Biden Officials Talking to Qatar About Supplying Gas to Europe

If they can outbid the East Asians they're welcome to it

Where are the promised ‘freedom molecules’? On the way to Asia where it fetches a better price…

Editor’s note: In other news: The US evacuating Embassy families from Ukraine.

Biden administration officials have been talking with Qatar about possibly supplying Europe with liquefied natural gas if a Russian invasion of Ukraine leads to shortages, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Joe Biden plans to ask the Persian Gulf nation’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to visit the White House, possibly as soon as later this month, two of the people said on Friday. The meeting between Biden and the emir has been in the works for some time, a White House official said Friday night.

Some European nations have expressed fears that punishing Russia with harsh sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could wind up damaging their economies and prompt Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut off or scale back gas supplies in the middle of the winter. [Doubtful. More likely the US would press Europeans to stop imports.]

Europe gets more than 40% of its natural gas from Russia, and about a third of Russian gas flowing to Europe passes through Ukraine.

Qatar is one of the world’s biggest producers of LNG, with about three-quarters of the fuel sold to energy-poor Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Qatar provides about 5% of Europe’s natural gas. [US LNG is also mostly going to East Asia because Asians are willing to pay more than Europeans who have access to cheap Russian piped gas.]

The Qatari embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Europe, shifting to [far pricier] LNG is critical for countries such as Lithuania and Poland that are looking to escape the pipeline politics involved in buying gas from Russia.

U.S. officials want to help ease Europeans’ concerns about how they’ll heat their homes this winter, according to people familiar with the private discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. [Where are the US “freedom molecules”?]

The U.S. has been stepping up pressure on the Europeans to agree on a package of sanctions, showing signs of frustration at the pace of negotiations with and within the European Union despite weeks of talks.

Putin has denied that he plans to invade, but is demanding concessions and security guarantees from NATO that the military alliance says it cannot provide.

Europe’s stockpiles of natural gas are low as the continent grapples with a supply crunch. Moscow’s increased leverage over its neighbors became apparent last winter, an unusually cold and long one, that depleted Europe’s inventories of gas just as its economies were emerging from the pandemic-induced recession. Over the summer, Russian state-controlled Gazprom PJSC began capping flows to the continent, aggravating shortages.

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese has said the administration is working with partners to step up fuel supplies to Europe.

“In the very immediate term, the focus is on how we can make sure that European countries have sufficient access to natural gas to get through the winter months, but also to alleviate pressures in the spring,” Deese said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “And very specifically, what that means is working with our allies and partners, particularly gas producing countries to understand what additional capacity exists and how we could move and extend that capacity into the region.”

Deese on Thursday said the U.S. itself doesn’t have much to send. “With respect to natural gas, our export capacity, we are at close to maximum export capacity. So what we can principally do is work with allies and try to identify and arrange ways to move more product in other ways.”

Biden has hosted several leaders from the Middle East, including Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Source: Bloomberg

  1. GMC says

    So the USA is asking the Middle East gaz countries to sell to EU , because they are going to start a war with Russia or sanction Russian gaz because the Russians might just retaliate when they are attacked. All this going on, while the US is still importing a few hundred + thousand of barrels of oil from Russia – weekly. Is there any country in Europe that has it’s shit together?

  2. Helga Weber says

    Poland and Lithuania are the ones that protest the most against Nord Stream 2.
    These 2 countries do not want the pipe line to go into operation.

    1. GMC says

      And we can bet – Helga – that someone is getting paid dearly for their negative efforts. Estonia was offered 100 million dollars for the use of their airports by the US and Nato. The leaders will be on a flight out of ” their country” as soon as the war starts – with 100 million bucks in their pockets. Destination – Tel Aviv of course.

  3. Mark says

    Just as long as Europe keeps in mind that Qatar is on the wrong side of the Straits of Hormuz from that other country that the USA loves to poke – Iran.

    Shipborne LNG is not competitive with pipeline gas for price. And Qatar is not going to get a pipeline. Because Syria.

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