November 30, 2018 / 8:32 AM / 12 days ago

U.S. says allowing Russia's Yamal LNG transfers in Norway waters undercuts Europe energy diversification

OSLO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Allowing ship-to-ship transfers in Norwegian waters from Yamal in Arctic Russia, one of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, undercuts Europe’s energy diversification efforts, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

By transferring LNG to more conventional tankers in Norway, the Arctic vessels cut in half the distance they would cover to deliver gas to Europe, enabling more frequent shipments from the Novatek terminal and increasing Russia’s gas exports.

Last week, the first such transfer took place off the Norwegian Arctic port of Honningsvag.

Asked what the U.S. position was on the activity taking place in Norwegian waters, the U.S. State Department told Reuters: “At a time when Russian gas comprises a growing proportion of Europe’s energy imports, additional volumes of Russian gas will undercut Europe’s energy diversification efforts.

“We are working closely with our European partners to increase their energy security by promoting diversification of energy fuel types, energy routes, and energy source countries,” the department added.

The United States has been pressing Europe to cut its reliance on cheap Russian gas and buy much more expensive U.S. LNG instead, which many European countries, including industrial heavyweight Germany, have so far resisted.

Norway is Europe’s second-largest supplier of gas after Russia. (Editing by Gwladys Fouche Editing by David Holmes)

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