x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

EU to seek gas in region

The continent wants to reduce its dependence on Russian imports, and negotiate deals with Middle Eastern suppliers.

The EU is in the market for more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports, and wants to negotiate deals with Middle Eastern suppliers. "You should expect more interest from Europe, and if you have any plans for LNG in this region, you will get plenty of attention from us, because we have learned a hard lesson" Vaclav Bartuska, the Czech Republic's ambassador-at-large for energy security, told a gas conference in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Following a contractual dispute over gas between Russia and Ukraine that cut Europe's gas supply by 20 per cent last month during two of the coldest weeks in the past 30 years, Europe is looking to LNG "to cover, if need be, the full amount of gas from Russia", Mr Bartuska said. "Europe is looking seriously into this solution, as this is the only way to get the attention of our main supplier and stop being blackmailed," he added.

The Czech Republic, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, is funding a study on the feasibility of building 20 to 25 regasification terminals in European countries to receive about 250 billion cubic metres a year of LNG, Mr Bartuska said. "You will see growing interest in the Middle East and other regions as suppliers." tcarlisle@thenational.ae