The Trump Administration is working hard to increase exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, thus creating more jobs and bringing foreign cash into the U.S.
After a June 25 meeting between President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Trump stated:
We agreed to a strengthened and strengthening of our strategic cooperation with respect to energy. The European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas, LNG, from the United States, and they’re going to be a very big buyer. We’re going to make it much easier for them, but they’re going to be a massive buyer of LNG.
Juncker said the EU would increase the number of LNG import terminals; 28 exist in Europe, 24 in EU nations. According to CNBC, the EU is supporting 14 LNG infrastructure projects to grow Europe’s import capacity by 15 billion cubic meters by 2021.
Because shipping gas through pipelines is cheaper than transporting it across the Atlantic Ocean, Russian-supplied natural gas is the chief competitor of the U.S. When the U.S. ships natural gas to Europe, it costs $7 per million British thermal units (BTUs); Russian gas costs between $4.50 and $5.50 per million BTUs.
But there’s a salient reason the U.S. might succeed in amping up its exports: Russia has cut off supplies to Europe in the winter so European political leaders would eschew confrontation over Russian foreign policy.
On July 18, Sen. John Barrasso (R–WY) introduced The Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act, or the “ESCAPE Act,” a bill that called for “a comprehensive U.S. government transatlantic energy strategy that focuses on increasing the energy security of our NATO allies and partners and increasing American energy exports to those countries.” The bill also authorized “mandatory U.S. sanctions on the development of Russian energy pipeline projects, such as Nord Stream II.”
LNG Allies, using U.S. Energy Information Administration data, estimates that LNG exports to be delivered will add between $716 billion and $1.267 trillion in cumulative “direct, indirect, or induced value added” to the U.S. economy by 2050.
James M. Taylor, a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, pointed out:
LNG exports to Europe will create American jobs, bring foreign money into the United States, improve our national trade deficit, diminish Russian foreign policy influence, and punish the Russian economy as least as much as trade sanctions. It is difficult to understand why many coastal Democrats at the federal, state, and municipal levels have long obstructed the construction of LNG export terminals. One has to wonder if they really enjoy seeing a thriving Putin economy and growing Russian influence over our European allies.