THE UNITED States is leading talks to divert gas supplies to Britain and Europe in the event that Vladimir Putin halts gas supplies in revenge amid tensions over Ukraine.
Ministers feared that Bad Vlad would “weaponise” its gas resources and restrict supplies to Europe if America, Britain and its Allies carried out its threats over Putins plans to invade Ukraine.
One Government official told The Times of London on Monday: “Unlike some countries the UK hardly imports any Russian gas, but like all countries we are exposed to rising wholesale prices, which would be a significant issue if Russia further restricted supply.”
US LEADS TALKS
The US is holding meetings with some of the major energy-producing countries and companies around the world over a potential diversion of supplies to Europe, the White House said on Tuesday.
“We’ve been working to identify additional volumes of non- Russian natural gas from various areas of the world; from North Africa and the Middle East to Asia and the United States,” a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
“Correspondingly, we’re … in discussions with major natural gas producers around the globe to understand their capacity and willingness to temporarily surge natural gas output and to allocate these volumes to European buyers,” the official said.
What is going on in Ukraine?
Russia has massed an estimated 100,000 troops within reach of Ukraine’s border, surrounding it from the north, east and south, raising alarm in the West that Moscow is preparing for a new military assault after its invasion of Crimea in 2014.
The Russian government denies that it plans an invasion and Moscow has cited the Western response as evidence that Russia is the target, not the instigator, of aggression.
Why is Gas so important?
The European Union depends on Russia for around a third of its gas supplies.
Any interruptions to Russia’s gas supply to Europe would exacerbate an existing energy crisis caused by a shortage.
Record power prices have driven up consumer energy bills as well as business costs and sparked protests in some countries.
Russia normally supplies 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year to Europe through Ukraine, the senior administration official said, adding that it has already cut those
Additional Reporting by Reuters News Agency and The Times.