A Promise from America

In this interview with Jamie Owen from CGTN Europe, Christof Rühl, member of the Advisory Board of Crystol Energy and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, discusses the promise of the US to deliver an additional 15 billion cubic meters (bcm) of liquified natural gas (LNG) to the EU.

According to Christof, if the deal is considered symbolic, then this is big deal symbolism.

In the short term, it will involve redirecting cargoes from Asia which have already been contracted there. This cannot be done by breaking contracts but has to be a grand political bargain to persuade them to let these cargoes go, presumably in the name of solidarity – and, it has to be said, replace them with coal. Not something that happens every day.

In the long term, we might see some serious re-orientation of gas flows in Europe if Germany’s announcement to wean the country off Russian gas by 2024 happens. Also, we need to keep in mind that the gas that goes from Russia to Europe is produced in Western Siberia, and as there is no pipeline from Western Siberia across Siberia into Eastern Siberia and Asia, the gas which doesn’t go to Europe anymore cannot be redirected; it is going to be stranded in Russia.

Christof further stresses that in his day, no one worried about the military – because there would never be another war in Europe. No one worried about energy imports from Russia either because the Soviet Union had always delivered. 

On the question whether the energy transition will be derailed or benefit from the war in the Ukraine, he believes that it will impede the transition. The transition is not going to be easy, it is going to be very complicated. What we are seeing now is that without energy security, there won’t be energy transition, and without fossil fuels no energy security. In consuming countries, energy security refers to available and affordable energy. 

Watch the discussion:
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