U.S. WANT EUROPEAN OIL&GAS MARKET - 2
Europe must wean itself off Russian gas and look to places like the Caspian Sea or the Middle East for alternative supplies, as the conflict in Ukraine underscores the importance of energy independence, parliamentarians from NATO nations were told Sunday.
"Europe needs to diversify gas routes, sources, and suppliers. And if anything, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has made this even clearer," Turkish deputy Osman Askin Bak told members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's Science and Technology Committee.
A report authored by Bak and adopted by the committee on Science and Technology said that besides the need to seek its energy elsewhere, Europe must complete the interconnection of its national energy networks and link them to transit countries, of which Ukraine is one.
Russia met 39 percent of the European Union's natural gas import needs last year. Most of that is pumped through Ukraine, and the gas price war between Kyiv and Moscow has hit supplies to Europe in the past. Six EU countries are 100 percent dependent on Russian gas.
With the help of EU-mediation, Ukraine will now be able to buy 1.5 billion US dollars to Russian energy giant Gazprom for about four billion cubic metres of new gas, enough gas to get the country through the winter.
The report encourages Europe to look to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, or possibly Iraq and Iran, if the political and security obstacles to exports from those countries could be overcome.
NATO member Turkey, which is also trying to join the European Union, could play an important role in ensuring EU reserves, Bak said, particularly via the Southern Gas Corridor bringing supplies from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East.
The report notes that liquid natural gas (LNG) has already proved an answer for some, notably Lithuania, where a massive floating facility arrived a few weeks ago. Estonia and Finland are working on a similar bilateral project.
Bak warned that Asia's energy needs are rapidly growing and could pose a challenge. "Europe must come up with new incentives to attract energy suppliers to the European markets," he told the parliamentarians, taking part in the NATO PA's Annual Session, held this year in the Netherlands.
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