Addressing a business conference in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said European countries should join Asian economies in asking the United States and Norway to show greater friendship by selling gas at lower prices.
“In the spirit of great friendship, we will say to our American and Norwegian friends: You are wonderful, because you provide us with energy and gas, but the only thing that cannot last for long is that we pay four times the price you sell to your industry, which is not the exact meaning of friendship.”
France intends to raise this issue on the table of the Group of Seven talks at its next meeting.
The energy crisis is still casting a shadow over the internal situation in Europe, in the midst of Russia moving forward with stopping its gas supplies until the West lifts its economic sanctions.
In this vein, Germany went ahead, as Minister of Economy Robert Habeck expressed his denunciation of the request of “friendly” countries, led by the United States, from his country for “imaginary” prices for the supply of gas in order to compensate for the halt in Russian shipments.
“This issue of course brings problems that have to be talked about,” Habeck told a local newspaper, counting on the European Commission to talk about this matter with these countries.
Gas price cap
And demanded 15 European countries, including France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Poland, to set a ceiling on gas prices.
The European Commission is scheduled to present proposals in this regard before the meeting of European energy ministers on October 11-12.
Since the start of the military operation in Ukraine, Moscow has reduced gas supplies to Germany before stopping them in early September, and those imports represent 55 percent of the country’s supplies before the conflict.
Germany and France, like the whole “old continent”, resorted in particular to the United States, which increased liquefied natural gas exports to Europe from 28 percent to 45 percent between 2021 and 2022.
And US State Department spokesman Samuel Warburg previously told Sky News Arabia that Washington is “in direct contact” with its allies in the European Union, to ensure access to the necessary energy supplies, whether from the United States or other energy-exporting countries.
Warburg stressed that the United States became the largest LNG supplier to the European Union and the United Kingdom in 2021, and is on track to become the largest total LNG exporter this year.
Earlier this year, the United States and the European Union announced an agreement for additional supplies this year and a significant increase through 2030.
In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Cyril Widdershoven, the expert in the oil and gas sector and founder of the Netherlands-based investment management and financial advisory company, Ferose, said that with regard to Macron’s speech, the main issue is that this is not a realistic position taken by a European leader, But it is an internal statement that focuses on market conditions.
He added, “Macron’s approach will not work, because all the assumptions are wrong. The United States and Norway do not sell oil and gas directly to Europe, but through independent companies, so they are not under government control or management.”
Widdershofen stressed that “Macron’s talk that there is no international gas market at the present time is for internal public consumption between the European Union and France only. Logistics shape price levels.”
At the same time, part of the rise in gas prices is due to a completely wrong renewable strategy for years in the European Union, while the replacement of gas by other means is very restricted by (OPEC +), and it does not want to admit that this crisis was caused by the energy strategies of the European Union and American leaders In the past decade, there has been a lack of investment in this sector, according to an expert on oil and gas markets.
Is the US government interfering?
“If the US and Norway can impose a price cap on exports, why do they do it?” Widdershofen asked, adding that “the current market fundamentals are strong, money is needed, so politically it will not happen, and at the same time, most traders or The companies aren’t even in the US or Norway, so customers or dealers will buy a cargo of gas, put it on a ship to Europe, and then decide during the trip to ship it to a higher value market.”
“American policy will also not allow Washington to interfere in setting prices for private companies’ exports,” said Widdershoven, who pointed out that American and Norwegian companies are market players, so supply and demand issues determine prices.
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