On Friday, the U.S. announced a deal with the European Union to strengthen its supply of liquefied natural gas as Europe seeks to decrease its reliance on Russia.
Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. Russian exports represent more than 40% of Europe’s natural gas supply.
However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions on Russia have raised concern over European dependence on energy.
President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports to the U.S. in early March. However, the European Union has not decided to ban imports. The E.U. has pledged to drastically reduce imports of Russian gas by the end of 2022 and completely phase out Russian fossil fuels by 2030.
On Friday, the White House announced a task force would be implemented to navigate the changes.
“The Task Force for Energy Security will be chaired by a representative from the White House and a representative of the President of the European Commission. It will work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the E.U. in preparation for next winter and the following one while supporting the E.U.’s goal to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.”
According to the announcement, the U.S. will supply an “additional 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas this year.”
The move is also being championed as a step forward in Biden’s climate change initiative. The White House said, “The United States and the European Commission will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, and deploy immediate recommendations to reduce overall gas demand by accelerating market deployment of clean energy measures.”
President Biden described the agreement as a “groundbreaking” new initiative designed to “increase energy security, economic security, and national security.”
The President claimed the move as progress, saying, “It’s a catalyst — a catalyst that will drive the investments we need to double-down on our clean energy goals and accelerate progress toward our net-zero emissions future.”
The announcement comes as another potential blow to the Russian economy as it continues to face sweeping financial sanctions.
On Wednesday, Putin said that Russia would require “unfriendly” nations to pay for natural gas in roubles as a counter move to impact western nations.