News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lithuania pleads for US natural gas exports to counter Russia-BBC

3/25/14, "Lithuania pleads for US gas exports to counter Russia," BBC

"Lithuania's energy minister has called on the US Senate to speed up the export of natural gas to Europe.

Jaroslav Neverovic said that Lithuania was being forced to pay a "political price" for being entirely dependent on Russian gas supplies.

The crisis in Ukraine has led to calls for the US to ease its current restrictions on gas exports.

Some analysts have suggested that doing so would help challenge Russia's dominance in the sector.

In his statement to a US Senate committee, Mr Neverovic urged members to do everything within their power to release natural gas resources "into the world market".

"A law enacted in your country some 75 years ago denies us access to your abundant and affordably priced energy resources," he said.

The energy minister said customers in Lithuania were having to pay 30% more for natural gas than other European nations, because they were "beholden to a monopolistic supplier."

"This is not just unfair," said Mr Neverovic. "This is abuse of monopolist position."...

On Tuesday, David Montgomery, a senior vice president at NERA Economic Consulting, suggested that boosting US natural gas exports could hurt the Russian government.

He estimated that increased US competition could drive down Russia's revenues from natural gas exports by as much as 30% over the next five years, and by as much as 60% in the longer term.

"Since energy exports are the mainstay of the still inefficient and lagging Russian economy, this is a penalty with teeth," he added. 

However, Edward Chow, a senior fellow at Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said any such move was unlikely to have an immediate impact.

Mr Chow said that Russian exports of natural gas were equivalent to "twice the combined capacity" of the seven US government approved liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, which would only be completed by the end of this decade.

"Certainly increased exports of oil and gas from the US and other countries would reduce, over time, the significance of Russian exports, but none of this will happen quickly," he said.

Mr Chow argued that in order to reduce Russia's influence it was crucial that European countries developed their own gas resources.

"Russia is even more reliant on the European market as the destination of 80% percent of its oil and gas exports," he said in his testimony at the hearing.

"So, who is more reliant on whom? This has more to do with the exercise of political will rather than of economic leverage.""


Miami Herald Senate hears pleas for gas exports to Europe 3 hrs ago 

Reuters UK U.S. lawmakers mull speedier gas exports to help Ukraine, Europe 4 hrs ago US expands gas exports in bid to punish Putin for Crimea 7 hrs ago 

"In an interview before the hearing, Chow said approving more LNG exports would have no immediate effect on the current crisis over Ukraine or European gas supply. 

“They are using yet another argument to bolster a position they had to begin with. They were already in favour of expediting LNG approvals,” he said. But he added: “In the short to medium term, it would have zero impact on Ukraine.”  

Ukraine does not at the moment have an LNG receiving terminal, and such facilities typically take years to build. 

The US is unlikely to begin exporting LNG before late 2015 at the earliest - and most of those shipments are committed in advance to markets in Japan and India including the Jordan Cove facility approved on Monday."... 


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