Scoop: Energy Secretary heads to Europe on natural-gas exports push

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is heading to Eastern Europe next week to make a series of announcements, including a new liquified natural-gas deal with Poland, according to an Energy Department official.

Why it matters: Perry’s trip, which includes Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Czech Republic, comes as the Trump administration is seeking to balance its conflicting goals of protectionist trade policies and American energy exports.

The details: Liquified natural gas will be a big focus of the trip, but Perry is also expected to push American cooperation on nuclear energy, cybersecurity and coal. His trip includes a tour of a Ukrainian power plant that received a shipment of U.S. coal last summer.

Administration officials, including Perry and President Trump himself, have emphasized that European countries should lessen their dependence on Russian natural gas. The U.S., along with Poland, have criticized construction of an underwater natural-gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Germany has supported the project.

Reality check: Countries and companies will almost always choose the cheapest natural gas, which is often Russia for much of Europe, given the cost of liquefying and shipping American gas overseas. Asia has been America’s bigger customer.

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