Since the beginning of Russia’s special operation to de-militarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, EU officials have introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow, as well as pledging to dramatically reduce the 27-nation bloc’s dependence on Russian oil, gas and coal.
In early March, the EU announced plans to slash its dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds during 2022. Europe gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia.
The EU is urgently seeking alternatives to substitute Russia’s hydrocarbons. Given the delays in firming up African gas suppliers, the bloc is looking to sure up an agreement with the US to deliver 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) of additional liquefied fuel in 2022, and a further 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year until 2030, according to Bloomberg.
Brussels is also considering signing a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Egypt and Israel to increase LNG supplies to the Old Continent by the summer of 2022.
Plans to double the Southern Gas Corridor’s capacity, which brings up to 20 bcm annually from Azerbaijan, is also on the table, as well as LNG deliveries from Canada, Japan and South Korea, according to the media outlet.
The EU has urged member nations to ensure open, flexible, liquid and well-functioning global LNG markets, both with major LNG producers, including the USA, Australia and Qatar, and consumers, including China, Japan and South Korea.
It appears unlikely that major LNG producers will be capable of quickly filling Russia’s shoes in the wake of the EU energy embargo. The [EU] will never be able to replace Russian gas supplies now or in the foreseeable future.
The combined total LNG exports of the United States, Qatar and Australia could barely replace current Russian gas supplies to the EU.
This situation partly stems from the fact that the bulk of USA, Qatari and Australian LNG exports are bought years in advance by customers in the Asia-Pacific region; and partly because the EU has limited LNG import capacity in terms of LNG terminals and storage spaces.
In short, the EU appears to be shooting itself in the foot by abruptly severing energy ties with Russia, as it may take up to a decade for the bloc to build enough infrastructure to satisfy its needs, concludes the economist.
A competing Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project has likewise been on the cards since 2016. The project envisages the construction of a 5,660 km-long (3,517 mi) offshore pipeline – the second-longest in the world – to carry gas from Nigeria to Morocco through eleven West African nations.
Besides linking Nigeria and Morocco, it is expected to connect African gas reserves to Europe, as Nigeria’s minister for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, told reporters in Abuja on Monday.
Sylva noted that Russia and some other world energy producers are interested in investing in the project, which may kick off before May 2023. However, it’s not known how much the project will cost, nor how long it will take to finish.
There are also a number of less ambitious gas pipeline projects which are at different stages of planning or construction in West, East and South Africa.
However, many of them remain unfinished due to a lack of investments, criminal attacks, a dire security situation, and political divisions within the continent.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2022.