Norway Sees U.S. Gas as Chance for Europe to Diversify Supplies

  • U.S. gas exports may cut Europe prices in short term: Norway
  • Norway becoming more of a gas producer than an oil one: Lien

U.S. exports of shale gas stand to increase confidence in the fuel as a long-term energy source while giving Europe the chance to diversify its natural gas supplies, Norway Petroleum and Energy Minister Tord Lien said Wednesday.

“Obviously, more resources coming into the European markets will challenge price developments,” Lien, whose country is Europe’s second-biggest natural gas supplier behind Russia, said in an interview in San Francisco. “In the long-term, I think we will benefit from the fact that a more diversified supply is good for us.”

Exactly how much U.S. gas will affect Europe’s market depends on the volume and cost of the fuel that ends up traveling across the Atlantic, Lien said. U.S. government officials have touted the nation’s gas as a means of diversifying Europe’s supplies and shrinking its dependence on Russia. Only one tanker of U.S. liquefied natural gas has been delivered to Europe since shipments began leaving from Louisiana in February, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

During a lunch held at Cheniere Energy Inc.’s LNG export terminal in Louisiana in April, Robin Dunnigan, a U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy, said the No. 1 question she’s asked while traveling in Europe is when the country will start sending LNG there.

Russia “shouldn’t be the only supplier of natural gas” to parts of Europe, Dunnigan said. “Every LNG cargo that leaves the Gulf Coast, that leaves the United States, helps us chip away at the dominant supplier of natural gas in Europe.”

Gas Producer

Norway is meanwhile becoming more of a natural gas producer than an oil one as crude production has declined in recent years, Lien said while attending the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco. European countries will increasingly rely on gas as a heating and power-plant fuel to shrink carbon emissions, he said.

"Gas obviously has to be part of the climate solution," he said. “It’s a very cost effective way for reductions.”

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