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White House calling liquid natural gas suppliers for help in case Russia cuts off Europe

The White House revealed this week that it has reached out to suppliers of liquid natural gas both foreign and domestic seeking ways to redirect shipments of LNG to Europe in the instance that Russia cuts off the critical energy source to Europe.

But critics say such a scramble would not be necessary if the Biden administration had better energy policies.

Russia supplies roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas, and concerns are growing that Moscow might use that as leverage if conflict escalates with NATO allies over Russia's ongoing aggression toward Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks as he attends the G20 summit via video conference in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (Evgeniy Paulin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP / AP Newsroom)

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The White House noted that they do think it is unlikely that Putin would cut off supplies to Europe entirely, given that it would hurt Russia economically. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the idea Moscow would shut off energy exports was "yet another brilliant example of fake hysteria," The Wall Street Journal reported.

A Biden administration official said during a press call on Tuesday that Russia has already cut the supplies it sends to Europe through Ukraine by half, and that officials are working to ensure Europe has enough energy sources through the winter and spring in case Russia cuts further from other routes.

LNG

The CMA CGM SA Jacques Saade liquid natural gas (LNG) powered container ship docked with cargo at the Port of Le Havre in Le Havre, France, on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Photographer: Nathan Laine / Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Those efforts include "engaging with major buyers and suppliers of LNG to ensure flexibility in their existing contracts and storage - and how they manage their storage to enable diversion to Europe if necessary," the White House official said.

Politico's Ben Lefebvre reported that Biden officials called the CEOs of US LNG companies on Tuesday "to come up with possible plans to get gas to Europe if Russia cuts off supply."

Now, some Republicans and energy industry leaders are hitting out at the White House saying it is an insult for the Biden administration to call on domestic energy producers for help after demonizing the industry since taking office.

August Pfluger

Representative August Pfluger, (R-TX), speaks during a hearing March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ting Shen-Pool / Getty Images / Getty Images)

"President Biden and the political Left have done nothing but villainize and cripple American energy producers with harmful regulations and restrictions in the name of their sacred climate religion, all while giving Putin more control of Europe's energy by way of the Nord Stream II pipeline," Texas GOP Rep. August Pfluger told FOX Business. "Now, the Biden Administration is finally being forced to recognize the critical importance of American oil and gas producers."

Pfluger added, "Affordable, reliable energy is the key to a prosperous and safe society, and US production should be unleashed to strengthen our own security interests and provide support and American fuel to our allies abroad."

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Jason Modglin, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, told FOX Business in reaction to news of efforts to supply Europe, "We hope the President's new embrace of American oil and gas is in time to spare our allies from a Russian gas hostage" "But more importantly, he can take steps today to expand American LNG exports by approving permits to build terminals, pipelines and expand global market opportunities to allow American producers to compete with Russia."

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