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U.S., Britain partner up to break Russia's hold on energy

Western allies are coordinating to sideline Russian from the global energy sector.

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President Joe Biden commits to more LNG exports and other measures in a bilateral deal with his British counterpart that's meant to reduce Russia's influence on the global energy stage. Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI
President Joe Biden commits to more LNG exports and other measures in a bilateral deal with his British counterpart that's meant to reduce Russia's influence on the global energy stage. Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- With help from liquefied natural gas and nuclear power, a partnership on energy will go a long way toward diminishing Russia's influence on the global stage, the U.S. and British governments announced Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled the U.K.-U.S.Energy Security and Affordability Partnership that's designed to reduce the global dependence on Russian energy exports.

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"We have the natural resources, industry and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition," Sunak said. "This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe's dependence on Russian energy once and for all."

The sidelining of Russian natural gas as punishment for the February invasion of Ukraine has been more of a concern for members of the European Union as the British economy relies on domestic natural gas and imports from Norway to keep the lights on.

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Regional gas supplies -- including those in Britain -- are adequate, suggesting early-year concerns of major supply-side problems won't materialize. Nevertheless, the U.S. government committed to doubling exports of LNG to British regasification terminals from 2021 levels of around 300 billion cubic feet (Bcf/d) over the next year.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that, before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February, the EU relied on Russia for 40% of its natural gas supplies.

Sunak's office added that both sides would work on everything from hydrogen developments to civilian nuclear power and energy efficiency as part of their efforts to reduce the Kremlin's influence over global affairs.

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"Together the U.K. and U.S. will ensure the global price of energy and the security of our national supply can never again be manipulated by the whims of a failing regime," the prime minister said.

Both sides were part of a broader effort to limit Russian exports by placing a cap on the price that its oil sells for and limiting the amount of crude oil it can put on the water. Russian natural gas has diminished, meanwhile, in the European economy with the closure of the Nord Stream gas pipeline network through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

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