Energy & Environment Energy Markets & Governance European Union
Issue Brief July 8, 2024

Why the EU needs US liquefied natural gas

By John M. Roberts and Ariel Cohen

In 2024, the gas market in Europe may seem calm, but the underlying threats are just as great. The continuing war in Ukraine, the Gaza conflict, and deep tensions throughout the Middle East mean the energy security environment is becoming increasingly volatile. 

Europe is facing tough choices as it confronts Russia’s unexpected reentry into European gas markets in the form of steadily increasing deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A fourteenth round of sanctions adopted in June are designed to help curb these supplies. At the same time, Europe risks gas shortages if there are no alternative LNG supplies on hand. 

To resolve Europe’s dilemma, it must have a clear alternative for immediate and long-term gas supplies from producers capable of outcompeting Russian gas. Surveying the possibilities points to a single source as the most promising reliable gas provider: the United States.

This fraught situation puts pressure on the Biden administration to resume issuing fresh permits for LNG projects intended for export to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement (FTA). Currently, the United States has no FTA with any European country. And although a judge recently ordered the administration to resume permitting, it could appeal the decision, leaving the fate of additional projects in limbo.



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Image: View of the Cartagena regasification plant on October 6, 2022, in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain. Photo by Javier Carrion/Europa Press/ABACAPRESS.COM