On 3 November 2022, the EU-US Task Force on Energy Security met in Washington to discuss implementation of the 25 March Joint Statement by Presidents von der Leyen and Biden, which aims to help diversify the EU’s natural gas supplies and reduce natural gas demand and consumption. The Task Force builds on long-standing cooperation under the EU-US Energy Council, including to advance the clean energy transition. The meeting was co-chaired by Björn Seibert, Head of Cabinet of the European Commission President, and Amos Hochstein, US Special Presidential Coordinator, and under the leadership of Ditte Juul Jørgensen, European Commission Director General for Energy, and Stephanie Epner, Special Advisor and Acting Senior Director for Climate and Energy at the White House National Security Council.
The meeting of the Task Force took stock of joint work to date, including multiple meetings with EU Member States and EU and US industry representatives to discuss and compare policy approaches, as well as best practices with respect to energy savings, deployment of clean energy technologies, and decoupling from Russian energy in 2022 and beyond.
Also, as the world gathers for COP27 this week, we reaffirmed our commitment to an accelerated and responsible clean energy transition, which is both key to achieving our shared climate goals and the best way to ensure long-term energy security around the world.
We condemned Russia’s unprovoked aggression on Ukraine and Russia’s repeated attacks on civilian energy and electricity infrastructure, and the risks to humanitarian conditions caused by these attacks. The EU and United States will continue to partner on providing emergency energy assistance to Ukraine, and support to other heavily affected countries in the region, such as Moldova, which face acute impacts from Russia’s actions to employ energy as a weapon.
Russia’s war against Ukraine and its weaponization of energy resources pose significant challenges to European and global energy security. Russia has acutely disrupted global energy markets leading to sharp increases in prices and threatening food security, with disproportionate consequences for the developing world and the most vulnerable populations. Russia has taken unilateral decisions to disrupt natural gas supplies to several European countries and attack critical infrastructure in disregard of the international legal order pertaining to safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy technologies. The EU’s resolve to diversify its natural gas supplies and reduce overall natural gas use, as stated in the REPowerEU Plan, is unequivocal. Close partnership between the EU and the United States on energy matters offers opportunities for both sides to accelerate the clean energy transition and, also curtails Russia’s energy revenues, which are used to fund the unprovoked and unjustified war.
The participants welcomed surpassing the commitment made in the Joint Statement by Presidents von der Leyen and Biden, to increase LNG supplies to Europe by 15 bcm in 2022 as compared to 2021. This year alone, between January through October, approximately 48 bcm of LNG was exported from the US to the EU, which is 26 bcm more than for the full year of 2021. Building on this trend, the participants committed to work on keeping a high level of LNG supplies to Europe in 2023 of an additional approximately 50 bcm as compared to 2021. The parties also discussed how the Task Force will contribute to ensuring security of supply and storage filling in 2023 at prices reflecting economic fundamentals and our shared push for energy market stability. This effort will be further supported with the establishment of the EU Energy Platform as an instrument for demand aggregation and joint purchase of gas.
Both sides underscored that Russia’s weaponization of energy reinforces the need to accelerate the energy transition and implement more ambitious policies to reduce dependence on gas and other fossil fuels. The participants welcomed the EU’s ongoing efforts to reduce natural gas demand by 15% and considered current and potential new energy efficiency measures to ensure the EU’s energy security throughout the winter 2022/23. Earlier this fall, the Task Force also initiated a dialogue among the EU, the US Government, EU Member States, industry, NGOs and private sector representatives to share the key elements for successful consumer campaigns as well as actionable policy recommendations to smooth energy demand peaks, reduce natural gas and electricity usage, improve energy efficiency of people’s homes and lower consumer bills as well as government expenditures. During today’s meeting, the participants committed to pursue a series of targeted sub-dialogues to explore deeper cooperation on offering incentives for utilities and consumers to implement energy efficiency solutions for reducing electricity and gas use without sacrificing comfort, shifting demand from peak to off-peak hours, and targeted digital solutions to help save consumers money on their bills.
Mindful of the environmental impact of LNG production and consumption, the EU and the United States commit to step up their efforts to reduce methane emissions both in bilateral trade and at the global level, by supporting domestic and international measures for reinforced monitoring, reporting and verification, as well as transparency, for methane emissions data in the fossil energy sector. In this spirit, the EU has proposed new legislation to reduce methane emissions across the oil, gas and coal sectors, setting clear monitoring, reporting and verification requirements, as well as strict mitigation measures and global monitoring and information tools to ensure transparency of methane emissions reduction. Both sides take note of the US Inflation Reduction Act’s Methane Emissions Reduction Program, which will invest $1.55 billion to reduce methane emissions and implement a methane waste fee on major emitting facilities, as well as the ongoing rulemaking process to sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollution from both new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas sectors via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Building on this progress, the EU-US LNG trade should aim to achieve significant reductions in flaring, venting, and leakage of methane across the oil and gas value chains to the fullest extent practicable. Both sides also plan to pursue initiatives to reduce flaring, venting, and leakage in oil and gas value chains, including through innovative purchasing frameworks to incentivize the capture of this gas to bring to market, such as the EU’s proposed “you collect, we buy” approach. These methane reduction efforts should be aligned with internationally accepted standards to improve the accuracy and transparency of fossil energy methane emissions data, such as the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP2.0). We also commit to continue to lead global efforts to reduce methane emissions worldwide under the Global Methane Pledge and the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway, which will substantially advance and accelerate global climate action.