EU seeks independence from Russian oil and gas

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EU seeks independence from Russian oil and gas

Clearly, recent weeks have spurred Ms von der Leyen and her colleagues into action. The proposals announced on Tuesday are a mix of short-term measures aimed at avoiding a repeat of recent months’ debacle in energy markets next year, as well as medium-term proposals to install equipment to generate massive amounts of clean energy, such as wind and is to accelerate. solar energy.

One goal is to cut natural gas imports from Russia by two-thirds this year, while greatly expanding renewable energy, said Frans Timmermann, the Commission’s executive vice president for green energy, during a news conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. To do.

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“Instead of continuing to import fossil-fuels and fund Russian oligarchs, renewable energy creates new jobs here in Europe,” he said.

Mr Timmerman declined to answer questions about whether the EU would follow the United States in imposing sanctions on Russian oil imports. “I think we should wait with our comments until we hear the announcement,” he said.

Perhaps the most important of the proposals are aimed at filling natural gas storage facilities to 90 percent of their capacity. The idea is to create a buffer against cold weather that eats up gas supplies, and to prevent blackmail by suppliers such as Russia.

The magnitude of the work trying to tackle these proposals was revealed in some of the numbers released on Tuesday. About 45 percent of the EU’s gas in 2021 came from Russia, while Russia was also Europe’s largest supplier of 27 percent of oil, more than three times that of the next largest, Norway.

The European Union says it will meet these goals by saving energy and diversifying supplies. Officials released documents showing substantial new supplies of liquefied natural gas could come from countries such as the United States, Qatar and Egypt. The problem, however, is that Europe will need to compete with other major LNG consumers such as China, South Korea and Japan, and additional demand from Europe could drive prices higher for all.

“It would be like adding another China to the market,” said Henning Gloustein, director of the politically risky Eurasia Group.

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