To keep prices from rising, the United Kingdom has reached an agreement to double its gas imports from the United States next year.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the plan would lower prices for people in Britain. And help Europe stop getting its energy from Russia.
After Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, it cut off most of its gas supplies to Europe.
The UK doesn’t get gas directly from Russia, but rising wholesale prices on the Continent have hurt them.
Under the deal, the UK wants to double the amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US over the next year to 9–10 billion cubic meters.
That is about the same amount of gas the UK uses in a year.
The two countries will also work together to make new nuclear and green energy technologies.
A new UK-US joint action group will be in charge of the partnership. Top officials will lead it from the British government and the White House. The group’s first meeting took place online on Thursday.
In a joint statement, they said that the war in Ukraine makes it more critical for allies to work together. To seek the possibility of building solid international systems.
They said their immediate goal was stabilizing the energy markets and lowering demand. And the long-term goal of getting to net zero emissions by 2050 supports the short-term goal.
Drop in gas imports over time
Nathan Piper said that the deal would help ensure that Europe always had enough gas. Even more so since gas imports from Russia have dropped by more than 80% since last year.
He said the UK could only store so much gas, so any extra gas would probably be sent through pipes to Holland and Belgium.
But he said the plan probably wouldn’t bring down wholesale prices this winter because demand is increasing a lot. He also said that the deal was more of a statement of intent and that “it’s not certain.”
Since June, when a fire damaged the country’s second-largest LNG facility, the US has yet to be able to export as much LNG. But the Freeport LNG facility in Texas should be back up and running by March next year.
There are worries that Europe’s growing use of LNG could make it harder to stop global warming.
Recent research showed up to ten times as much carbon is released when LNG is made and moved as when pipeline gas is made and moved.
Also, since 2005, most of the growth in US gas production has come from fracking, which has been controversial in the UK.