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EU Speaks with US, Qatar, Egypt as Alternatives for Russian Gas

EU Speaks with US, Qatar, Egypt as Alternatives for Russian Gas

Thursday, 17 February, 2022 - 08:30
A view shows gas wells at Bovanenkovo gas field owned by Gazprom on the Arctic Yamal peninsula, Russia May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The European Union would be able to cope with a partial disruption to gas imports from Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that the EU has spoken with several countries, including the US, Qatar and Egypt about increasing gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries.

Escalating tensions with Russia over Ukraine have raised concerns about Russian gas flows to Europe, prompting the EU to review its contingency plans for supply shocks, and EU and US officials to seek alternative supplies.

The EU has spoken with the United States, Qatar, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and South Korea about increasing gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries, either through additional shipments or contract swaps, von der Leyen told reporters in Strasbourg.

Russia supplies about 40% of Europe's natural gas. Gas prices soared in Europe as tight supply collided with high demand in economies emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and amid lower than expected imports from Russia.

"We have also spoken to major suppliers of LNG... in order to ask whether we could swap contracts in favor of the EU," she said, adding that Japan was willing to do this.

"These efforts are now distinctly paying off."

Japan last week said it would divert some LNG cargoes to Europe, in response to EU and US requests.

European LNG imports hit a record high of around 11 bcm in January, with just under half coming from the United States.

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