(Bloomberg) -- Europe’s shift away from Russian natural gas means significantly more U.S. export projects need a quick go-ahead from investors, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC.

The U.S. will need to make a final investment decision on as much as 80 million metric tons per year of new liquefied natural gas export capacity in the next year or two to help fill up the supply gap in Europe. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. was expected to sanction no more than 40 million tons per year in the next two or three years to meet rising global demand, Bernstein analyst Jean Ann Salisbury said in a Monday note to clients. 

There are signs that European utilities, which have vowed to reduce gas use by the next decade, may be more open to signing the 15-year supply contracts American LNG exporters typically need to unlock funding for new projects, according to Salisbury. That’s the case for Engie SA, which recently agreed to extend its commitment with Cheniere Energy Inc. to 20 years.

Still, it will take at least five years until most of the new capacity needed in the U.S. to replace Russian gas is up and running, Salisbury said.

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