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The US-EU Energy Trade Dilemma


The diverging paths in terms of energy self-sufficiency between the US – among the world largest producers – and Europe – highly dependent on imports – appear to create opportunities for exchanges of oil and gas between the two shores of the Atlantic. On the oil front, recent market developments are putting pressure on US decision-makers to remove the outdated oil export ban that was adopted in the mid-1970s. On the gas side, the EU supply diversification goal is nurturing the Old Continent’s interest in the US’s export potential. Nevertheless, political hurdles undermine the likelihood of the US lifting the oil ban within this presidential term, while the uncertain competitiveness of US gas delivered to European markets could limit US-EU gas exchange. These political and market conditions risk quashing EU efforts for the inclusion of an energy chapter, aimed at boosting EU-US energy trade, in the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).