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The United States and its allies are preparing for a possible reduction in Russian gas supplies to Europe in case of an escalation in the Ukraine conflict.
“We are working with countries and companies around the world to ensure the security of supply and to mitigate price shocks affecting both the American people and the global economy,” a senior US government official said in Washington on Tuesday.
“We are just 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 government official pointed out that gas has been stored in storage facilities in Europe for several weeks. Efforts were aimed at providing a replacement within days or weeks, not months, in the event of a reduction or loss of Russian supplies.
The US has repeatedly suspected Russia is trying to use energy as a weapon. The Kremlin, on the other hand, has rejected fears that Russia could turn off the gas tap in the event of sanctions.
Another US government official pointed to the severe consequences for the Russian economy should Moscow instrumentalize gas or oil supplies.
Russia needs oil and gas revenues at least as much as Europe needs its energy supply, he said.
“So this is not an asymmetric advantage for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. It’s an interdependency.”
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