On Thursday, the European Commission said that as long as the U.S. honors its side of the bargain by cutting “red tape”, they would maintain the spike in liquefied natural gas imports from the U.S. and would expand it further under President Trump’s trade deal with Europe.
Europe stands ready to “facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. and this is already the case as we speak,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Juncker’s stance on the U.S. that it needs to “play its role in doing away with red tape restrictions” on natural gas exports was reiterated on Thursday by the European Commission.
Last month, Trump had raised a point that it would be wise to diversify its energy supplies away from Russia, rather than be “captive” to its natural gas pipelines. The Nord Stream II Pipeline project connecting Russia via Germany to Europe was opposed by the administration.
Thursday’s statement from the commission read, “Since the arrival of the first U.S. LNG carrier in the Portuguese port of Sines April 2016 … E.U. imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. have increased from zero to 2.8 billion cubic meters.” According to the CIA’s World Factbook, if compared, about 198 billion cubic meters of natural gas was exported to Europe and other destinations in 2015 by Russia.
Increased use of U.S. natural gas is being considered as a positive development by Miguel Arias Canete, a European commissioner for climate change and energy. In a European Commission statement, he was seen quoting, “increasing imports of competitively priced liquefied natural gas would increase diversification and security, and is therefore to be welcomed.”