Biden to the rescue! EU calls in support as Putin cashes in after outfoxing bloc

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US Government officials have reportedly held talks with international energy companies on contingency plans for supplying natural gas to Europe. It comes after Moscow sent gas prices soaring by decreasing gas deliveries travelling into the continent through Russia’s vast network of pipelines. In fact, gas flow has been diverted away from the West and towards the East for nearly 30 days straight.

This has sent prices skyrocketing to record highs, even surpassing the record prices seen back in October.

October’s surging prices were also blamed on a Russian gas squeeze.

Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, has been accused of deliberately withholding gas deliveries to the bloc to speed up certification of Nord Stream 2.

This is the pipeline which will transit gas from Russia to Germany through Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.

But its certification has been suspended, much to the disdain of the Kremlin, who claim an operational Nord Stream 2 would ease Europe’s crisis.

But now, the US has warned Russia that it may send supplies to Europe if the Russia-Ukraine conflict has a further impact on supplies.

This comes as reports have emerged of over 100,000 Russian troops piling up at the Russia-Ukraine border, with fears of a Russian invasion soaring.

The EU is highly dependent on Russian gas, which accounts for a third of the bloc’s supplies.

US sanctions over any conflict that could disrupt that supply may also be able to play an important role.

But back in May, Mr Biden waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

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Now, State Department officials are reported to have approached EU companies to discuss where additional supplies might come from if they are needed.

That is according to two industry sources familiar with the discussions who spoke to Reuters anonymously on Friday.

The companies reportedly told the officials that global gas supplies are tight.

They also said there is not much gas available to substitute large volumes from Russia.

The US State Department’s discussions with energy companies were reportedly led by senior advisor for energy security Amos Hochstein, according to an anonymous official.

The source said: “We’ve discussed a range of contingencies and we’ve talked about all that we’re doing with our nation state partners and allies.

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“We’ve done this with the European Commission, but we’ve also done it with energy companies.

“It’s accurate to say that we’ve spoken to them about our concerns and spoken to them about a range of contingencies, but there wasn’t any sort of ask when it comes to production.”

A spokesperson for the US National Security Council has since confirmed that contingency planning is underway.

The spokesperson said: “Assessing potential spillovers and exploring ways to reduce those spillovers is good governance and standard practice.

“Any details in this regard that make their way to the public only demonstrate the extensive detail and seriousness with which we are discussing and are prepared to impose significant measures with our allies and partners.”

A second anonymous industry source said: “The United States promised to have Europe’s back if there is an energy shortage due to conflict or sanctions. “

The US has called on Germany to scrap Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine.

Mr Biden’s Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has argued that it can be used as “leverage” to discourage a Russian invasion.

He told reporters at a press conference: “It is not leverage for Putin.

“It is leverage for the West because if Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he might not want to take that risk of invading Ukraine.”



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