After oil import reduction from Russia, EU will continue to struggle with the search for alternative oil import. With German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s first journey to Africa to pursue energy cooperation, Europe has taken the first step toward reducing its dependency on Russian natural gas. Experts say the European Union won’t be able to limit Russian gas import within the near future since establishing a complicated and capital-intensive sector in Africa might take years.
According to a Reuters story on Monday, Germany has begun negotiations with Senegalese officials about gas extraction and liquefied natural gas (LNG). It quoted a German official saying that Germany may assist in the exploration of a gas field in Senegal for EU oil import.
According to the source, Senegalese President Macky Sall stated that his country is prepared to work toward selling LNG to the European market, with output expected to reach 2.5 million tons in 2023 and 10 million tons by 2030.
“While exploring gas cooperation with Africa may provide European nations in the long run, distant water cannot soothe current hunger,” Jin Lei, an associate professor at China University of Petroleum, told the Global Times on Tuesday (24/05/2022).
Only a few nations in North Africa have developed gas pipes to South Europe, compared to huge gas pipelines linking Russia and European countries, Jin added, despite the region’s dire need for a new energy supply mix.
While building such a massive amount of infrastructure might take years, cross-regional transit costs and technical problems are major concerns. As a result, experts say there are only a few regional marketplaces with geographical distribution of resources, such as one involving Russia, Central Asian countries, and the EU.
In 2021, the EU oil import is more than 40% of its total from Russia. According to the EU Commission, energy accounted for 62 percent of EU imports from Russia and cost 99 billion euros ($105 billion).
Following the war between Russia and Ukraine, the EU has set a target of reducing its dependency on Russian natural gas by two-thirds by 2022.
According to a second Reuters article, Germany, and Italy rely heavily on Russian gas imports. Recently advised firms suggest that they could create ruble accounts to continue buying Russian gas without violating EU sanctions actions with the EU. Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland have had their gas supply turned off because they refused to comply with Russia’s demand that importers pay for gas using ruble accounts.
In short, the EU would still struggle in finding a new gas resource in a long run since almost half of EU nations still rely on Russian oil imports. Furthermore, establishing oil infrastructure in Africa appears to be difficult and time-consuming, so the EU cannot anticipate African oil imports to become a major alternative anytime soon.
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