Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

America Wants More Russian Oil and Gas

The United States wants more oil and gas from Russia and will discuss ways to get it at the Russian-American Energy Summit in St. Petersburg in September, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow told reporters in Sakhalin on Wednesday.

Specifically, Vershbow said, Washington will raise the issue of shipping large quantities of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from Sakhalin Island, home to U.S. oil supermajor ExxonMobil's massive Sakhalin-1 project developing fields containing 140 million metric tons of crude and 408 billion cubic meters of gas.

Vershbow also said the United States is looking to increase oil shipments from Murmansk, Russia's only ice-free port in the Far North. A project backed by Russia's top five oil firms to build a pipeline from oil-rich western Siberia to Murmansk is crucial to achieving that goal. The companies -- Yukos, LUKoil, TNK, Surgutneftegaz and Sibneft -- took a step closer to building that pipeline earlier this month when they commissioned a feasibility study for it and agreed to split the costs.

Washington is "very interested" in the project, Interfax quoted Vershbow as saying.

Last month U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow said he hoped Russia could become a new major fuel supplier to the United States and said discussions on the possibility of U.S. help in building a large LNG terminal in Murmansk to serve North America would likely begin this summer.

The United States is facing its worst natural gas crunch in decades. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress that rising gas prices are harming U.S. companies as they lose business to competitors from countries where energy is cheaper.

Greenspan called for an increase in LNG imports to allow for an "ultimate safety valve" that would ease gas price volatility caused by tight supplies, The Associated Press reported.

Greenspan also said that as a result of the tight gas market higher heating prices in the United States could be expected as soon as next winter.

Alexei Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, said last month that the gas giant plans to begin exporting LNG to the United States "as soon as it can."

"Energy dialogue between our countries helped Russian oil producers to open the door to the U.S. oil market. We hope we have similar prospects in the gas sector as well," Miller was quoted by news agencies as saying at the World Gas Conference in Tokyo.

He said LNG, which is gas that is supercooled for shipping and then warmed and distributed via pipelines, is "one of the major directions" for Gazprom, which is in talks to take part in the giant Sakhalin-2 LNG project led by Royal Dutch/Shell. Miller said Gazprom is looking at shipping LNG to the United States from its fields on the Yamal Peninsula and offshore in the Arctic.

The summit in St. Petersburg is expected to be attended by Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and his counterpart Donald Evans, and Energy Minister Igor Yusufov and his counterpart Spencer Abraham.

The first summit was held last October in Houston, Texas, where the first agreements to ship crude oil to the United States were reached.