News / Europe

Kerry Says Energy Should Not Be Used as a Weapon

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
RFE/RL
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has criticized Russia for increasing natural gas prices for Ukraine, saying energy should not be used as a political weapon.
 
Meeting in Brussels on April 2 with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and European Commission for Energy Guenther Oettinger, Kerry said adequate supplies of energy are "critical" for Europe and the United States.
 
Kerry said no country should be allowed to use energy for political purposes.
 
"It really boils down to this - no nation should use energy to stymie a people's aspirations. It should not be used as a weapon. It is in the interest of all of us to be able have adequate energy supplies critical to our economies, critical to our security, critical to the prosperity of our people," Kerry said.
 
Kerry said the United States is ready to help Europe with its energy needs, but added that diversification of energy resources is essential for all nations and no country should be dependent on "one, single source of energy."
 
Kerry referred to the situation in Ukraine and said work is in progress to find alternative ways of supplying Ukraine with gas.
 
"We are working in lockstep to help Ukraine bring natural gas in from Poland and Hungary and to develop a route through Slovakia. Ukraine is committed to do its part, and through their recent commitments to the IMF they have agreed to act on energy subsidies and to make their energy market more competitive," Kerry said.
 
'South corridor'
 
Kerry said Ukraine was doing its part, noting the country is trying to meet IMF demands by acting to reduce energy subsidies and make the country's energy market more competitive.
 
Kerry also mentioned the "South Corridor" should play a greater role in supplying Europe with gas.
 
"Our agenda today - or at least part of it - is to look at how we get more natural gas through what folks call the Southern Corridor from Azerbaijan to Turkey and on to Europe. There are also other opportunities, including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminals planned across Europe and pipelines that can gas to customers," Kerry said.
 
Azerbaijan and Turkey are involved in the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline project which will eventually bring some 60 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe. There are hopes Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will contribute gas to the pipeline also.
 
Both those Central Asian countries already pump modest amounts of oil into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which is then sold to European markets.
 
Kerry also mentioned LNG facilities are being built on both sides of the Atlantic and that seven new export licenses were recently issued to U.S. companies to export LNG derived from shale gas production.
 
Kerry said those exports should start in 2015.
 
Kerry added the solution to Europe's energy problems requires "a great amount of trans-Atlantic cooperation."

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