Lifting U.S. regulations on liquefied natural gas exports could help alleviate Europe's dependence on Russian gas, the head of a liquefied natural gas trade association told Fox Business.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused gas prices to soar and has European nations reconsidering their long-standing reliance on Russian oil and gas. President Biden announced Tuesday a ban on Russian oil and gas imports, which he said targets the "main artery of Russia’s economy."
The U.S. could help ween Europe off of Russian energy by exporting more liquefied natural gas, US LNG Association CEO and President Fred H. Hutchison told Fox Business.
"Europe depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas," Hutchison said. "That's delivered from pipelines that go back to the Soviet era."
"U.S. [liquefied natural gas] has brought competition to the region," he continued. "It's helped countries like Poland and Lithuania – both of which had almost 100% dependence on Russian gas – reduce that dependence."
"Right now, the world is short on oil, the world is short on gas," the CEO said.
"We have got plenty of it," Hutchison said. "And there's a lot more that can be done
As the U.S. government considers lifting sanctions on Venezuela to import more energy, the U.S. should work to remove production and export limitations to help domestic and global markets, according to the CEO.
"There's been a leasing pause that the administration has put in place, and there are permitting issues and other factors that are limiting production," Hutchison said. "Remove those obstacles, get production up."
The U.S. Department of Energy regulates how much liquefied natural gas from each facility is exported, putting a ceiling on how much can be sent around the world, including to European countries and even Ukraine.
In the U.S., the national average gas price hit an all-time high on Monday, according to GasBuddy.
"The federal government sets project-by-project ceilings on how much gas can be exported from the United States," Hutchison said, noting that other energy commodities don't face such caps.
Many pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Europe flow through Ukraine, but the market reflects conditions that began before the war, according to Hutchison.
"The world has been short on natural gas really since the recovery kicked in from COVID back last fall," Hutchison told Fox Business. "So even before all of this war in Ukraine, there were really tight markets."