Trump faces stiff challenge in Merkel, Putin showdowns

Trump faces stiff challenge in Merkel, Putin showdowns”

The United States recently began shipping liquified gas exports to Poland for the first time, and Trump will tell allies in Poland that he wants to make it as easy as possible for USA companies to ship more gas to central and eastern Europe, the White House officials said.

This is where Trump's plan kicks in: exports from the United States would help reduce their dependence on Russian Federation. According to Reuters, Trump "will use fast-growing supplies of us natural gas as a political tool when he meets in Warsaw on Thursday with leaders of a dozen countries that are captive to Russian Federation for their energy needs".

Among the aims of the Three Seas project is to expand regional energy infrastructure, including liquified gas import terminals and gas pipelines.

After decades of consuming almost all of the energy it produced, the United States is now expected to become the world's third-largest exporter of gas by 2020.

President Donald Trump returns to Europe this week.

Despite campaign rhetoric that questioned the US financial commitment to the alliance, Trump shocked leaders during a May speech when he admonished many of them for not spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.

"As the president has made clear, he'd like the United States and the entire West to develop a more constructive relationship with Russian Federation", said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, in a briefing last week.

McMaster, who said there was no set agenda for the meeting, suggested Trump was open to taking steps that would allow for a better relationship between Washington and Moscow.

Republicans, many of whom stand for a tough stance towards Russian Federation, support the use of gas exports as a political tool. But those concerns didn't prevent Trump from scheduling a stop in the country, where he's expected to praise Poland's success in meeting its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense spending pledge and tout new exports of United States liquid natural gas in a bid to wean the country from Russian-produced energy.

Cheniere Energy Inc, which opened the first US gas export terminal a year ago, delivered its first cargo to Poland last month. Last week, White House officials were angered when a video feed of U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaking to a Berlin economic conference about the trade dispute cut off mid-speech. Five more terminals are expected to be online by 2020. "We would like to be a supplier that competes for that market", Tellurian Chief Executive Meg Gentle told Reuters.

Some analysts are doubtful about USA ambitions to supply the European market, however, as a glut of gas in world markets has been depressing prices and making it diffult to turn a profit exporting liquified gas.

"The big question is whether he will fix some of the damage from the stops in Europe in May, or will they be compounded?" said Jeff Rathke, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Russian Federation has the advantage in Europe due to its proximity and pipeline connections, however it is only a matter of time before technological advances make U.S. LNG production price competitive: just ask OPEC.

"Europe is going to be the great competitive arena between Russian gas and [liquified natural gas]", Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian, told Reuters.

Europe also expects that Trump will clarify Washington's position on Nord Stream-2, a gas pipeline that is planned to be built across the Baltic Sea to Germany.

They also discussed scheduling a new meeting between Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, which Moscow cancelled in June in anger at expanded United States sanctions on Russia. This prompted a furious response from close European allies such as Germany, France and Austria.

"They're betting that this relationship with the United States on defense will balance their concerns about the possible directions of U.S. -Russia policy", said Jeff Rathke, a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The goal, according to European diplomats, is to keep Trump isolated on the climate issue in the hopes he will come in line with the rest of the world's leaders.

Leaders in Europe hope Trump will offer assurances that he'll hold Putin to account for the long list of grievances they hold against the Russian leader -- including provocative cyber activity. Should Gazprom and various other Russian natural gas producers lose access to the European market, the outcome to the Kremlin would be far direr than even the breakout of a small, regional, hard water.

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