Given this history, potential restrictions on gas supplies from the United States would be “a huge concern,” said Fredrik Persson, the president of BusinessEurope, the continent’s largest business group.
Over the last two years, an enormous surge in liquefied gas exports from the United States helped Europe largely replace flows of natural gas from Russia, which had been Europe’s mainstay supplier of the fuel. According to Kpler, a research firm, U.S. gas exports to Europe more than doubled from 2021 to 2022, to about 52 million metric tons, and then increased modestly in 2023. These shipments have “been key in stopping Russia from forcing Europe down on its knees with using energy as a geopolitical weapon,” Mr. Persson said.
The United States’ exports of liquefied natural gas have grown from almost scratch in recent years. It is now the world’s largest L.N.G. exporter, with more than 60 percent going to Europe last year. After the invasion of Ukraine, European countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Greece scrambled to build new L.N.G. terminals and lock up supply deals with the United States. Doubts regarding the “stability” of liquefied gas supplies from the United States could put such plans at risk, “raising concerns of potential further price volatility” Didier Holleaux, president of Eurogas, an industry group, said in a statement.
Germany’s economy ministry said Friday that it was monitoring the situation in the United States “closely,” but declined to comment further. The security of the gas supply remains stable, the ministry said through a spokeswoman, adding that Germany now receives the majority of its natural gas from Norway.
To be clear, in making this move, the Biden administration seems unlikely to jeopardize supplies to customers outside of the United States this year or anytime soon. The decision does not apply to current exports and, analysts say, it will not stop a group of new L.N.G. projects that have already been approved and are under construction. These are likely to substantially boost the capacity of the United States to export gas in the coming years.