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Gas pipeline infrastructure. Photo supplied

Washington pushes hard for LNG in Europe

The US government uses almost all available funds to gain a foothold in the European gas market and to displace other competitors. The international project Nord Stream 2 has been under heavy American pressure for some time now. With liquefied gas Washington wants to counter the pipeline from Russia.

Published: May 10, 2019, 7:48 am

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    As early as July 2018, it became clear that Washington will do everything in its power to bring its liquefied gas to Europe. At that time, Jean-Claude Juncker, outgoing EU Commission President, traveled to meet US President Donald Trump to defuse a looming trade conflict.

    This succeeded, however, but on one condition: In order to avert the 25 percent penalty on exported cars facing German manufacturers, Juncker promised the US government massive purchases of natural gas from the United States.

    The deal has apparently had an impact, as European purchases of LNG liquefied natural gas from the United States have indeed grown exponentially since the crisis summit.

    Nevertheless, the overall share of US gas in the European sphere remains rather small at the moment. which according to Austrian daily Der Standard, is only 13,4 percent. Most of the gas comes from Algeria and Norway, but especially from Russia.

    And it is precisely this last point that has angered Washington. The completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in which German and Austrian companies participate, should increase the pipeline capacity for Russian gas even further.

    Previously, gas had been in high demand, especially in countries such as Japan, South Korea and China, because of their reliance on LNG shipments for lack of pipelines. Due to the enormous demand, the price was also high.

    Der Standard noted with reference to representatives of the Austrian oil and gas group OMV, demand in Asia has recently declined due to the economic situation, while LNG supply continues to increase and the result is falling prices.

    “Quantities that could not be sold in Asia have now reached Europe,” writes the paper. In addition, many LNG terminals in Europe could absorb significantly larger quantities.

    For example, Germany is also planning to build additional LNG terminals, although additional gas from Russia will arrive in Germany via Nord Stream 2 in 2019.

    In this context, OMV spokesman Rinofner said: “The European market will accept LNG.” But he added, “If the price is right.”

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