U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe sent a letter to President Obama highlighting the steps Lithuania is taking to free themselves of energy dependency on Russia and to support regional stability.
Inhofe sent the letter after attending the inauguration of Lithuania’s first liquefied natural gas import facility in Klaipeda. During his time in the country, he also met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius of Lithuania, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma of Latvia, and Prime Minister Taavi Roivas of Estonia.
Inhofe wrote, “The inauguration of Lithuania’s first liquefied natural gas import facility marks an important step in our European allies’ efforts to free themselves from the grip and influence of Russia, which manipulates natural resources markets to advance its foreign policy agenda. Energy assets have always been seen as strategic from a geopolitical perspective, and Russia has long been among the most aggressive at exercising this power.”
Inhofe further said that the strong arm of Russia’s energy exports enables the nation to act as a bully to many of the U.S. strongest allies, and it is threatening energy embargoes if political steps are taken that President Putin does not like. Fortunately, the region is bolstering its energy infrastructure with additional LNG import terminals and pipeline capacity, which are lessening Russia’s grip.
Inhofe believes that, with that in mind, U.S. should embrace the responsibility to supply European demand with American natural gas. He applauded the steps Obama’s Administration has taken to approve permits for facilities to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have Free Trade Agreements. He also believes it is imperative that the Administration continues building on this success.
Inhofe has long advocated for the export of domestic LNG, and in July 2013 led a bipartisan letter with 33 of his colleagues, urging the U.S. Department of Energy to expedite its consideration of LNG export permit applications.
Inhofe concluded, “Global demand for LNG is expanding, and the more LNG the United States makes available, the more quickly we will be able to turn the tables on President Putin and ensure the energy security of our friends and allies around the world.”
Press Release; Image: inhofe.senate.gov