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German industry slams Trump over efforts to influence EU energy policy

German industry slams Trump over efforts to influence EU energy policy
The European Union and companies within the bloc have the right to decide on energy policy independently of “third parties,” according to Dieter Kempf, head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

“I have a big problem when a third state interferes in our energy supply,” Kempf told the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung.

The comment follows Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of Germany for its alleged dependency on natural gas from Russia. The US president has accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia.

He has urged Germany to halt work on the $11-billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will be built in the Baltic Sea and will double the existing pipeline’s annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. In an attempt to force-feed American liquefied natural gas (LNG) to German consumers, Washington threatened to sanction European companies for funding the Russia-led gas pipeline project.

It must be up to a nation or company to decide “whether there should be the second source,” The BDI president said, stressing that establishing a link between dropping the project and buying US liquefied gas instead was unacceptable.

“German industry needs Nord Stream 2 to enhance energy supply safety,” Kempf said, adding that LNG from the US was not competitive on the German market right now and would cost too much.

According to Kempf, Germany is open to diversifying its energy sources, but purchases “would ultimately be determined on economic grounds.”

Earlier this month, Deputy US Energy Secretary Dan Brouilette announced ambitious plans to start delivering LNG to Germany in four years at the latest, challenging Russia’s Gazprom, which currently accounts for 60 percent of German gas imports.

Analysts believe that American LNG is unlikely to become preferable for German consumers due to the extra cost of transporting the liquefied fuel from the US.

“German leaders are unlikely to bow to the US pressure for increased intake of US shale gas LNG and reduced dependence on Gazprom,” Mehmet Ogutcu, chairman of the Bosphorus Energy Group, told RT. “Clearly, Gazprom is the only reliable supplier of gas with prices and supply security to compete with US LNG. The US prospects to execute the Trump’s plans are not easy to realize.”

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