Zelenskyy calls on energy-flush countries to boost exports to counter Russia

Zelenskyy calls on energy-flush countries to boost exports to counter Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday called on global energy exporters to boost oil and natural gas production to dampen Russia’s influence over global markets. 

In a surprise remote appearance at Qatar’s annual Doha Forum, Mr. Zelenskyy urged nations flush with oil and gas to “make Russia understand that no state should use energy as a weapon and to blackmail the world.”

“The responsible states, in particular the state of Qatar, you are reliable and reputable suppliers of energy resources,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. “And you can contribute to stabilizing the situation in Europe. There is much that can be done to restore justice.”

“The future of Europe depends on your efforts,” he added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has elevated long-standing concern over Moscow’s dominance over global energy markets and led to a spike in energy prices.

Saudi Arabia, the worlds leading oil exporter, has so far said it would not increase oil production in response to the war. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan was present for Saturday’s conference.

The U.S. has banned Russian oil imports in response to the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine and has called on the other countries to curb their dependence on Russian energy.

On Thursday, President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen pledged to “address the immediate energy security needs of the E.U. and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

As part of the pledge, the E.U. plans to phase out Russian energy imports before the end of the decade.

The E.U., which currently imports 40% of its total natural gas from Russia, has called on the U.S. to help overcome dependency through boosting shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG).

But U.S. exports alone may have a limited impact on energy prices in Europe, which remain far higher than in the U.S.

Analysts say U.S. LNG producers are already at full capacity, and ramping new drilling and export permits enough to have an impact could take years.

Qatar Energy CEO Saad Sherida al-Kaabi further tempered expectations for a silver bullet for rising energy costs on Saturday saying that Qatar likely couldn’t help “immediately” with sending more gas to Europe.

— Ramsey Touchberry contributed to this story which also includes wire reporting.