- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2022

The Biden administration and the European Union said Friday they are working together to prepare for a potential natural gas shortage if Russia invades Ukraine.

In a joint statement from President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the two leaders said they were “intensifying” their efforts to make sure reliable and affordable energy is available.

“The United States and the EU are working jointly towards continued, sufficient, and timely supply of natural gas to the EU from diverse sources across the globe to avoid supply shocks, including those that could result from a further Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the statement said.

They also called on energy companies and the world’s leading energy producers to ramp up production to ensure the “world energy markets are stable and well-supplied.”

Further talks are expected at the U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting next week.

Fears of a fuel shortage if Russia attacks Ukraine have rattled both sides of the Atlantic. Russia, whose energy companies supply roughly a third of the natural gas used by Europe, could weaponize its natural gas deliveries if there is war or the West imposes harsh sanctions on Moscow.

A senior administration official told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. and EU have engaged in “contingency planning” if a Russian invasion damages Europe’s natural gas infrastructure or Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliates against sanctions by cutting off the gas supply to European countries.

“We’ve analyzed the impacts of potential disruptions, and we’re going to work to ensure Europe has alternative energy supplies,” the official said on a conference call with reporters.

The official said the U.S. is exploring contingency options to redirect and increase gas supplies from different parts of the world, but declined to name specific countries and companies with which the U.S. has engaged, citing the “sensitivity” of the talks.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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