Australia could step up as Putin cuts gas supplies to Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Russia gas)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Image: Shutterstock)

Australia could supply extra liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, with the continent’s reliance on Russia making it vulnerable in a growing standoff with Vladimir Putin, The Guardian reports.

With Russian troops gathering near the country’s border with Ukraine, the United States said it was working with allies and partners to prepare financial sanctions “with massive consequence” if the Russian president decided to invade the eastern European country.

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A Biden administration official revealed the US was also “looking at the global flow of LNG—whether it’s from the United States or from Australia or from other places”.

“The conversation is really broad with a lot of companies and countries around the world,” the administration official added.

Reports confirm Russia has already restricted the flow of gas through the pipeline running through Ukraine from about 100m cubic metres a day to 50m.

Australian resources minister Keith Pitt said Australia was a leading and reliable global exporter of LNG and was ready to assist with any request for further supplies.

“This shows how important Australian resources are to energy supplies around the world,” Pitt said.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said one of the major issues in crafting a strong sanctions package against Russia was “the heavy dependence, of our European friends in particular, on Russian gas”, and dubbed the restricted flow of LNG as “Russian gas blackmail”.

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“We have to be respectful of this, but the simple fact is that about 3 per cent of the UK’s gas supplies come from Russia, whereas about 36 per cent of German energy needs come from Russian gas,” Johnson told the House of Commons.

“We are working together with president Biden and other colleagues to see what we can do to increase the supply of gas both to Europe and of course to this country.”

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