “We are determined to oppose Russia’s brutal war.”
However, as US plants are already producing LNG at full capacity, analysts said most of the additional gas going to Europe would have to come from exports to other parts of the world.
The long-term goal would be to secure, at least until 2030, about 50 bcm per year of additional US LNG, Von der Leyen and Biden said.
The invasion of Ukraine by Europe’s biggest gas supplier has increased already high energy prices even further. It also made the EU commit to reducing Russian gas use by two-thirds this year, by increasing imports from other countries and increasing the use of renewable energy.
EU leaders discussed on Friday what else they can do to rein in high energy bills.
“It’s not just about great principles, great meetings and American presidents,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters as he arrived for the second day of the EU leaders’ summit.
“Today is about people’s everyday issues like the electricity and gas bill. This is the impact we see today from this war in Ukraine, so we need to intervene,” he said, adding that the EU should enter the energy market to reduce the prices.
Spain, Greece and other countries will defend energy price caps and market intervention, while a group including Germany and the Netherlands will backtrack and seek to delay such measures, diplomats said.
The question of whether or not to impose a Russian energy embargo, in addition to the series of sanctions already applied to Moscow, will also arise, but no decision is expected.
Those most dependent on that supply – Germany in particular – are reluctant to take a step that would have a big economic impact.
The 27 leaders will also commit to start buying gas together and filling up inventories before next winter, to build a buffer against new supply shocks.
*Additional reporting by John Irish, Sabine Siebold and Benoit Van Overstraeten
*Reproduction of this content is prohibited.
Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News