26th Sep 2021


If EU is serious, it should use more US liquified gas, not less

  • A tanker carrying liquified natural gas. 'The increased use of natural gas made America a global leader in energy emissions reductions' (Photo: kees torn)

Last month, the French energy company Engie walked away from a deal to import American liquefied natural gas (LNG), claiming that the US gas is "too dirty."

This claim could not be further from the truth.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • US secretary of state for energy Dan Brouillette. 'It is the stated energy policy of the Russian Federation to use the country's natural gas resources and their vast network of pipelines to wield political influence across Eastern Europe' (Photo: US department of energy)

First and foremost, this is the shale gas that in 2019 helped the US achieve the largest absolute decline of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions of any country in the world, surpassing all signatories of the Paris Climate Accord.

What's more, Engie is Russian Gazprom's main partner in France and is under an agreement to import from them until 2031, despite the International Energy Agency's findings in 2019 that Russia's aggregate methane emissions – encompassing extraction to transport - are nine-percent greater than United States' methane emissions.

What does this say about Engie's motives – and more broadly the French government's, which has more than a 20 percent ownership stake in the company – since its recent decision ignores the data on American emissions reductions and will hurt French energy security in the long run?

If France, and Europe more broadly, are serious about their environmental goals, including deploying a scalable and resilient hydrogen sector, they should recognise the past and present fruits of their relationships with US LNG providers, instead of walking away.

In fact, Europe can look to the United States as an example in this regard.

The increased use of natural gas made America a global leader in energy emissions reductions, and the Energy Information Administration's projections show that this year US emissions will decline to below 1992 levels.

Yet, you are not likely to hear this story, because these facts do not fit into the environmental activist or media narrative about American clean energy and will come as a shock to some of the most enthusiastic boosters of the Paris agreement, who seem determined to undermine the significant achievements of the US in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

They operate under the impression that all you need to do to achieve significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions is attend fancy confabs, draw-up treaties, and hold self-congratulatory press conferences to focus on process instead of outcomes.

How is it that we achieved these historic levels even as we boosted energy production and enjoyed the strongest economy in decades?

The US continues to invest in groundbreaking energy technologies through innovative policies, including robust support for R&D projects.

We continue to adhere to a philosophy that strengthens free markets, funds scientific research, and honours the choices of producers and consumers alike.

We proved that it is possible to produce energy in a way that improves our environment and keeps our economy growing at the same time.

This focus on technological innovation made American natural gas – from production to transport – cleaner than the alternatives, particularly Russian natural gas.

Moreover, the US is a recognised global leader in methane emissions quantification and mitigation, and there is widespread confidence in how the US collects and analyses its data.

To demonstrate these facts, the US Department of Energy has increased US-EU cooperation on methane emissions to dispel fake news.

Other natural gas-producing countries do not have the same data quality and are unable to support claims about their own methane emissions.

US LNG comes from an unrivaled transparent monitoring and reporting protocol for industry greenhouse gas emissions.

And our LNG exports are subject to stringent environmental analysis including multi-year reviews of the environmental impacts at the site of LNG export facilities before they can even be constructed. No other country on earth can reasonably claim such scrutiny.

Compare with the Russians

Finally, the United States is a stable trading partner and importing our natural gas extends energy security to partner nations.

It is the stated energy policy of the Russian Federation to use the country's natural gas resources and their vast network of pipelines to wield political influence across Eastern Europe.

Not convinced? Ask Georgia and Ukraine.

You could also ask the Czechs, Poles, and Lithuanians. Each of these countries experienced energy disputes and price increases, which happens when a country is overly reliant on Russia for energy.

In contrast, the US stands as the counterweight to Russia's geopolitical leverage against import-reliant nations. We support open markets where countries can engage in free and fair energy trade to provide energy, affordability, reliability, and security to their citizens, and our natural gas is cleaner than our competitors like Russia

If European leaders want to seriously pursue their own clean energy and environmental goals, they should commit to importing the cleanest LNG backed by world-leading innovation and technology.

They should commit to an energy source that comes with no strings attached and no threat of disruption.

For that there is only one option: American LNG.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Europe has forgotten the 'farm' in 'Farm to Fork'

US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue argues that the EU is taking an approach "more based on 'political science' than demonstrated agricultural science" in its new Farm to Fork strategy.

New EU rules for energy-project funding to keep fossil gas

The European Commission will unveil a reform of EU criteria for picking energy infrastructure projects for financial support - with a particular focus on hydrogen. However, green groups have warned of the risks of not excluding fossil fuels.

Sexism and the selection of the European Parliament president

Looking at the historical record, a clear picture emerges: the president of the European Parliament is an above-middle aged white man, most likely German — and with an overwhelming likelyhood to be conservative or socialist.

The EU's 'backyard' is not in the Indo-Pacific

Europe is no longer an Indo-Pacific power. It will not become an Indo-Pacific power. And if it keeps overreaching its geopolitical ambitions, Europe might lose its credibility as a power - entirely.


Long ago, there was another Angela Merkel

There is one female leader in European history whom Merkel resembles much more than the fiery, authoritarian Catherine the Great, who once staged a coup with her lover against her husband. Instead, it is the Habsburg empress Maria-Theresia.

The first anniversary of the Abraham Accords

More than 55 agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain are currently underway. These lay the foundation for practical cooperation in almost all fields including: finance, communications, economy, culture, tourism, taxation, investment protection, freedom of movement, water, agriculture and energy.

News in Brief

  1. Italy arrests Puigdemont on Spanish warrant
  2. EU and US hold trade talks despite French wrath
  3. EMA to decide on Pfizer vaccine booster in October
  4. EU welcomes Polish TV-station move
  5. Ukrainian parliament passes law to curb power of oligarchs
  6. EU could force Poland to pay lignite-coal fine
  7. Report: EU and US concerned by tech-giants' power
  8. EU states sign 'transparency pledge'

Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy

Russia's leaders have been fully aware of the reasons for its underlying economic weakness for more than two decades. Dependency on energy exports and the lack of technological innovation were themes of Vladimir Putin's first state-of-the-nation address back in 2000.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Activists: 'More deaths' expected on Polish-Belarus border
  2. EU unveils common charger plan - forcing Apple redesign
  3. Central Europe leaders rail against 'new liberal woke virus'
  4. Yemen's refugees in 'appalling conditions', says UN agency
  5. VW emissions software was illegal, top EU lawyer says
  6. Sexism and the selection of the European Parliament president
  7. More French names linked to Russia election-monitoring
  8. Negotiations set for new, tougher, EU ethics body

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us