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    An engineer checks the gas distribution system in Beregdaroc, one of several points where Russian gas crosses into the European Union February 10, 2015

    Russian Gas Remains Europe's Best Option – Former US Energy Secretary

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    Former US Assistant Secretary of Energy Chuck McConnell said that it's big mistake when people use energy policy to advance their politics.

    HOUSTON (Sputnik) – Russian gas remains the fastest and most cost-effective supply for Europe, former US Assistant Secretary of Energy Chuck McConnell told Sputnik.

    “Clearly, right now the most expeditious and cost effective supply is from Russia. That’s why they are using it. It’s not because of anything other than supply, demand, and affordability,” McConnell, who currently heads Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, said.

    He stressed that for a long time, Europe has been dependent on international suppliers, with gas flowing from various areas, including Africa.

    The conflict in Ukraine has led Europe to reconsider its energy dependency on Russia, and the European Commission discussed the issue at a summit in June 2014.

    “At this point of time Russian gas continues to flow. I think it’s a big mistake when people start taking politically charged conversations, and try to use energy policy to advance their politics. That’s dangerous. It’s also not sustainable,” McConnell said.

    The former official noted that even if the United States were capable of satisfying Europe’s demand for gas, it would not happen in the short term. Ramping up the necessary infrastructure would require a tremendous amount of money, effort and energy both in the United States and in Europe.

    McConnell also urged the politicians from all sides to refrain from using energy issues as a pretext for advocating politics.

    “My encouragement to politicians in Europe and in Russia would be: don’t use energy policy and supplying commodities as a platform to exercise your politics. The worst thing for both Russia and Europe to [do is to] start making arbitrary decisions that are expensive and not sustainable,” McConnell concluded.

    The United States has repeatedly expressed concern over Europe’s, and particularly Ukraine’s dependence on Russian energy supplies, calling to diversify energy sources. Russia accounts for about 30 percent of the European Union’s oil and gas imports.

    In March, US Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Janice Schneider told Sputnik that the United States will increase supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on global markets to help its European partners gain greater energy independence, including from Russia.

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