Senior officials from the EU’s two biggest powers, France and Germany, have accused the United States of overpricing liquefied natural gas (LNG) and taking advantage of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis to achieve profits and make Europe dependent on their gas.
Before the war in Ukraine, Russia was Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas, with a 55% share, mainly due to lower prices compared to LNG deliveries. However, after the outbreak of the war, Europe began to impose sanctions on Russia, reducing its purchases from Gazprom, while the Russian state energy giant responded by reducing its gas supplies to EU countries. .
The EU was forced to start importing LNG from the US and other countries, but the US share rose sharply from 28% to 45%. In contrast, deliveries from Russia fell by 75%.
The United States has been criticized by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Economy Minister Robert Habeck.
Mr. Le Mair recently told French MPs that the conflict in Ukraine must not lead to the economic domination of the United States and the weakening of Europe.
The United States must not be allowed to dominate the global energy market while the EU suffers the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, said Mr. Le Maire.
He also said that it is unacceptable to let the United States export LNG at prices four times higher than those paid by companies in the country. The French minister also called for the establishment of a more balanced relationship between the United States and Europe.
Robert Habeck: even some friendly countries charge astronomical prices for gas
Mr Habeck accused LNG exporters, including the US, of overpricing gas as Europe’s biggest economy struggles to balance its energy mix without help from Russia and that German companies are closing their factories due to the high cost of gas, according to reports.
Mr Habeck told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that some nations, even friendly ones, in some cases charge “astronomical prices”, adding that this situation has created problems that need to be discussed.
He recalled that the United States turned to the EU when crude oil costs soared, and Europe’s national reserves were then used to tame prices. Such solidarity, he said, would also be good for curbing gas prices, he said.
Mr Habeck also called on the EU to synchronize gas purchases to bring prices down, instead of individual countries outbidding each other and thereby driving up prices.
US LNG exports to France, Croatia and Poland increased by more than 1,000%
U.S. exports of LNG and other natural gases rose sharply in August, government data showed Thursday, particularly to European nations facing a rapidly approaching winter with insufficient supplies from Russia almost guaranteed.
My analysis shows that while natural gas exports to France increased by 421% in the first eight months of 2022, their value increased by 1,094% in August alone.
The same goes for Croatia, where imports increased by 281% until August, but by 1,195% in August; for Poland, which has increased by 505% since the beginning of the year and by 817,000% in August; and for the UK, which is up 216% year-to-date and 6,797% in August.
The same trend does not hold true for all US natural gas exports.