On 25 March the USA and the European Commission issued a joint statement confirming their commitment to reducing Europe's dependency on Russian energy. The following is a digest of that statement.
“We reaffirm our joint commitment to Europe's energy security and sustainability and to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. In condemning in the strongest terms Russia's further invasion of Ukraine, we express our solidarity and support for Ukraine. We share the objective of addressing the energy security emergency – to ensure energy supply for the EU and Ukraine. We welcome the continued progress toward the physical integration of Ukraine with the EU energy markets … [to promote] … peace, freedom and democracy in Europe.
“Through the Joint European action REPowerEU, the EU confirmed its objective to reach independence from Russian fossil fuels well before the end of the decade.
“The US and the EU are committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, achieving the objective of net zero emissions by 2050, and keeping a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on temperature rise within reach.
“These policies will also contribute to making the EU independent from Russian fossil fuels. Natural gas remains an important part of the EU energy system in the green transition, including by ensuring its carbon intensity decreases over time.
In this framework, we establish an immediate co-operation to address the emergency energy security objective of ensuring appropriate levels of gas storage ahead of next winter and the following one. We will continue our close co-operation on other measures to accelerate the green energy transition, lower energy consumption and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
The United States and the European Commission will immediately establish a joint Task Force on Energy Security to set out the parameters of this co-operation and execute its implementation. It will be chaired by a representative from the White House and a representative of the president of the European Commission.
“Included in the remit and focus of the Task Force will be the following urgent issues:
- The USA will strive to ensure, including working with international partners, additional liquefied natural gas volumes for the EU market of at least 15 bcm in 2022 with expected increases going forward.
- Regarding LNG, the USA commits to maintaining an enabling regulatory environment, while the EC will work with the governments of EU Member States to accelerate their regulatory procedures to review and determine approvals for LNG import infrastructure, to include onshore facilities and related pipelines. The EC will work with EU Member States and market operators to pool demand through a newly established EU Energy platform for additional volumes between April and October 2022.
- The EC will work with EU Member States towards ensuring stable demand for additional US LNG until at least 2030 of approximately 50 bcm/annum, on the understanding that the price formula of LNG supplies to the EU should reflect long-term market fundamentals.
- The EU is preparing an upgraded regulatory framework for energy security of supply and storage. This will … ensure closer co-operation within the EU and its neighbouring partner nations. The European Commission has proposed regulation on energy storage to ensure that the existing storage infrastructure is filled up to 90% of its capacity by 1 November each year, with specific phase-in provisions for 2022.
- The USA and the EC will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, to formulate immediate recommendations that will reduce overall gas demand through accelerating market deployment and utilisation of clean energy technologies and measures in Europe and the United States such as partnering on technologies and energy efficiency solutions such as ramping up demand response devices (such as smart thermostats) and heat pump deployment and installations, scaling procurement for clean energy equipment, investing in innovative technologies and fuel-switching away from fossil fuels; and collaborating to advance the production and use of clean and renewable hydrogen to displace unabated fossil fuels, and cut greenhouse gas emissions, including by investing in technology development and supporting infrastructure.”