Europe Must Urgently Cut Dependence on Russian Gas, Portugal Says

LISBON (Reuters) - Europe must urgently diversify its natural gas supply sources to reduce its dependence on Russia, Portugal's energy secretary of state said, pointing to big producers such as the United States and Qatar as potential alternatives.

Speaking at an energy conference, Joao Galamba said Russia's invasion of Ukraine showed Europe's "security of supply problem", given that it depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas.

"If Europe really wants to reduce its dependence on gas (from Russia) it has to diversify its sources of supply and it has to accelerate its decarbonization," Galamba said. "It is imperative for European energy survival."

Galamba said diversification efforts must be coordinated among European countries, with the help of the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Norway and Algeria and other gas producers.

But the diversification of sources will not be enough to solve the problem, he said, explaining the continent's logistics chains have for years been too dependent on gas flows from Eastern Europe.

"We will have to replace the supply from Eastern Europe and there won't be a single solution ... but a vast set of measures," he said, adding Europe will need to use its LNG ports in countries such as Portugal, Spain and France.

He said Portugal does not depend on gas pipelines from Russia as its imported LNG is transported by ships and unloaded at the deep-water port of Sines, the closest European port to the United States.

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