EU faces dependence on US energy supplies – official

The EU will have to buy liquified natural gas (LNG) from the US for several decades after the bloc opted to sharply reduce purchases from Russia, Ditte Juul Jorgensen, director general for energy in the European Commission, told the Financial Times on Monday.

According to the energy official, the bloc’s reliance on supplies of American LNG is expected to persist.

“We will need some fossil molecules in the system over the coming couple of decades. And in that context, there will be a need for American energy,” Jorgensen said.

Brussels is aiming to improve energy security as it shifts away from Russian energy supplies, but is balancing that with ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions by more than half by 2030. Beyond that, it is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Jorgensen’s projections are expected to help “clear the path forward” for EU buyers, who are hesitating over whether to sign contracts with US suppliers beyond 2030, according to analysts quoted by the FT.

“For US developers trying to line up deals, it’s a really positive signal for them,” said Fauzeya Rahman, an LNG analyst at consultancy ICIS.

US shipments of LNG to the EU more than doubled last year, increasing to 56 billion cubic meters (bcm) compared to 22 bcm in 2021. Meanwhile, supplies of Russian natural gas made up only 16% of the EU’s gas imports in late 2022.

In 2021, Russian gas accounted for about 45% of EU gas purchases and covered nearly 40% of the bloc’s entire consumption. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, exports of Russian gas to the EU have seen a sharp decline due to the imposition of Western sanctions on Moscow.

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