CNN Business reported on May 2 that Europe is indeed buying more American gas, as the bloc promised last year. Current estimates show that Europe has imported three times more American liquified natural gas over the past few months than it did in the previous three years.
Pres. Trump has been threatening trade wars since he was on the campaign trail. Back in the middle of 2018, Pres. Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to a cease fire of sorts. The European Union promised to purchase more liquified natural gas from the United States, and to build many more terminals to import all that gas. Pres. Trump promised to reduce regulatory red tape for exports from the U.S.
For right now, there seems to be nowhere to go but up for American exports to Europe. Just a few years ago, America was providing exactly 0% of Europe’s natural gas. Then, in 2016, America sent three tankers full of gas over. So far in 2019, 48 vessels have carried natural gas from the U.S. to Europe. America is still only a small player in Europe, but the rate of growth is striking.
This increased gas trade is not all about money. Europe gets almost half its gas through pipelines from Russia, but Europeans do not like being dependent on Russia. At times, Russia has used its pipelines as a weapon, particularly against Ukraine. American natural gas still tends to be much more expensive, but cutting into Russia’s monopoly power is worth the extra price to many European buyers.
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