Gas Corporations Capitalise on War in Ukraine

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine shocked the world. It quickly resulted in an energy crisis as European countries tried to secure non-Russian energy supplies for the winter.

What followed was one of the most blatant examples of ‘shock doctrine,’ where gas operators quickly shifted their public messaging and lobbying from “energy transition” to “energy security” and cynically used the opportunity to frighten governments into massive, unneeded investment into and expansion of fossil gas imports and infrastructure. These tactics have resulted in a short-term energy supply crisis being answered by long-term fossil fuel lock-in  in the form of new infrastructure, decades long contracts, and environmental impact in the US, as well as in the EU.

This overreaction jeopardises the EU’s and US’ energy transition and their agreed climate goals.  

The shift was instant and effective. The REPowerEU plan, the EU answer to the gas crisis, included around €10 billion ($10.9 billion) in funding for gas infrastructure. Eight liquefied gas terminals are under construction, and 38 more have been proposed. Replacing Russian pipeline gas led to a surge of shipments of liquefied gas (also known as LNG) from the US.

As a result, gas infrastructure operators, portfolio traders, and gas companies have declared that imported liquefied gas is the answer to the crisis and will remain so for decades to come. ​​

Shareholders of the world’s top five oil and gas companies saw record profits of €192 billion ($209 billion) and distributed $102 billion (€94 billion) in the form of dividends and share-buy-backs in 2022.

This LNG expansion threatens the health of communities living near these export terminals, extraction sites, and pipelines, while potentially pushing planet warming emissions past levels to meet global climate goals.


Why the gas is not needed

  • Gas companies are capitalising on the shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to weaken regulations and push new proposals for increasing liquefied gas imports and locking both the US and Europe into contracts that would last for 15 to 20 years.  This threatens climate goals, communities and investors.
  • The reality is that most of the proposed projects would not be operational in time to address short-term energy shortages arising from the war in Ukraine. Most projects will only come online by 2026, far too late to respond to the current supply crunch. 
  • The US has approved projects that, if built, would  double liquefied gas export capacity to 439 bcm per year – with annual lifecycle emissions equivalent to 393 million cars. By 2030, US liquefied gas exports alone could exceed  the Net Zero Emissions (NZE) estimate by the IEA for global liquefied gas trade.
  • US liquefied gas imports to Europe increased by 140% in 2022. France accounted for nearly a quarter of these imports, with the UK and Spain following closely. At the same time plans for a raft of new import terminals are being pushed through.
  • Currently in Europe eight liquefied gas terminals are under construction and 38 more have been proposed. These terminals, if built, would add 950 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year. 
  • Despite this massive surge in imports and infrastructure plans, EU liquefied gas regasification utilisation rate was only 63% in 2022.
  • European climate change policies should include phasing out liquefied gas before 2030 and all fossil gas by 2035.

See our maps

Flows of LNG
Flows of LNG from US to Europe
Industry deals
Political meetings and activities with timeline
LNG export terminals
LNG export terminals in the US and import terminals in the EU

Impacts of LNG

Methane leaks from Corpus Christi

Cheniere - Corpus Christi LNG Facility view 4, San Patricio County, TX (September 2022) - Video courtesy of Earthworks

Methane leaks from Sabine Pass

Cheniere - Sabine Pass LNG View 3, Cameron Parish, lA (June 2022) - Video courtesy of Earthworks

Interview with John Beard, community leader

LNG impacts on local communities


Comparison of planned LNG capacity to IEA net-zero emissions

Comparison of planned LNG capacity to IEA net-zero emissions

Proposed and approved US projects can lead to massive increase in US LNG export capacity, in emissions, and jeopardise EU and US climate targets
Contracted Volumes from US LNG Projects (BNEF)

Contracted Volumes from US LNG Projects (BNEF)

LNG contracts between Europe and the US can lock the US and Europe into 15-20 years contracts, beyond short-term needs
Regasification utilisation of EU27 LNG terminals in 2021 vs 2022

Regasification utilisation of EU27 LNG terminals in 2021 vs 2022

EU LNG expansion will add to existing overcapacity, with EU LNG terminals totalling only 63% utilisation rate in 2022
US LNG import into the EU27+ UK 2018-2022

US LNG import into the EU27+ UK 2018-2022

Over the past four years, the US has grown from a marginal gas exporter to Europe and the UK, to one of the leading exporters

Energy Justice Investigations

What is the problem

Following the war in Ukraine, the fossil fuel industry has been making use of the public’s and political disorientation and fear of energy insecurity to push the increased reliance on fossil fuels that is deepening our entanglement in the extractive system. 

Instead of using the opportunity to reduce consumption and expand renewable energy sources, governments are moving to enable the expansion of new fossil fuel infrastructure, with the industry, their lobbyists and financiers, working hard to ensure that they are the ones to pick up the alternative supplies.

This threatens the much needed phase out of fossil fuels and will lock us in fossil fuel projects well into the future, destroying any chance to keep global average temperature rises below 1.5 degrees.

The first investigation focuses on the shift of the gas industry in Europe, moving away from Russia. We examine the flows of US LNG going to Europe and political agreements supporting this historical surge. We also go over contracts closed between European gas companies and US export terminals, pushing for additional infrastructure in the US as well as in Europe. We show how gas operators are locking us into a fossil fuel future.

The report includes facts and figures on the imports of gas from the US; reveals the contracts and their duration; focuses on case studies, the finances, impacts on communities and maps illustrating the flows.

Our report exposes the truth behind the corporate and political push for more fossil gas imports from the US to Europe, and undermines the social licence of gas: it is dirty, toxic, not needed and not wanted.