US struggles to find alternative gas sources to EU amid Moscow-Kiev standoff

There are “logistical challenges, particularly the transportation of natural gas,” says Washington, which is in talks with companies about a potential diversion of energy supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia agree in talks in Paris that all sides must observe a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. (AA)

The United States struggles to find alternative sources of energy supplies for Europe if Russia invades Ukraine and energy flows from Russia are cut off, the White House said, but will is committed to continuing talks with companies and countries.

“There’s no doubt there are logistical challenges, particularly the transportation of natural gas,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday when asked about reports that the industry had little or no capacity to provide the necessary energy supply.

“It is part of our discussions with many companies and countries,” she said.

“But again, these conversations are ongoing and we have no intention of failing.”

Energy crisis following the invasion

Senior Biden administration officials said on Tuesday that the United States was in talks with major energy-producing countries and companies in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the United States about possible diversion of supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.

PSAKI said she had no announcements to make, but said the aim was clearly to mitigate the potential regional and global consequences of energy supply disruption and to ensure that sufficient supplies were available. .

The European Union depends on Russia for around a third of its gas supplies.

Moscow could cut supplies to the EU, driving up the bloc’s already exorbitant mid-winter energy bills even further.

“Europe does not have the same leeway” as Washington, said Olivier Dorgans, a lawyer at the Ashurst law firm specializing in economic sanctions.

The bloc risks “sanctioning itself”, Dorgans said.

“Geographical proximity goes hand in hand with close economic and security implications and ties,” Guntram Wolff, director of the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, told the AFP news agency.

Wolff said the EU had gas reserves that would only last “a few” weeks if Russia turned off the tap.

He said the EU could try to compensate with gas from Qatar, a close US ally with huge reserves. It is also the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.

US Responds to Russia’s Demands, Seeks Dialogue

Also on Wednesday, the United States provided written responses to Russia’s sweeping security demands, a key step in a fragile diplomatic process as Russia staged new military exercises on land and sea near Ukraine.

Washington has made it clear that Russian demands for NATO to withdraw its troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and bar Ukraine from joining are invalid, but says it is ready to discuss others topics such as arms control and confidence-building measures.

Whether President Vladimir Putin is ready to accept this limited agenda will determine the next phase of the crisis, in which Moscow has massed around 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine while denying its intention to invade its neighbour.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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