US-Russian politics influence the EU’s natural gas supply
Donald Trump’s wish for a better relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin could have a big impact on Europe’s natural gas supply, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. The impact would be felt if the new US president “gave up the Ukraine” and shifted away from previous US policy aiming at freeing Europe from its dependence on Russian natural gas supply, the author writes. Both countries had an interest in selling their fuel to European states, with Russia trying to expand the capacity of its pipeline to Germany (“Nord Stream”), while the US is a global player in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business. Europe and Germany must decide whether to become part of the new world LNG market, or to “continue to bind themselves” mainly to Russia with the pipeline expansion – “at a time when Moscow pursues an aggressive foreign policy," writes Wetzel.
In a separate article, the head of Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz, Andrij Koboljew, warned the German government over expanding Nord Stream. He said it could make the country susceptible to blackmail. “If the Ukrainian transit dies, Germany becomes virtually the only entry point for Russian natural gas into the EU,” Koboljew told Die Welt.
For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.