Brussels: The United States and the European Union have struck a significant agreement on liquefied natural gas deal to reduce reliance on Russian energy.
The agreement calls for the US to supply the EU with additional gas by the end of the year. Amounting to roughly 10% of the gas it presently receives from Russia.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has already stated that it will reduce its usage of Russian gas.
Currently, Russia supplies over 40% of the EU’s gas needs. The new agreement will see the United States and other countries supply an additional 15 billion cubic meters of gas. On top of the 22 billion cubic meters provided last year.
The new amount will account for approximately 24 percent of the gas now received from Russia. The goal is for the US and foreign partners to supply the EU with around 50 billion cubic meters per year.
Reducing reliance on Russia will necessitate more critical use of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency, and more imports. The deal got revealed on Friday during US President Joe Biden’s three-day visit to Brussels.
Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reviewed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and offered further assistance to Kyiv.
“Putin is leveraging Russia’s oil riches to blackmail and manipulate its neighbors,” Mr. Biden said in Brussels. “He’s used the money to fuel his military machine.“
He claimed that the long-term benefits of the agreement would offset the short-term suffering caused by reduced Russian gas supplies.
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“I understand that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe, but it’s not simply the moral thing. It’ll place us on a far stronger strategic footing.”
“We want to diversify away from Russia as Europeans,” said President von der Leyen. “to suppliers we trust, allies, and reliable.”
She emphasized the objective of 50 billion cubic meters per year “is already replacing one-third of the Russian gas in Europe. So we are well on our path to diversifying away from Russian gas.”
Russia’s conflict with Ukraine has pushed energy prices to all-time highs. Energy prices had already begun to rise before the invasion as economies recovered from the Covid crisis.
The invasion of Ukraine pushed the EU to commit to cutting Russian gas consumption by two-thirds this year. It will get achieved by increasing imports from other nations and increasing renewable energy.
According to the White House, using smart thermostats and heat pumps can result in immediate energy savings.
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According to the EU, energy savings in homes can replace 15.5 billion cubic meters this year. At the same time, increased wind and solar deployment can replace 20 billion cubic meters by 2030 through energy efficiency and renewable energy.
As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has banned all Russian oil and gas imports. The United Kingdom will phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
The EU has stated that it will transition to alternative energy sources, becoming independent of Russian energy “far before 2030.” Germany has put the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline opening from Russia on hold.
Meanwhile, as the cost of oil and gas rises, petrol prices in the United Kingdom have reached all-time highs.
Oil hit a high of $139 a barrel earlier this month, the highest level in nearly 14 years. While wholesale gas prices for next-day delivery more than doubled. — The BBC