The European Commission is calling on the US to lift regulatory restrictions on the exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU.
The EU has no non-market barriers for US gas coming to the EU and the Commission is, therefore, seeking similar treatment from its counterpart, in particular the removal of the requirement for prior approval of LNG exports to the EU.
The Commission believes this will allow “larger quantities” of LNG to be delivered from the US to the EU.
The call comes as the EU has seen a continued increase in imports of LNG from the US, rising by 181% at 7.9 billion cubic meters until early March 2019.
That’s since the two regions agreed to strengthen strategic co-operation, including in the area of energy, in July 2018.
The US is Europe’s third biggest supplier of LNG, representing around 12.6% of imports so far this year.
In January 2019, EU imports of US LNG were 1.3 billion cubic meters, up from 102 million cubic meters compared to the same month last year.
The Commission said: “The European Union is ready to facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the US, if the market conditions are right and prices competitive. This will allow US exporters to further diversity their European markets whilst contributing to the EU’s objectives of security of supply and diversification.
“Currently, US legislation still requires prior regulatory approval for liquefied natural gas exports to Europe. These restrictions need to be addressed and US rules made easier for US liquefied natural gas to be exported in larger quantities to the EU.”
The EU has committed to co-finance LNG infrastructure projects worth more than €656 million (£566m).
In addition to the existing 150 billion cubic meters of spare capacity in the EU, It is supporting eight LNG projects, which will increase capacity by an additional 22 billion cubic meters by 2023.
Shell recently warned of a potential LNG supply shortage in the mid-2020s.