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EC, US reaffirm urgency for 'decisive' action to reduce Russian imports

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EC, US reaffirm urgency for 'decisive' action to reduce Russian imports

Highlights

Partners slam Russia's latest use of 'energy blackmail'

Finland latest EU country to be cut off from Russian gas

EC, US continue efforts to diversify Europe's gas supply

The European Commission and the US reaffirmed May 24 the need to take "decisive" action to cut Russian energy imports and slammed the latest move by Moscow to use energy as a weapon after it cut supplies to Finland.

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In a joint statement, the EC and US said Russia had demonstrated that it was an unreliable supplier of energy to Europe.

"The EC and the US understand the urgency of taking decisive action to reduce energy imports from Russia," they said in the statement.

The EC and US pointed to the recent "unjustified and unacceptable" actions by Moscow to cut off power and gas to Finland, halting gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria, and threatening similar actions against other European nations.

"The EC and the US condemn Russia's use of energy blackmail and reaffirm our commitment to strengthening Europe's energy security," they said.

Russia's Gazprom said it had halted gas deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland because of those countries' refusal to comply with Moscow's new ruble-based payment mechanism.

The moves triggered renewed supply-side concerns, with European gas prices remaining high and volatile.

The TTF month-ahead price was last assessed on May 23 at Eur84.38/MWh on May 23, some 240% higher year on year, according to Platts assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Joint task force

The EU has pledged to reduce its demand for Russian gas by two thirds by the end of 2022 and is looking to higher LNG deliveries, more biomethane production and energy efficiency savings to help achieve its aim.

The EC and US said they would address the challenges through its joint task force on energy security that was announced by US President Joe Biden and EC President Ursula von der Leyen on March 25.

"Through the task force we will continue working to diversify Europe's supply of gas," they said.

One example, they said, was an agreement last week signed by Finland and the US' Excelerate Energy for a floating LNG import terminal, which is expected to be operational before the end of 2022.

Under the charter agreement, Excelerate will deploy its FSRU Exemplar -- which has a regasification capacity of 5 Bcm/year -- to provide regasification services in southern Finland.

State-owned infrastructure operator Gasgrid Finland and its Estonian counterpart Elering signed a deal in late April on jointly leasing an FSRU as both countries look to end dependence on Russian gas imports.

Finland and Estonia are linked by the 2.6 Bcm/year bi-directional Balticconnector.

In a statement, Gasgrid Finland said the FSRU could be located in an Estonian port this winter if the port structures are not yet completed in Finland.