The European Union is looking for solutions to replace gas

photo: Twitter / Matthew Baldwin

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The European Union is looking to secure additional gas supplies from Nigeria as the bloc prepares for possible supply cuts from Russia, Matthew Baldwin, deputy director general of the European Commission’s energy department, said on Saturday.

According to SpotMedia, Baldwin held meetings with officials from Africa’s largest oil producer this week.

He was informed that Nigeria is improving its security in the Niger Delta and plans to reopen the Trans Niger pipeline after August, which would bring more gas exports to Europe.

The EU imports 14 percent of Nigeria’s total liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies and there is potential to double that figure, Baldwin told Reuters by phone.

Nigeria’s oil and natural gas production is constrained by pipeline theft and vandalism, leaving gas producer Nigeria LNG’s terminal operating at 60% capacity.

“If we can get above 80%, at that point, there could be additional LNG that could be available for spot cargoes coming into Europe,” Baldwin said.

“They, the Nigerian officials, said to us: Come and talk again at the end of August, because we think we can make real progress on this,” he added.

Nigeria LNG is owned by state oil company NNPC Ltd, Shell, TotalEnergies and Eni.

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that EU member states should reduce their gas consumption by 15% from August to March. The objective would initially be voluntary, but would become mandatory if the Commission declared an emergency.

Last year, Nigeria exported 23 billion cubic meters of gas to the EU, but the figure has declined over the years. In 2018, the EU bloc bought 36 billion cubic meters of LNG from Nigeria, Baldwin said.