Among the considerations in current talks is potential U.S. involvement in Germany’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a Russian natural gas pipeline into Germany that became the subject of sharp criticism from Trump during this year’s NATO Summit.
During the expanded bilateral meeting between the EU and the U.S. on July 25, Juncker told Trump that “most” EU countries disagree with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to broker the Nord Stream 2 deal with Russia, according to a senior administration official, who said the U.S. could potentially get a “piece” of the pipeline business.
An EU spokesperson said the pipeline was “briefly touched upon in the meeting, in the context of the EU’s intention to import more LNG from the U.S.” and that the project “does not contribute to the Energy Union’s objectives.”
The White House has yet to discuss the specific role the U.S. would play in the pipeline deal, but experts suggest its most effective position would be to serve as a counterweight to Russian dominance of the energy supply and pricing market. Constructing new liquefied natural gas terminals across Europe would be a major step toward that goal.
“Merely the development of the projects — even if they’re not done — starts to create pressure on the Russians,” says Mark Lewis, managing partner of Bracewell in Washington, D.C., who specializes in oil and gas transactions. “The key is to have those terminals in Lithuania and Poland and the northern Baltic.”
On Aug. 9, the European Commission published a report on talks with the United States and Europe’s LNG diversification, touting the 14 projects underway that could receive U.S. gas if U.S. regulations on LNG exports are lifted and the price is right.
“Diversification is an important element for ensuring the security of gas supply in the EU,” said Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. “Increasing imports of competitively priced liquefied natural gas from the U.S. is therefore to be welcomed.”