Seven European Countries Coordinate Their Gas Reserves to Avoid Cuts

Seven European Countries Coordinate Their Gas Reserves to Avoid Cuts

The energy crisis in Europe is getting more complicated and several countries in the European Union have begun to take measures in the face of the risk of supply problems.

Europe currently has around eight weeks of gas in storage and the risk of a supply cut from Russia is leading to a search for alternative supplies and mutual protection measures.

Along these lines, the so-called Penta Energy Forum – made up of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland – have decided to create a working group to coordinate the management of their gas supply levels jointly on a regional basis. , as revealed by Claude Turmes, Minister of Energy of Luxembourg.

In any case, the European Union and the United States have maintained intense diplomatic activity in the last two weeks to guarantee alternative gas supply routes to Europe through Qatar, Azerbaijan or Australia.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the President of the Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen, staged last week in a joint declaration the mutual commitment to guarantee the supply of gas to Europe.

Just a few days later, the United States is accelerating the start -up of some of its main gas export infrastructures . Cheniere Partners, owner of the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, has its sixth liquefaction train ready to go into operation.

At the same time, the Venture Global plant, Calcasieu Pass, also plans to start supplying LNG in the coming weeks, although its start-up was expected for the first quarter of next year.

At Calcasieu Pass, Venture Global currently has approval to supply gas to four of its 18 liquefaction trains . This permit may, for example, allow companies such as Repsol to start receiving part of the gas that they have contracted at said facility.

In 2018, Repsol signed a mega-agreement with Venture Global to buy 20 million tons of LNG over 20 years, valued at that time at 4,000 million euros. This gas is expected to be used primarily to supply the combined cycles that the oil company has in Spain, but it can also be marketed anywhere in the world.

Last December, Venture Global and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also announced that the company will invest an additional $10 billion to develop CP2 LNG, a fourth LNG export facility.

There are currently seven major export facilities in the United States. In addition to Calcasieu Pass, the others are Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana; Cove Point Liquefaction in Maryland, now operated by Berkshire Hathaway; Corpus Christi Liquefaction, of Cheniere, Texas; Cameron LNG, of Sempra Energy, in Louisiana; Elba Liquefaction of Kinder Morgan in Georgia; and Freeport LNG, in Texas.

The supply from the United States thus becomes a vital tool against Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. In fact, the Polish company PGNiG has bought a shipment of US LNG to be supplied at the Ukrainian border to ERU Europe . This will be the second time that US gas has been supplied to Ukraine thanks to the cooperation of both companies.

The ship with the American LNG will arrive at the Presidente Lech Kaczynski LNG Terminal in Swinoujscie at the end of February. After regasification, the fuel will be introduced into the Polish transportation system. ERU Europe will receive the fuel on the interconnection between Poland and Ukraine until the end of March.

Ukraine, in turn, is also negotiating a supply contract with Hungary in order to guarantee its access to this hydrocarbon. Both Europe and the United States agree on the need to support the exploration of new gas transit routes and capacities from the EU to Ukraine, and at the meeting held on Monday of the Energy Council between the US and the EU, the importance of continuing to support the process of synchronizing the power grids of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova with the continental European grid.

The Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, met yesterday with Senators Bill Cassidy, Kevin Cramer, and Roger Marshall to stress the need to strengthen these transatlantic links.

Contacts with Morocco
Diplomatic contacts by the European Union remain intense. The President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, traveled yesterday afternoon to Morocco to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita. Today she will also meet with the head of government Aziz Akhannouch during the President’s first visit to the country, a strategic partner of the European Union and the main transit area for the Maghreb gas pipeline.

This link between the fields in Algeria and Europe has been closed since last October and, although the parties keep it ready to start operating again at any time, the differences between the Alaouite monarchy and Algeria keep it closed, despite the fact that Algiers promised Spain to send the ships that were necessary to guarantee the supply.

Likewise, the diplomatic activity of the French and German president does not cease. Macron held a meeting with Putin on Monday, while Scholz met with Biden and yesterday he did the same with the Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky. Both European leaders also met together with the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, to exchange views. The German chancellor plans to meet this Thursday with the presidents of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and next week he will visit Kiev on Monday and Moscow on Tuesday.

“Russia has now deployed more than 100,000 troops with support capabilities”

On the other hand, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, yesterday received the President of Poland to discuss the current Russian military deployment in Ukraine and Belarus.

Stoltenberg said that “Russia has now deployed more than 100,000 troops with support capabilities , including medical, command and control, and logistics units. We also expect some 30,000 Russian troops to be deployed to Belarus: the largest deployment there since the Cold War.” These deployments are not justified, they are not transparent and they are very close to NATO borders.”

Russia, for its part, assures that it is awaiting a response to the letter it sent to NATO and believes that a de-escalation of tension is necessary while denying that it is going to abandon the military exercises.

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