As a result of European Commission PresidentJean-Claude Juncker and US President Donald Trump meeting in Washington last July, a Joint Statement has been agreed with the aim of strengthening EU-U.S. strategic cooperation with respect to energy, in particular with regard to trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

To further diversify its energy supply, the EU has co-financed or committed to co-finance LNG infrastructure projects worth over 638 million euro. The European Union already has 150 billion cubic meters of spare capacity and will increase its capacity by another 15 billion cubic meters by 2021. This spare capacity could welcome imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S., if the market conditions are right and prices competitive.

The U.S. currently has 28 billion cubic meters of liquefaction capacity and is foreseen to add a further 80 billion cubic meters by 2023. Nevertheless,to increase imports to Europe further, U.S. prices for liquefied natural gas need to be competitive on the EU market and Regulatory restrictions by the U.S. need to be lifted. These restrictions provides for a prior approval of liquefied natural gas exports to the EU while the EU has no non-market barriers for U.S. natural gas coming to the EU.

Since the first shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas to the EU in April 2016 the EU has received more than 40 liquefied natural gas cargoes from the U.S. amounting to 2.8 billion cubic meters of LNG.

The easing of the U.S. restrictions could help the increase of U.S. LNG export to the EU at a time when the International Energy Agency expects liquefied natural gas imports to increase by almost 20% by 2040 compared to 2016 levels.

An Executive Working Group composed of EU and U.S. representatives has been set up to work on the implementation of the Joint Statement.