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How Texas Could End Russia's Energy Stranglehold Over Europe

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump addressed thousands of people in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, focusing, in part, on the nation's dependence on Russian energy. He said Poles will not be "held hostage" anymore by the Russian energy market, and pitched U.S. energy as an alternative.


Poland has already started to diversify its energy sources, which includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Texas.  With new LNG export centers going online, Texas could also figure into the high-stakes geopolitical battle between Russia and the U.S.

Tom DiChristopher, an energy reporter for CNBC, wrote about the energy angle of Trump's speech in his article, "Trump Pitches U.S. Natural Gas to European Leaders, Suggests Russian Gas Holds Them Hostage."

"President Trump really wants to look to Europe as a potential destination for increased natural gas exports," he says.

DiChristopher says there is demand in Europe for non-Russian sources of energy, and with many new LNG export terminals going online, the U.S. has the supply to accommodate it.

But a new cold war over energy isn't exactly on the horizon. DiChristopher says American natural gas would be a way for European countries to diversify their energy sources, not get rid of Russian energy altogether.

"It would be very, very difficult for the United States to really significantly draw down the amount of natural gas the European Union gets from Russia," DiChristopher says. Russian pipeline gas is much cheaper than imported liquefied natural gas.

But diversifying energy sources could bring more energy security to European countries because Russia has the ability to effectively turn off the tap, which has happened twice so far, DiChristopher says.

LNG export terminals are being built in Corpus Christi and Freeport, which means Texas' role could become more prominent as exports of LNG ramp up over the next few years.

"By 2020 the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that U.S. LNG will account for about a fifth of LNG capacity around the world. We'll be the third largest in capacity behind only Qatar and Australia. That's huge," he says.


Written by Caroline Covington.

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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