News / Economy

    Europe Looks to US, Qatar Gas to Reduce Reliance on Russia

    Europe Looks to US, Qatar Gas to Reduce Reliance on Russiai
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    March 21, 2014 1:13 AM
    As Russia and the West enact tit-for-tat sanctions over Moscow's annexation of Crimea, European leaders meeting in Brussels are discussing ways to reduce the continent's dependence on Russian gas imports. Europe buys around 30 percent of its gas from Russia, and many EU leaders fear that trade gives Moscow too much leverage. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
    Henry Ridgwell
    As Russia and the West enact tit-for-tat sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, European leaders meeting in Brussels are discussing ways to reduce the continent’s dependence on Russian gas imports.  Europe buys around 30 percent of its gas from Russia, and many EU leaders fear that trade gives Moscow too much leverage.  

    Engineers operate a shale gas facility in Pennsylvania - one of dozens of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ sites across the United States that have made it the world’s top natural gas producer.

    Europe hopes this could be the long-term answer to countering its dependence on Russian gas.

    European leaders want the U.S. to start shipping shale gas across the Atlantic as Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG.

    At talks in Brussels on the proposed EU-U.S. free trade deal last week, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said energy was high on the agenda.

    He says Europe is too dependent on foreign countries for its energy needs, especially from Russia, and there is no easy solution.  But he says he will negotiate with the United States to import shale gas.

    Analysts point to many obstacles. Transport costs mean the price of LNG is higher than Russian gas.

    U.S. opponents of the idea say the cheap shale gas should not be exported because it gives American industry a competitive advantage.

    Still, energy diversification is key to changing Europe’s geopolitical relationship with Russia, says Professor Alan Riley of City University London.

    “Completing the single market in gas, and bringing gas from Qatar as LNG, potentially U.S. LNG over the next few years making its way across Europe, switching to coal," he said. "There’s a lot of use of coal now, U.S. coal, which has been displaced in the U.S. because of shale gas, pouring into Europe. There are lots of options."

    Russia’s actions in Ukraine have taken Europe by surprise - and will likely intensify efforts to look elsewhere for gas, says Ian Bond of policy group the Center for European Reform.

    “Also to look at other sources like Qatar and Algeria, so sources of Liquefied Natural Gas.  And maybe even in the slightly longer term to persuade the Germans to turn their nuclear power stations back on, which would sharply reduce the demand for Russian gas," he said.

    In June last year Greece signed a deal to bring a pipeline from Azerbaijan’s gas fields into the European Union - providing a direct alternative to Russian imports. But the so-called Trans Adriatic Pipeline or TAP won’t come online until 2019.

    The range of alternatives give Europe leverage, says Ian Bond.

    “Russia depends very heavily on the revenues from the gas that it sells to Europe.  At least half of the national state budget comes from sales of hydrocarbons to Europe," he said.  "And although in the winter it would be true that Europe would freeze before Gazprom would go bankrupt, in the summer Europe has more levers."

    But many analysts caution that price remains the deciding factor for many European gas buyers.  And Russia still offers the cheapest energy - even if Europe disapproves of Moscow’s politics.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 21, 2014 2:57 PM
    Europe is talking about isolating Russia and placing trade embargoes, this has been the driving force behind formation of euro zone all along. It was also behind the desire to pick Ukraine away from Russia, so the talk about isolating Russia is not just coming to light, it has been in the works since the Euro-USA alliance before, during and after the fall of the Berlin Walls or end(?) or rather ceasefire of the cold war. Western Europe and USA have never loved Russia and using any guise to impose sanctions or whatever restriction is just being shy, undiplomatic or timid. We are hoping it's not going to end in smoking guns once again. But I don't think Russia feels threatened enough by European and/or USA sanctions, after all it should be used to being out there in the cold alone by now. So what happens if Russia wakes up tomorrow and marches into Ukraine to take it? Will and can Europe, and USA go to war?

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    March 21, 2014 10:25 AM
    I wonder where Professor Alan Riley of CUL was earlier with his energy diversification plan. Hasn’t his brainwave come a little bit too late? Both sides of the Atlantic disapprove US shale gas import to Europe when taking into account the USA competitive advantage and more expenses to Europe. Alan Riley’s mentioning of coal sounds ridiculous, as if some deity has cancelled challenges of global warming and concerns originating from “dirty” coal. I don’t expect that the Germans will yield to the persuasion of turning on their nuclear station if they won’t ignore severe consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. It looks like “ lots of options” isn’t that incouraging.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    March 21, 2014 3:27 AM
    Dear all western partners, if you looked for altenative gas suppliers rather than Russia. Gas prices in your countries would surge and the living conditions of your people would decline sharply. Your economy would go down and down. The innocent people in your countries would suffer enough because of your stupid actions and they would never vote for you again. In response, Russia would sell gas ans oil to other markets such as China, India, asian and african countries.... at attractive prices. So think twice before making your decsions.
    In Response

    by: Keith from: USA
    March 22, 2014 4:23 AM
    @Igor
    I agree with you that all this talk by the politicians only stirs things up. They do not have real jobs, so they make life harder for those who voted for them by letting ego based decisions drive things. We as a world need to stop all this stupidity and focus on solving the really hard problems before we go extinct as a species.

    by: dave from: uk
    March 20, 2014 7:35 PM
    If we stopped burning gas just for heat we wouldn't need as much of it. Large heat pumps like the one in Drammen harvest heat from rivers and deliver it at 90C. www.tinyurl.com/quick-heat
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 21, 2014 3:03 PM
    Let all of Europe relocate to Africa so they won't need gas for heating at anytime again. Of course they can go to hell altogether, for there, there's no need for heating

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    109.65
    GBP
    USD
    0.6827
    CAD
    USD
    1.3037
    INR
    USD
    67.037

    Rates may not be current.