After a successful Europe-US LNG Roundtable, which took place on May 27th–28th, 2015, in Brussels, talks on facilitating the transatlantic gas trade will be continued in Washington, D.C. On the 4th of November, decision-makers and industry representatives from both sides of the Atlantic will meet again to discuss potential ways of opening energy markets, and expanding trade in natural gas between the United States and Europe. CEEP is the chief co-organiser of this high-level event.
Whilst Europe is aiming to hedge itself against potential undersupplies of natural gas, the United States can already produce more of this resource than it needs domestically. So, CEEP, together with its US partners, has initiated a series of roundtables aimed at facilitating the transatlantic LNG trade, bringing together US exporters and upstream natural gas producers, with their potential customers from Europe. As impediments to commercial agreements need to be addressed through legislative and administrative actions, the LNG roundtables also serve as high-level summits for key members of the US Congress, US government officials, EU Commission representatives, and members of the European Parliament.
Participants of the previous LNG roundtable argued that both the US and the EU could benefit from a more open energy market. From the European point of view, the more players in the gas supply, the stronger and more secure is the whole energy market. “The only way to make the European market more efficient and more resilient is through competition. At the same time, free trade will allow the EU domestic refiners and chemical companies to have access to competitively priced crude oils and gas,” underlined Paweł Olechnowicz, during the Europe-US LNG Roundtable I.
Eliminating natural gas export restrictions will also benefit the U.S. economy in several ways. According to Fred H. Hutchison of LNG Allies, “thousands of new high-wage jobs will be created during the construction and project operation phases. Additionally, new revenues will accrue at the US national, state, and local levels, which can foster further energy research and development, support infrastructure improvements, and other efforts. Last, but not least, the US balance of payments will be enhanced significantly.”
Europe-US LNG Roundtable II in Washington, D.C., is, therefore, set to be a timely and important debate, underlining both industry’s needs and political aspirations behind the ongoing negotiations of the TTIP agreement.