Obama tells EU to do more to cut reliance on Russian gas.

Reuters: “U.S. President Barack Obama told the European Union on Wednesday it cannot rely on the United States alone to reduce its dependency on Russian energy, as relations with Moscow chill over its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.”
“Speaking on a visit to Brussels to discuss trade relations and the Ukraine crisis, Obama said concluding a new transatlantic trade pact, now under negotiation, would make it easier for Washington to license more gas exports.
The EU relies on Russia for about a third of its oil and gas, and tensions with Moscow have heightened concerns among its 28 members about the security of their energy supplies. Some 40 percent of that gas is shipped through Ukraine.
“They have already stepped up efforts to reduce reliance on Russia but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported asking Obama to relax restrictions on exports of U.S. gas.”Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licences for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama told a news conference after meeting EU leaders, adding that it could not happen overnight.
During a 65-minute lunch, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pressed Obama to step up U.S. gas exports, but he responded bluntly in telling the Europeans they needed to take politically difficult steps to develop their own resources.
EU ambassador to Washington Jose Vale de Almeida quoted Obama as telling them: “You cannot just rely on other people’s energy, even if it has some costs, some downside,” in a clear reference to opposition in parts of the EU on environmental grounds to nuclear powerand the extraction of shale gas.
The issue will also be discussed next week at a special meeting of EU and U.S. energy ministers, officials said.
The United States is well on its way to becoming self-sufficient in energy and reducing its industrial production costs because it has allowed large scale use of controversial fracking techniques to tap shale gas.
France and Bulgaria ban fracking and other EU countries such as Britain and Poland face protests.”