President Donald Trump on Monday said the U.S. will compete against Russia’s planned gas pipeline to Germany and in the European natural gas market as a whole, days after he said the pipeline was a “horrible thing” for the region.
“I’m not sure, necessarily, that [the pipeline] is in the best interests of Germany or not, but that was a decision that they made,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. “We’ll be competing — as you know, the United States is now — or soon will be, but I think it actually is right now the largest in the oil and gas world. So we’re going to be selling [liquefied natural gas], and we’ll have to be competing with the pipeline and I think will compete successfully, although there is a little advantage locationally.”
Trump criticized Germany and its prime minister, Angela Merkel, at a NATO summit earlier this month, arguing that the U.S. ally’s plan to collaborate with Russia on a natural gas pipeline made Germany a “captive” of the Kremlin. The president said the deal would increase Europe’s reliance on Russian energy while enriching the Putin regime.
The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer of oil and natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“I discussed with Angela Merkel in pretty strong terms,” Trump added. “But I also know where they’re all coming from and they have a very close source. So we’ll see how it all works out.”
Putin said the U.S. and Russia can “work together” to regulate international energy markets and address recent volatility in commodity pricing.
“We are aware of the stance of President Trump, and I think that we, as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets, because neither of us is actually interested in the plummeting of the prices,” the Russian president said.
Gas prices have spiked in recent months and reached their highest national level since 2014 during Memorial Day weekend, according to the American Automobiles Association.