Press: White House rules out ban on natural gas exports this winter

Press: White House rules out ban on natural gas exports this winter
# 04 October 2022 16:42 (UTC +04:00)

The White House has ruled out any ban or curbs on natural-gas exports this winter in a bid to help alleviate energy shortages in Europe, according to two people directly involved in the discussions, APA reports citing Reuters,

In March, U.S. President Joe Biden committed to delivering 15 billion cubic meters (bcm) more of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has already surpassed that goal.

Further White House analysis has only cemented support for ongoing exports, the sources said, although rising energy costs and a colder-than-expected winter could test Biden's commitment. A ban has not been seriously considered, said a U.S. official.

Biden and his aides are bracing for the prospect that inflation-fatigued Americans will pay high home-heating bills this winter. Inventories of natural gas, the nation's primary heating fuel, are at historically low levels after U.S. companies exported record amounts to Europe in recent months to counter a cut in supplies and higher prices for European power plants.

White House officials, stung by spikes in inflation to four-decade highs above 8%, explored the market impact of limiting energy exports to ease consumer prices and lift domestic inventories, the sources said.

But that analysis only cemented a consensus that such a move would be too extreme and fracture key relationships with allies in Europe.

The issue has taken on new significance in recent weeks as the White House has threatened petroleum refiners they could stop them from exporting fuels like gasoline and diesel unless domestic inventories rise.

"President Biden committed in March, and we have been moving out on it. We surpassed the LNG export goal President Biden set," said a senior administration official, who pointed to 30 bcm in U.S. LNG exports to the EU since early March, double the same period last year.

"And because of the steps we and our partners have been taking, gas storage in Europe is at a significantly higher level than last year. More work remains," the official said.