Putin 'continues to use energy as a weapon' says Von der Leyen
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The US is grappling with inflation reaching a four-decade high, spurred on by increasing energy costs. But this could have a knock-on effect on Europe as the winter months creep closer, the veteran journalist and broadcaster has predicted.
Mr Neil tweeted: “Surging energy prices in US causing steel and aluminium manufacturers to stop production.
“They are urging Biden to limit liquefied natural gas exports to Europe to lower energy prices.
“Europe needs the LNG to avoid freezing this winter.
“[This] will be some winter.”
In March this year, US President Joe Biden committed the US to top up Europe’s LNG supply by an extra 15 billion cubic meters for the rest of 2022.
The US President said: “We’re going to have to make sure that families in Europe can get through this winter and the next while we’re building an infrastructure for a diversified, resilient and clean energy future.”
European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, added that the EU was looking to receive supplies only from “friends” who were “reliable sources” of LNG.
She said: “We want as Europeans to diversify away from Russia, toward suppliers that we trust, that are friends and that are reliable.”
She continued: “Therefore the US commitment to provide the European Union with an additional at least 15 billion cubic meters of LNG this year is a big step in this direction, because this will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia.”
However, President Biden did not go into the details of how the US would be equipped to up LNG exports to such a degree as the continent tries to move swiftly away from Russian gas supplies.
The executive chairman of one US LNG producer told the New York Times: “I have no idea how they are going to do this, but I don’t want to criticize them, because for the first time they are trying to do the right thing.”
Moscow had been responsible for providing around 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas supply ahead of the invasion of Ukraine.
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Last month, it was revealed that Europe has surpassed Asia as the US’s biggest export destination for LNG.
In just the first four months of 2022, the US sent almost three-quarters of its LNG to Europe, as the continent looked to reduce its dependency on Putin’s energy production.
This was up from just over one-third in 2021.
The US is the world’s top producer of natural gas, but Russia had occupied the position as Europe’s biggest supplier.
But the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to pump Russian gas into Europe in swathes, was scuppered by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff accusing the Kremlin of “gas blackmail”.
Its predecessor, Nord Stream 1, was closed off for maintenance from July 11, and is scheduled to be back online on July 21.
But many in Europe doubt whether the supply will return to the European bloc on that date.
An article published last week in the German daily Der Speigel detailed: “The first stress test for European solidarity could come on July 21.
“That’s when the annual mandatory maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which delivers gas directly from Russia to Germany, will be completed.
“Russian gas should start flowing to Europe again on that day, unless Russian President Vladimir Putin decides otherwise.”
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