With Europe concerned about gas supplies in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Qatar will host a conference of leading natural gas suppliers, including Russia, this month.
According to US sources, the US has asked its close friend Qatar for assistance in delivering emergency supplies if pipelines to Western Europe are blocked.
Organizers have not confirmed if Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the annual Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) event on February 22.
Russia, Iran, and Qatar are among the prominent participants at the event, which will also include two days of ministerial sessions. The United States and Australia, two other major exporters, are not included in the group.
During a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday, US President Joe Biden pledged to shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe if Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The vast new pipeline has been finished, but it has yet to begin transporting natural gas to Germany, bringing energy-hungry Europe closer to Russia.
In the event of an energy crisis, the EU has also been looking for alternatives to Russian gas. In an effort to diversify the continent’s energy supplies, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson visited Azerbaijan, an observer member of the gas forum, on Friday.
According to the GECF, its 11 members and seven associate nations account for 70% of known gas reserves and 51% of worldwide liquefied natural gas exports.