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London — Energy companies are flooding Europe with US natural gas, establishing a foothold in a market dominated by Russia and seen as a key battleground in Washington's efforts to curb Moscow's energy influence. Europe is now the top buyer of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) after a near fivefold spike in US LNG sales to the continent this northern hemisphere winter, overtaking South Korea and Mexico, a Reuters analysis showed. Profit rather than politics is driving the increase, despite pressure from US President Donald Trump for Europe to wean itself off Russian gas. Energy companies have switched sales to Europe after prices in Asia fell sharply on lower than expected demand. Prices in Europe, traditionally seen as a market of last resort, have held firm. "It’s all about commercial reasons,” said James Henderson, director of the natural gas research programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. "US LNG will go where there is the biggest margin. There is no political motive...

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