West tries to loosen Russia's gas grip

Western officials are scrambling to loosen Russia’s energy stranglehold on Ukraine, the latest sign of growing pressure on Moscow to end the crisis.

The options being considered by officials from Brussels to Washington include larger exports of U.S.-made natural gas, reversing the flow of natural gas through pipelines from Western Europe back into Ukraine, and accelerating plans across Europe to buy more energy from countries other than Russia.

“If no solution to this can be found,” European countries will “recast their approach to energy and economic links with Russia over time,” U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday…

The Ukrainian crisis also could bring a burst of momentum to projects such a proposed line to deliver gas to Europe from the Shah Deniz in the Caspian Sea through Turkey and Greece, some experts said.

“Russia’s tactics absolutely underscore the importance of diversifying away from Russian gas,” Mr. Chow said.