Trump's Push to Get Europe to Import US Gas Over Russia's Paying Dividends Now
Former President Donald Trump’s push to get Europe to purchase more liquefied natural gas from the U.S. is paying off now as Western nations seek to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In July 2018, Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting in Brussels that Germany was “totally controlled” by Russia through oil and gas deals.
“We’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia?” Trump said. “I think that’s very inappropriate.
“And [former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder] is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas. Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas. So you tell me — is that appropriate? I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in.”
Trump also hit NATO countries that were not fulfilling their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on national defense.
Stoltenberg was able to report that NATO nations had been heeding Trump’s demands to spend more and said pledges had been made to spend over $250 billion more through 2024.
While Germany and other NATO nations increased their defense spending after Trump took office, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Sunday that in response to the Ukraine conflict his country would reach the 2 percent level, up from 1.53 percent in 2021. By way of comparison, the U.S. spent 3.7 percent on defense in 2020.
Not only did the Europeans heed Trump’s call to increase their defense spending, but they have also started buying significantly more natural gas from the U.S.
This was an initiative the 45th president took up in a meeting with then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, also in July 2018.
“We agreed today to strengthen our strategic cooperation with respect to energy. The European Union wants to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to diversify its energy supply,” the two said in a joint statement following their meeting.
By March 2019, the EU reported that imports of American LNG were up 181 percent. The U.S. share of the market hit 12 percent, compared to 2.3 percent before the agreement.
By mid-2019, the U.S. had become Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas, topping Russia and Qatar, according to the Journal of Petroleum Technology.
It’s pretty amazing that in the blink of an eye the US became one of the top three LNG exporters to Europe. Credit for this goes to Texas’ gas reserves and LNG processing facilities along the Gulf Coast. #txenergyhttps://t.co/PpKQbl6Cd0 pic.twitter.com/e1M88qYrtI
— Jeremy B. Mazur (@jeremybmazur) February 28, 2022
In early 2021, the American share of the market reached 24 percent to Russia’s 21 percent.
Trump was prescient, once again. He argued correctly that Europe was vulnerable to Russia by depending so much on Moscow for natural gas, and thankfully, Western nations began to shift to other sources — including the U.S.
European leaders should thank God that Trump was in office when he was and helped them see the light.
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
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