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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8930
JPY
USD
117.98
GBP
USD
0.6673
CAD
USD
1.2445
INR
USD
61.498

Rates may not be current.