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Trump Claims EU Will Spend Its Money to Build Ports for LNG Imports from US

© AP Photo / Koji Sasahara, FileLNG tanker. File photo
LNG tanker. File photo - Sputnik International
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s visit to the White House on Monday followed that of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who agreed to work with President Donald Trump on “zero tariffs” between the US and the EU amid the ongoing transatlantic trade rift.

Beyond Italy’s immigration policies and the US-EU trade row, Donald Trump and Giuseppe Conte were asked to elaborate on the development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline during their joint press conference at the White House.

READ MORE: Trump's Wishful Thinking: Why EU is Unlikely to Become 'Massive Buyer of US LNG'

President Trump stressed that he’d “like to see a competing pipeline,” claiming that the 28-member block would pay for a dozen ports to import US liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“So, Mr. Prime Minister, I hope you’re going to be able to do that competing pipeline.  And we are already talking to the European Union about building anywhere from 9 to 11 ports, which they will pay for, so that we can ship our LNG over to various parts of Europe.  And that will be more competition,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Conte emphasized that he had discussed the issue with Trump, and his government was “fully aware of the fact that this is strategic work in terms of energy supply to Italy and to the south of Europe and the Mediterranean area.”

At the same time, he pointed out to some “uncertainties” by local communities “where the pipeline will land,” and stressed that once back to Italy, he would raise the issue with the “competent ministers” and will meet the local authorities to find an appropriate solution “which will take into account the concerns of local communities.”

READ MORE: Juncker at Talks With Trump: EU, US Are 'Close Partners, Not Enemies'

After a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week, Trump tweeted that the European Union would buy “vast amounts” of US LNG, while Juncker said that the bloc would build more terminals to handle American LNG.

The 870-km long natural gas Trans Adriatic Pipeline is expected to link Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field with Italy, starting from Greece through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and beyond. The ambitious project has been deemed a chance to reduce dependence on gas supplies from Russia.

READ MORE: Majority of Germans Back Nord Stream 2, Distrust US Criticism of Project — Poll

According to the International Energy Agency, LNG imports to Europe are poised to rise almost 20 percent by 2040 from 2016 levels.

US “Will Have to Be Competing” With Nord Stream 2

Trump has been increasingly critical about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a joint project of Russia’s Gazprom with France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, Royal Dutch Shell and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, which has a goal of delivering 55 cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually to the EU through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

READ MORE: EU Wants to Boost LNG Imports From US in Exchange of Lifting US Aluminum Tariffs

During the joint presser in Helsinki with President Vladimir Putin, Trump told reporters that the United States would “have to be competing with the pipeline.”

“We are going to be selling LNG and will have to be competing with the pipeline and I think we’ll compete successfully, although there is a little advantage locationally. I’m not sure necessarily that it’s in the best interest of Germany or not but that was the decision that they made,” he said.

Pipes are loaded onto a vessel in the northern German port of Mukran for transshipment to a storage yard - Sputnik International
Nord Stream 2 Not Viable, US Gas to Be Major Player in Europe - US Energy Sec.
Washington has repeatedly warned its European allies against joining the project, having signed a law giving him the right to slap sanctions on energy companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 last year.

Earlier this month Trump slammed what he called German dependence on Russian energy sources, saying it made the country “captive” to Moscow.

Moscow, in turn, has urged EU partners not to view the pipeline as an instrument of influence, with the Kremlin saying that Trump’s remarks were economically motivated and an attempt to promote US LNG in Europe.

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