President Joe Biden intends on fulfilling his commitment to supply Europe with liquified natural gas (LNG) by negotiating with foreign companies, rather than increasing U.S. production, to fill the need.
The U.S. and the European Commission released a joint statement on Friday expressing a commitment “to reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian energy” and announcing a new partnership to do so.
“The United States, together with our international partners,” Biden said at a press conference on Friday, “we’re going to work to ensure an additional 15 — one-five — 15 billion cubic meters of liquified natural gas — LNG — for Europe this year.”
“And as the EU works to discontinue buying Russian gas well before 2030, it will also work to ensure additional EU market demand for 50 billion cubic meters of LNG from the United States annually by 2030,” he continued.
The Biden administration plans to meet the need, at least in the short term, by relying almost completely on foreign LNG producers to route some of their product to Europe rather than elsewhere, such as Asia. As Politico reports:
A senior U.S. official clarified that the promise of 15 bcm this year is actually a commitment to try and help convince companies in Asia or elsewhere that were expecting cargoes this coming winter to agree to send them to Europe instead. That would be a repeat of what happened this past winter, the official said.
U.S. LNG terminals are already near capacity of what they can export, and additional terminals will not be online for another 2-5 years, according to The New York Times. Since taking office, Biden has been more antagonistic toward domestic oil and natural gas production in the United States than his predecessor.
In his first year in office, Biden curbed energy infrastructure projects and production by shutting down large projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline and suspending oil lease sales in 1002 Area oil reserve in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Biden administration has instead committed the U.S. to building out alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.
Biden’s Friday announcement undermines his commitments to clean energy, as fulfilling his commitment to Europe requires encouraging the production of fossil fuels. Still, Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen renewed their commitments to curbing fossil fuel and expanding clean energy in a joint statement:
The United States and the European Commission will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, to formulate immediate recommendations that will reduce overall gas demand through accelerating market deployment and utilization of clean energy technologies and measures in Europe and the United States such as:
Partnering on technologies and energy efficiency solutions such as ramping up demand response devices (such as smart thermostats) and heat pump deployment and installations, scaling procurement for clean energy equipment, investing in innovative technologies and fuel-switching away from fossil fuels.
Expediting planning and approval for renewable energy projects and strategic energy cooperation including in offshore wind technologies.
Developing a strategy to accelerate workforce development to support the rapidly deployment of clean energy technologies, including an expansion of solar and wind.
Collaborating to advance the production and use of clean and renewable hydrogen to displace unabated fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions, including by investing in technology development and supporting infrastructure.
The European Commission is working to advance measures that reduce gas consumption by maximizing renewable energy generation and utilization, including by reducing curtailment rates.
The United States and the European Commission are resolved to negotiate and then implement an ambitious emissions-based Global Arrangement on Steel and Aluminum Trade that incentives industrial decarbonization and lowers energy demand.