Amsterdam — Gas companies are driving government policies that lock the US and Europe into hazardous new liquefied gas (LNG) commitments. Public investments into private operators, such as Fluxys in Belgium, show the scale of the US and Europe’s betrayal of global climate targets, while affecting the health of neighbouring communities living near production sites in the US.
These are among the key findings uncovered in a Greenpeace International investigation published today. These plans are the outcome of European gas operators being assigned both to advise and build new infrastructure. The organisation is calling for the immediate end of US and European development of gas contracts and infrastructures.
Anusha Narayanan, Greenpeace US global project lead to stop fossil fuel expansion, said: “The gas industry – producers and operators – have used the Russian/Ukraine war to spin US and European policy priorities away from climate goals with tales about energy security. US and European leaders should not be deceived. Citizens voted for transformative climate action. Governments must lead in the climate fight, not be puppeteered by gas operators who sacrifice the health and safety of communities simply to boost their profits.”
“Our investigation exposes the truth behind the corporate and political push for more fossil gas imports from the US to European countries: the bottom line is that fossil gas only profits the industry, it is dirty, toxic, not needed, and not wanted.”
In the report Who Profits From War – How Gas Corporations Capitalise from War in Ukraine, Greenpeace International has exposed the boom in US LNG imports to the EU in 2022. In this historical year the EU has become the biggest importer of LNG from the United States and energy companies across the EU and US are doubling down on LNG investments. By analysing the full story Greenpeace International shows how the short-term energy supply crisis has been answered by a long-term response in building-out new infrastructure that impacts the environment and local communities in the US and EU and negotiating abiding contracts.
If the EU LNG terminals under construction or proposed would start production, it would potentially result in a whopping 950 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year associated with these terminals. This is the equivalent to the annual emissions of 211 million cars. This would seriously jeopardise the energy transition needed to achieve agreed climate goals.
This new gas infrastructure would undermine US, EU, and global climate targets. UN Secretary-General Antonió Guterres recently stated both blocks need to achieve climate neutrality by 2040. This requires a rapid decline in fossil gas, which would reduce recently built and proposed gas infrastructure to stranded assets. A recent publication by the International Energy Agency (IEA), revealed that fossil gas demand in the European Union fell by 55 billion cubic metres in 2022, its steepest drop in history, reinforcing how pointless the expansion of ports would be in.
The report also highlights the substantial health and safety impacts this expansion has on communities. European countries have banned methods like fracking at home, yet encourage these methods in the US to satiate its energy demand. The extraction and transporting of toxic LNG in Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana has resulted in worsening air quality, contaminated water, respiratory diseases, birth issues, and elevated cancer rates in these communities, many of which are predominantly Black, Brown, Indigenous, and have low incomes.
John Beard, community advocate living next to the biggest US export terminal ‘Sabine Pass LNG’, a terminal under construction ‘Golden Pass LNG’, and the Port Arthur LNG project (all in a 10km radius) said: “These LNG projects will result in a massive increase of CO2 emissions. This would lead to disastrous consequences for the planet and for people. There is no such thing as ‘freedom’ gas. It comes with a cost. That cost is the lives and health of people in the Gulf South and deadly climate consequences worldwide.”
Greenpeace is calling on EU institutions, the US and national governments, to:
- make the gas reduction targets at EU and national level mandatory, implementing measures to protect vulnerable communities and increasing public investments in renewable energy, efficiency and renovation schemes;
- ban all new gas projects development and new gas drilling, with the goal to phase out fossil gas without delay by 2035 at the latest (EU target);
- phase out all new permanent LNG terminals and ban all new projects and extensions across all EU countries and the US;
- ban all long term gas contracts;
- stop approving new infrastructure projects and new shipments;
- eliminate fossil fuel subsidies;
- end the preferential treatment of the fossil fuel interest and address conflict of interest in climate and energy policies.
For detailed demands about the US and EU, check the Executive Summary in our report.
Notes to Editors:
 Between 2013 and 2020, Europe spent €4.5 billion on 44 new gas infrastructure projects, with 90 per cent of the money going to members of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), who has consistently overestimated future gas demand. See our report, box: “Gas operators leading the dance”.
 European consumers pay an exorbitant cost for US gas, both due to its high production and transfer costs, as well as its price volatility in global markets. Europeans also pay for this through subsidies, tax breaks, subsidised loans, bailouts, and publicly funded infrastructure awarded to fossil fuel companies. These senseless handouts enabled record earnings in the oil and gas industry – as confirmed by a new study by Prof. Aviel Verbruggen of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and former lead author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – almost tripling its profits last year, while everyday people were left with sky high energy bills. In peak season a single liquified gas shipment from the US to Europe could bring in US$200 million (€182.4 million) in profits.
 Since the eighth Energy Council between the United States and the EU Commission in 2018, LNG exports from the US into Europe and the UK increased by 1749%, and the import of US LNG into Europe surged in 2022, from 28.8 bcm in 2021 to 68.96 bcm in 2022, an increase of 140%. Europe’s gas demand has not been increasing however, and is expected to decrease. But even in a business as usual scenario where EU gas demand remains the same, the new developments are redundant. See our report, chapters “Europe becoming the first customer for US LNG” and “Unneeded lock-in”.
 Europe’s energy crisis: What factors drove the record fall in natural gas demand in 2022?, International Energy Agency (IEA), 14 March 2023
More information about the report Who Profits From War, including infographics, videos and interviews, and the Energy Justice Investigations project can be found at EnergyJustice.info
Luisa Colasimone, Communications Lead – Energy Justice Investigations, [email protected], WhatsApp/Signal +351 910 678 050 or mobile +32 479 100 067
Tal Harris, Global communications strategic lead – Not One More Drop, @talharris1, WhatsApp/Signal/Telegram: +221-785366270, Dakar, Senegal
Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)
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