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Biden Strikes Deal To Boost Gas Exports To Europe

President Joe Biden and his European counterparts struck a deal Friday to send more U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union amid the ongoing global supply crunch.

The U.S. and European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, will form a joint task force with representation from both sides under the deal announced by Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Friday. The task force will seek to increase energy security for the EU and Ukraine in the run-up to next winter and the following winter while working to end European dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

“The United States and the European Commission are committed to reducing Europe’s dependency on Russian energy,” the U.S. and European Commission said in a joint statement.

“In this framework, we establish an immediate cooperation to address the emergency energy security objective of ensuring appropriate levels of gas storage ahead of next winter and the following one,” the statement said.

The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to a clean energy future. The stated objectives of the deal Friday are to diversify LNG supplies to the EU “in alignment with climate objectives” and to reduce overall demand for fossil fuels.

Russia is by far the EU’s largest natural gas supplier, sending about 155 billion cubic meters (bcm) to the continent in 2021, most of which was sent via pipeline, according to the Columbia Climate School. Russian natural gas exports account for about 45% of EU natural gas imports.

But Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has upended global energy markets, leading to higher oil and natural gas prices. Natural gas prices in Europe have surged to record highs amid the crisis.

On Friday, Biden promised the U.S. would export an additional 15 bcm of LNG to the EU in 2022 with more increases in future years.

In 2021, the U.S. exported about 100.8 bcm of LNG worldwide, federal data showed.

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