Poland welcomed a nearly 300-meter vessel into a port on the Baltic Sea on June 7, ushering in a new era of energy for Europe.
The tanker Clean Ocean delivered a supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, the first such shipment to Central Europe.
“Days like this go down in history,” said Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło in an interview with the Associated Press.
Natural gas fuels power plants and heats homes. Traditionally, producers transport natural gas through pipelines. Countries such as Poland required a physical connection to gas producers. But today, technology allows natural gas to come from anywhere in the world — in liquid form. Natural gas can be compressed into liquid and safely transported via specialized tanker ships.
Poland’s new liquefied natural gas terminal allows competition — enabling a diverse supply that makes natural gas from the United States and other countries cheap and reliable.
In Europe, many countries depend on a single supplier for natural gas. When the gas supply gives out due to shortages or spikes in price, people lose out. Economies can’t thrive, and families can’t afford to heat their homes.
Mary Warlick, the State Department’s acting special envoy for energy resources, said in a June 1 briefing that Lithuania has already seen the benefits of increasing competition. With a new terminal able to import liquefied natural gas, the country’s Russian supplier dropped prices by 25 percent. This cut Lithuania’s energy costs and increased the country’s energy security.
“I want to be clear, however, that we agree that Russian gas can and should remain a part of the diversified energy mix for Europe,” Warlick said.
With energy security a top priority in Europe, liquefied natural gas lays the foundation for affordability, stability and future prosperity.
“Today Poland can say that it is a safe and sovereign country, also because we have such wonderful investments” in natural gas infrastructure, Szydło said.
The Trump administration has pledged to increase LNG exports and to make America one of the world’s premier energy exporters.
The State Department said that LNG exports “support American jobs, lower energy prices for our partners abroad and contribute to Europe’s energy security goals using a reliable, market based supplier.”