Ukraine crisis: White House sees 'challenges' in diverting energy supplies to Europe

A view of a gas station near the border between Ukraine and Poland. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The White House on Wednesday (Jan 26) said it faced challenges in finding alternative sources of energy supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine and energy flows from Russia are interrupted, but pledged to continue talks with companies and countries.

The European Union depends on Russia for around a third of its gas supplies. Any interruptions to its Russian imports would exacerbate an existing energy crisis caused by shortages and low reserves.

"There is no question there are logistical challenges, especially moving natural gas," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, when asked about reports that industry had little or no capacity to provide the required energy supplies.

"That's part of our discussions with a lot of companies and countries," she said.

"But again, these conversations are ongoing and we don't intend to fail."

Senior Biden administration officials on Tuesday said the US was in talks with major energy-producing countries and companies in the US, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia over a potential diversion of supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.

Psaki said she had no announcements to make, but said the objective was clearly to mitigate against the potential regional and global consequences of a disruption in energy supplies, and ensure that sufficient supplies were available.

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