Europe's imports of American natural gas are soaring

Europe is making good on a promise to buy much more American natural gas as it seeks to ease transatlantic trade tension and reduce its reliance on Russian e...

Posted: May 2, 2019 3:12 PM

Europe is making good on a promise to buy much more American natural gas as it seeks to ease transatlantic trade tension and reduce its reliance on Russian energy.

The European Union has imported roughly 8 billion cubic meters of liquid natural gas from the United States since July 2018, more than three times the amount purchased in the preceding two years.

The bloc committed at an energy summit in Brussels on Thursday to further purchases so long as the price is competitive.

The pledge appears calibrated to appease President Donald Trump, who has applied tariffs to steel and aluminum from the European Union and has threatened new taxes on cars made in the bloc.

Natural gas is one area where Europe and the United States have found common ground on trade.

In July 2018, Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said in a joint statement that the European Union would seek to expand its purchases of American natural gas. The announcement, which included other trade commitments by the European Union, helped the bloc avoid new tariffs threatened by Trump.

The bloc touted figures on Thursday showing that cumulative imports since 2016 have jumped up from 3 billion cubic meters at the time of the joint statement to nearly 11 billion cubic meters in April 2019, an increase of 272%.

Market potential

US natural gas made up only a small fraction of the 363 billion cubic meters Europe imported in 2018.

Yet for US energy producers that kicked off exports to Europe with just three vessels in 2016, the market potential is enticing. Already in 2019, 48 vessels have carried liquid natural gas from the United States to Europe.

The European Union also has compelling reasons to buy more energy from the United States.

Chief among them: The bloc has been trying, and failing, to cut its dependency on Russian gas since the 2014 crisis in Ukraine.

EU leaders had worried that Russia would cut off gas supplies in retaliation for sanctions Brussels imposed on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea. But energy imports from Russia have actually gone up in the years since.

The European Union imports 77% of its natural gas, according to the Commission. In 2018, 43% of that came from Russia, while 33% originated in Norway and 9% was from Algeria. Less than 1% was from the United States.

"We are still very far from a scenario in which [the United States] constitutes a significant part of EU gas imports," said Marco Siddi, an EU energy policy expert at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Price vs. politics

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who attended the summit in Brussels, said the agreement to increase US natural gas exports would bring "tremendous mutual benefit" to both sides.

Yet liquid natural gas from the United States, which is shipped via boat, is much more expensive that gas piped in from Russia.

Perry said that price cannot be the only consideration.

"You get what you pay for ... you might buy cheaper somewhere else, but it may not be reliable," he said in a response to a question about gas from Russia.

The European Union may be willing to accept higher costs. The bloc recently voted to reopen trade talks with the United States, but they could be derailed by disagreements over agriculture and the environment.

Promising higher gas imports could help lower the temperature.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56183

Reported Deaths: 2907
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10023420
Cuyahoga7571372
Hamilton5770197
Marion273038
Lucas2700302
Pickaway218841
Summit2110206
Montgomery193126
Mahoning1818231
Butler154744
Columbiana129560
Stark1091112
Lorain99767
Trumbull92565
Warren82321
Clark7659
Delaware55315
Belmont54422
Fairfield54316
Tuscarawas54110
Medina50832
Lake49218
Licking46612
Miami45531
Portage43258
Ashtabula43144
Wood41251
Geauga40042
Clermont3946
Wayne36051
Richland3325
Allen30840
Mercer2808
Greene2489
Darke24625
Erie23622
Holmes2263
Huron2112
Madison1938
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Washington13120
Putnam12715
Sandusky12714
Hardin12012
Ross1183
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton942
Monroe8817
Jefferson872
Union821
Muskingum811
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Williams692
Clinton680
Guernsey683
Lawrence680
Shelby654
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot586
Brown561
Defiance503
Athens491
Knox481
Fayette460
Highland441
Champaign391
Scioto380
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Perry321
Henry290
Adams231
Paulding230
Pike230
Jackson220
Vinton222
Gallia161
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Angola
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Huntington
Few Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Decatur
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Van Wert
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Heat Continues Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events