US LNG seen as a counter to Russian exports

Bloomberg/Fuel Fix:
More “freedom gas” from U.S. shale basins is earmarked for Europe after the company behind a Louisiana export project expanded a deal with Poland.

Venture Global LNG Inc. will send Poland’s PGNiG 2.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas from the yet-to-be-built Plaquemines terminal, up from 1 million in a previous agreement, according to a filing Wednesday. The pact boosts the odds that Venture Global will decide to move forward with the $8.5 billion project, which isn’t expected to start up until 2022.

The deal is an example of the Trump administration’s push to see more shale gas, which it has dubbed “molecules of U.S. freedom,” go to overseas buyers as a foreign policy tool. Though America’s cargoes to Europe have climbed, Russia remains the region’s biggest and lowest-cost gas supplier -- and Moscow may be testing the resilience of U.S. exporters by boosting shipments via pipeline, according to Citigroup Inc.

President Trump said on Wednesday he’s considering using U.S. sanctions to stop construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Europe has become a hotspot for LNG as Germany, Greece and Croatia consider building import terminals, seeking alternatives to supplies piped from Russia amid declining production from the Netherlands and the North Sea.

“Today is a very very important milestone in the relationship between the United States and Poland,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said before announcing the LNG agreement. “We are fortified by our shared commitment to energy security.”

Poland also agreed last year to buy LNG from Sempra Energy’s planned Port Arthur export terminal in Texas.
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The US is expanding its defense of Poland with the movement of 1000 troops from Germany to a base in Poland which some have suggested would be called Fort Trump.  Making Poland less dependent on Russian gas is in the strategic interest of both the US and Poland.  Trump has been sharply critical of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline questioning why Europe would make such an investment at the same time it is asking the US to defend it from Russian aggression.

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