Representatives of the US government have begun discussions with Qatari officials with a view to supplying Europe with liquid natural gas from the Middle Eastern country should tensions between Russia and Ukraine lead to a gas shortage, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden would also like to invite the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, to the White House by the end of the month, according to Belga news agency.
Many fear in Europe that new sanctions against Moscow might lead President Vladimir Putin to further reduce gas supplies to Europe, which normally obtains 40% of its gas from Russia.
Qatar, a major LNG producer, sells about three-quarters of its production in Asia, mainly Japan and South Korea. For now, Qatari LNG represents a mere 5% of European gas imports.
By seeking an alternative source of gas for Europe, the United States wishes to reassure its allies on the possible consequences of new sanctions against Russia, which Washington would like Europe to agree on, Belga reports.