Despite sanctions, Europe will continue to be reliant on Russia without American energy

As the WSJ recently reported, the European Union has imposed new sanctions on Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, targeting the country’s Liquefied Natural Gas Exports (LNG) exports for the first time. In attempts to undermine the Russian energy industry, the EU banned European ports from re-exporting Russian LNG to third-party countries while also prohibiting European investment in Russian LNG projects. It is the EU’s latest move toward gaining independence from Russian energy—a goal it hopes to achieve by 2027.

Though these sanctions represent a step in the right direction, the road ahead of the EU and its desire for independence from Russia is still a long one. The EU has not yet banned member states from importing Russian LNG, which is why the Kremlin remains Europe’s second-largest supplier of LNGs to this day. Perhaps more importantly, though, the United States under the Biden administration has made it harder for American companies to supply the EU with the energy it needs to replace Russian energy.

Since January of this year, Biden has indefinitely suspended new licenses for American energy companies to export LNGs abroad, citing concerns over the environmental impact of LNGs and whether they are in the “public interest.” American energy has thus been prevented from increasing its exports to the EU—a necessity if Europe were to go cold turkey from Russian energy. With this indefinite suspension, Biden has thus put the interests of radical environmental activists over those of our European allies.

Ultimately, without more American LNGs, the EU’s sanctions won’t do much to decrease Russian energy dependence on the EU. The WSJ article notes that EU member countries have imported over 9 million metric tons of LNG from Russia so far this year and that Russian imports to countries like Belgium, France, and Spain have only been increasing. That is a 9 million metric ton difference that will need to be made up somewhere to keep the lights on in Europe. Given that the EU already imports 44% of its LNGs from the United States, it only makes sense for America to fill the gap.

American LNG exports to the EU represent a win-win for both regions—Europe gets more energy independence while Americans benefit from the economic prosperity it could bring.  Unfortunately, in an obvious attempt to cater to the environmental bloc during an election year, Biden has prioritized their needs over those of our European allies, indirectly benefitting Moscow as it continues its cruel and illegal invasion of Ukraine. It’s time for Biden to end the suspension of LNG exports so that Europe can rid itself of Russian energy.

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