US President Donald Trump claimed that the EU would build 9 to 11 Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals for imports from the US during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

On July 30, Conte visited the White House, following a visit by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. During their joint press conference, the Italian Prime Minister and the US President spoke about Italy’s immigration policy, for which Trump had nothing but praise, the US-EU trade relationship. In addition to that, the leaders were asked to provide details on the development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.

Trump’s response was that he is interested in seeing “a competing pipeline”, claiming that the European Union would pay for a dozen ports to import US LNG. His words were: “So, Mr. Prime Minister, I hope you’re going to be able to do that competing pipeline.  And we are already talking to the European Union about building anywhere from 9 to 11 ports, which they will pay for, so that we can ship our LNG over to various parts of Europe.  And that will be more competition.”

Conte emphasized that he discussed the issue with Trump and his administration was “fully aware of the fact that this is strategic work in terms of energy supply to Italy and to the south of Europe and the Mediterranean area.” However, he pointed out to “uncertainties” of local communities in areas “where the pipeline will land.” He also undertook that after returning to Italy, he would raise the question with the “competent ministers” and will meet local authorities to come to an adequate conclusion “which will take into account the concerns of local communities.”

The 870-km long natural gas Trans Adriatic Pipeline is expected to link Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field with Italy, starting from Greece through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and beyond. The ambitious project has been deemed a chance to reduce dependence on gas supplies from Russia. It is Trump’s ambition that it will compete with Nord Stream 2, a project which Trump has numerous times spoken against. It also has to compete with TurkStream, which will bring gas from Russia to Turkey and then Central Europe, circumventing Ukraine. And finally, with Shah Deniz 2, which just started transporting gas from the Caspian to Turkey, will be extended into Greece, Albania and Italy.

After the meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and President Donald Trump in the White House, on July 25th, the US President tweet that the EU would buy “vast amounts” of US LNG. Juncker, in turn, said that the bloc would build more terminals to handle the import.

Sputnik News referred to International Energy Agency that LNG imports to Europe are poised to almost 20% by 2040 from the 2016 levels. That is great news for European consumers since there is a lot of competition between LNG producers, as reported by the Washington Post. Qatar and Australia are the biggest exporters and they will rival the US even after the new US expert facilities come online. LNG also faces strong competition from Russia, where production costs are very low. Russia also has the added benefit that the cost of shipping gas by a pipeline is much lower than the cost of liquefying natural gas, sending it by a special tanker and turning it back into gas form.

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