US is developing ‘global’ strategy to increase gas production if Russia invades Ukraine, officials say

The State Department, led by Senior Energy Security Adviser Amos Hochstein, has developed a global strategy over the past six to eight weeks exploring emergency options to redirect and increase gas supplies to different parts of the world, said a senior US official.

Countries engaged in the talks include Norway and Qatar, the official said, but the United States’ reach has been “truly global” as Washington and its allies determine the supplies that will be needed to get through the winter and spring in case of gas shortage.

Talks are at a “fairly advanced” stage, according to the senior US official, and are aimed at reassuring nervous European allies that imposing sanctions on Russia in coordination with the United States will not result in a return disproportionate stick on the European economy. European allies have been particularly concerned about the possibility of Russia militarizing its gas exports to Europe to retaliate against Western sanctions.

The conversations are taking place amid warnings from the United States that Russia has reached the stage of its military build-up where it could launch an attack on Ukraine “at any time”, as the press secretary of the White House, Jen Psaki, to reporters last week.

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Russia currently supplies Europe with more than 40% of its natural gas supply, according to Eurostat. In urgent circumstances, officials said, Europe has liquefied natural gas storage it could tap into, and European officials have explored how much buffer that could provide.

“We are well aware of the potential impact of a reduction in Russian energy supply, both in the European market and globally, and we are working very hard to identify and manage these risks with a range of options. emergency,” a senior administration official said. said earlier this month.

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