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EMBASSY NEWS & EVENTS
14 November 2016
Energy cooperation and energy security are among the most important elements of transatlantic cooperation. LNG has begun to play an increasingly important role in the rapidly changing energy market, and has a chance to change the current, dominant model of supply, which is currently based on long-term gas pipeline contracts indexed to oil prices. Thanks to the shale revolution, the United States will soon become one of the largest gas exporters in the world. For Europe, LNG provides an opportunity for real diversification of routes and sources of supply.
Central and Eastern European States inherited from the Cold War a gas pipeline system dominated by a single supplier who did not hesitate to use its privileged position in the region to dictate terms of cooperation. Those countries have, however made great progress in recent years in creating conditions for alternative supply routes, investing heavily in infrastructure. Operational LNG terminals in Klaipeda, Lithuania and Swinoujscie, Poland, have created a real opportunity to import LNG from any direction, including the USA. Gas deliveries can currently reach not only the Baltic States and the Visegrad Group countries, but also Ukraine and Southern Europe through cross-border interconnectors. Nonetheless to make LNG imports possible, the development of export infrastructure in the United States is necessary.
In a letter dated November 14, 2016 addressed to the leaders of the US Congress, seven Ambassadors of the Visegrad Group and the Baltic States thanked Members of Congress for their cooperation in the area of energy security and their interest in Central and Eastern Europe. Ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia pointed out that the development of LNG exports will increase liquidity in the global market and create an opportunity for diversification of sources, suppliers and routes. This in turn will contribute to the increased energy security of the region, which for a long time has been dominated by a state-owned entity, which has been used as a foreign policy tool of one country.
The Ambassadors congratulated members of Congress on the recent bipartisan support for the exports of LNG, highlighting the importance of legislative efforts that aim to introduce greater certainty to the U.S. Department of Energy’s regulatory review process. In the view of the European diplomats, legislative action to expedite LNG exports to America’s European allies remains a timely and significant issue.
In a letter addressed to the Senate Majority Leader Hon. M. McConnell, Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. P. Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Hon. H. Reid and House Minority Leader Hon. N. Pelosi, the Ambassadors stressed that the exports of LNG from the U.S. will reduce the vulnerability of CEE countries to gas supply disruptions. They indicated the importance of legislative actions, which would accelerate the process of issuing LNG export licenses to European countries. The Ambassadors expressed their hope that bipartisan support for this cause, which has been gaining momentum steadily over the past few years, will be reflected in a final resolution during the current session of Congress.
The Ambassadors expressed confidence that the U.S. LNG exports to CEE states would be a game changer as well as a strong, geopolitical signal, which would enhance competition in the market, while reducing dependence on the dominant supplier and thus increasing the region’s energy security.
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