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Uniper says Europe needs to find new gas sources, fend off US

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — European gas suppliers will have to take a more proactive role in tapping into diverse supply sources in view of United States attempts to push its LNG into Europe, the CEO of German utility Uniper said on Tuesday.

Uniper is one of five western firms that have invested in Nord Stream 2, a Russian gas export pipeline to Europe, which latest US sanctions related to Russia's activities in Crimea will make harder to realise.

"The core reason (for the sanctions) are strategic economic interests, meaning the targeted dominance of the US in energy markets," Klaus Schaefer said in a speech prepared for a call with reporters on first-half earnings.

He said that European buyers needed to compete with those in Asia for LNG if they wanted to secure supply from the world market, where US cargoes were some 50% more expensive compared with European references prices.

"Nobody wants to pay such a premium," he said.

He also said that European gas suppliers may look at new ways to produce synthetic gas from surplus renewable power.

Uniper is among companies experimenting with so-called wind gas, which could find its way into gas distribution networks via electrolysis and help make up for future natural gas shortfalls.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Christoph Steitz

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Editorial comment
-Adrienne Blume
The ongoing development of shale gas resources in the US has spurred infrastructure construction for both natural gas processing capacity and LNG export terminals.
Regional focus
-Eugene Gerden
Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom is strengthening its presence in the gas market of the Middle East through the planned construction of an 11-metric-MMtpy–12-metric-MMtpy LNG plant in Iran.


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