Brussels, Mar 25 (EFE).- The United States will aim to supply an additional 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European Union this year rising to 50bcm by 2030 in a strategic move to wean the bloc off its dependency on Russian fossil fuels in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The surge in US gas to Europe would account for a 67.5% increase this year compared to 2021.
The joint statement from the US and the European Commission on Friday comes as president Joe Biden visits the continent for a string of high-level meetings to discuss the posture of Nato, G7 and EU toward Moscow in a show of solidarity for Ukraine.
Putin has used Russian energy to coerce his neighbors and fuel his war machine, Biden told a press conference Friday.
“This initiative focuses on two core issues: one, helping Europe reduce its dependency on Russian gas as quickly as possible, secondly, reducing Europe’s demand for gas overall,” he added.
The US, which is a net exporter of energy, banned all imports of Russian energy earlier this month while the EU has pledged to become independent from Russian fossil fuels by 2027.
“We aim to reduce this dependency on Russian fossil fuels and get rid of it,” Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said at the joint press conference. “This can only be achieved through investment in renewables, but also through additional gas supplies including LNG (liquified natural gas) deliveries.
“We want, as Europeans, to diversify away from Russia towards suppliers that we trust, that are our friends and that are reliable,” she added.
“Therefore, the US commitment to provide the EU with additional at least 15bcm of LNG this year is a big step in this direction because this will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia.”
Brussels has proposed new energy regulation to ensure that the bloc’s storage infrastructure is 90% full by November each year to head off supply issues over the winter period.
While the level of dependence on Russian gas varies across the bloc, in some countries such as Finland and Latvia, Russian gas accounts for over 90% of domestic consumption while Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, imports nearly 50% of its natural gas from Russia, according to official statistics as of 2020.
On average, imported Russian gas accounts for around 40% of EU consumption. EFE