European research to replace Russian gas faces many obstacles

“What the invasion of Ukraine has done is take one of the three largest natural gas producers on a global basis out of the framework for future planning,” said Charif Souki, executive chairman of Tellurian, a gas company building a gas company. export terminal in Louisiana. “Nobody will rely on Russia in the future. Now the United States has the opportunity to become the natural gas powerhouse by far. “

European countries have expressed their intention to phase out their dependence on more than 150 billion cubic feet of imported Russian gas annually, in part by importing another 50 billion cubic feet of LNG, about 50% more than it imports. currently.

It will not be easy, since the global LNG market is only 523 billion cubic meters per year, of which almost 20% already goes to Europe. New LNG export terminals are coming into operation in the United States and Qatar, but demand is increasing even more rapidly, especially in Asian countries seeking to alleviate air pollution from coal burning.

This leaves the United States, even though many of its gas fields have insufficient pipeline capacity and have attracted few large drillers because prices have been so low until recently.

Since the Russian invasion, the Biden administration has pledged to increase LNG exports to the European Union by 15 billion cubic feet, or about 40%. That’s only about a tenth of Russian shipments to Europe, but American energy experts say American companies could produce and ship much more gas with more pipelines and export terminals.

Export operations are expanding in the United States, with three new terminals expected to be completed by 2026. Another 10 await permits, long-term buyers and investors. EQT, a major gas producer, has asked the country to quadruple LNG capacity by 2030, a proposal that has received broad support from the sector.

“We have the resources in the field,” David Braziel, chief executive of RBN Energy, told an analytics firm. “And we could develop them if I had an indication from the administration that they want to develop natural gas resources.”