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As Russia Reduces Gas Supplies to Europe, US Officials Declare That Their “Biggest Fear” Has Come True

As Moscow continues to cut its energy supplies to the European Union, fear of potentially severe gas shortages as winter approaches has prompted the Biden administration to work frantically behind the scenes to keep European allies united against Russia, according to US officials.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline will only operate at 20% of its maximum capacity, according to a statement made on Monday by the state-owned gas company of Russia, Gazprom.

A US official claimed that the action was in retaliation for western sanctions and that it put the West in “uncharted territory” about whether or not Europe will have access to enough gas to get through the winter.

According to officials, the White House sent Amos Hochstein, the presidential coordinator for global energy, to Europe on Tuesday in response to the unrest.

To discuss emergency planning with the US-EU energy task force, which was established in March, one month after Russia invades Ukraine, he will be travelling to Paris and Brussels.

The US official admitted, “This was our biggest fear.” According to the official, the effect on Europe could have a boomerang effect on US prices for electricity and natural gas.

Since Russia is not showing signs of leaving Ukraine, it will also be a significant test of European resiliency and unity against Russia.

Since the US and Brussels have been pleading with EU members to conserve gas and stockpile it for the winter, energy ministers on Tuesday reached an agreement in principle to reduce gas use by 15% from August to March.

To offset Europe’s gas shortages, discussions will also be had about increasing nuclear power generation in the coming days, according to officials.

By the end of 2022, Germany intended to completely phase out its reliance on nuclear energy, but US officials are trying to persuade Berlin to prolong the life of its three remaining nuclear power plants in the face of the global energy crisis, an official said.


US officials are very concerned that Europe could experience a severe gas shortage as winter approaches.

They have been in close contact with German and French officials in particular on this matter.

This is due to Nord Stream 1 only providing a portion of its capacity, which will make it difficult for EU countries to fill their reserves over the coming months.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Germany abandoned plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that would have connected Russia and Europe.

That pipeline was opposed by the US, which expressed concern that it would only increase Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

However, Germany contended that the pipeline was a purely commercial endeavour and that it could act as a stopgap measure for energy as it phased out coal and nuclear power.

In the end, the US granted waivers that enabled the pipeline project to proceed without being subject to onerous sanctions.

Officials now claim that a reduction in Europe’s gas consumption of 15%, combined with an increase in LNG exports to Europe, including from the US, won’t likely be enough to compensate for the shortages.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, stated on Tuesday that “Russia is waging an open gas war against a united Europe.”

According to the US official, it is obvious that Russia is “lashing out” and attempting to “destabilize Europe” because they are failing to make progress in Ukraine.

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A representative of the National Security Council described Russia’s actions as just its most recent attempts “to use natural gas as a political and economic weapon.”

“Russia’s energy coercion has strained the energy market, increased consumer prices, and jeopardized the security of the world’s energy supply.

The European Commission and the United States are working hard to reduce our reliance on Russian energy, and these actions only serve to highlight how important that work is, the spokesperson said.

We will keep assisting our European allies in their efforts to lessen their reliance on Russian energy and support them in their efforts to get ready for further Russian energy market destabilization.

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