Europe 's Dependence On Russia

2563 Words11 Pages
Europe faces a number of challenges when addressing its future energy needs. Increasing global demand and competition for energy resources, instability in energy producing regions such as the Middle East, and a population increasingly concerned with climate change are all challenges facing Europe. As a result, energy security has become a critical issue for the European Union (EU).
To address some of these issues, Europe has turned to natural gas. Collectively, Europe is a major importer of natural gas, and Russia is one of Europe’s most important natural gas suppliers. Natural gas consumption in Europe is going to continue to grow, especially as climate change issues become more prominent. Yet, domestic natural gas production is likely
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to export LNG the European Union, specifically Germany, as a way to replace Russian natural gas in a time of crisis? If so, would either party need to build out infrastructure to accommodate U.S. LNG exports? What effect would U.S. LNG exports have on global natural gas supplies and prices?
The remainder of this paper will be structured as follows. The first section will outline Europe’s, and more specifically Germany’s, natural gas needs and how much U.S. LNG would need to be exported to replace German imports of Russian natural gas. Following that, a review of the current European capacity and infrastructure will show that the E.U. could receive U.S. LNG in a crisis. After that, I will examine the U.S.’ LNG infrastructure and export policy. I will argue that the problem with U.S. LNG exports to Europe is not due to a lack of capacity or infrastructure, but rather dated export policy. To be effective in providing energy security to the E.U. in a crisis, the U.S. will need to make policy changes. Finally, given that the U.S. will soon begin exporting LNG, the last section will analyze what effect U.S. exports will have on the global natural gas supply and the effect of non-crisis European demand for Russian natural gas.

European Natural Gas Needs
First, how much natural gas does Europe import from Russia? European dependence on gas varies by country. In 2013, roughly 33 percent of Italy’s energy needs are met with imported natural gas, and Germany was
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