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.
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.”
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.
European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately. Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 26 июля 2018 г.
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.
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.
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.
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.