Biden to seal LNG deal as EU grapples with energy crunch

Brussels | Fri, March 25, 2022

On Friday, the European Union and the United States will announce a deal to supply Europe with additional US liquefied natural gas (LNG), as European leaders gather to reduce their reliance on Russian fossil fuels and address an energy shortage.

The agreement, which will be presented by US Vice President Joe Biden and EU Executive President Ursula von der Leyen, comes after a day of three summits in Brussels, where leaders condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reaffirmed their support for Kyiv.

After addressing the first day of an EU conference on Thursday, Biden said, “The single most essential thing is for us to be unified for the world to continue to concentrate on what a bully this guy is and all the innocent people’s lives that are being wasted and wrecked.” “We must be completely, completely, completely united.”

The invasion by Europe’s major gas supplier has driven already-high energy costs to new highs, prompting the EU to commit to reduce Russian gas use by two-thirds this year by increasing imports from other nations and increasing renewable energy production.

According to sources acquainted with the situation, Biden guaranteed that the US would export at least 15 billion cubic meters (bcm) more LNG to Europe this year than previously scheduled. On Friday, EU leaders will consider what else they can do to bring down high energy prices.

According to diplomats, Spain, Greece, and others would argue for electricity price ceilings and market intervention, while Germany and the Netherlands will fight back and try to delay such measures.

The contentious topic of whether to add a Russian energy embargo on top of the myriad of penalties currently in place against Moscow will be discussed, but no decision is expected. Russia provides 40% of the EU’s gas requirements and more than a quarter of its oil imports.

Those that are most reliant on this supply, particularly Germany, are wary of taking a step that would have a significant economic impact. The 27 leaders will also agree to begin buying gas in bulk and filling storage tanks ahead of next winter’s supply shocks in order to develop a buffer against future supply disruptions.

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