Friday, March 7, 2014

Could Energy Exportation be our Trump Card over Russia?

GOP lawmakers urge administration to counter Russia by boosting gas exports:
Republican lawmakers, while stopping short of calling for U.S. military action against Russia, say the Obama administration has another weapon at its disposal that could help Ukraine -- natural gas. 
Top-ranking Republicans on Tuesday urged the administration to cut the red tape that has held up the approval process for natural gas exports to key U.S. allies. They argue that by helping Ukraine and European allies end their dependence on Russian energy, the U.S. could ultimately loosen Vladimir Putin's grip on the region. 
"We need this action now more than ever before," Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
The sudden attention on energy supplies stems from concern that Russia's robust oil and gas exports give it immense leverage over its neighbors. Ukraine gets about half its natural gas from Russia, while Europe gets about 30 percent from Russia. 
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., in warning that this could be used to manipulate the region, noted that a Russian energy firm just threatened to raise gas prices on Ukraine. But he said U.S. liquefied natural gas supplies are "just waiting" to be exported.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

U.S. Can Use Energy as a Weapon Against Putin:
Is it true that the U.S. has few real options to pressure Vladimir Putin to get out of Ukraine? 
How about a straight business statement from Washington like this: 
"We are delighted to announce that the U.S. is accelerating its plans to export natural gas and will soon reverse our virtual ban on oil exports. We have such abundant, new supplies of gas and oil in America that we look forward to becoming a major supplier to world markets. And the first customers we aim to serve are our good friends in Europe." 
These are friends, we're again reminded by events this week, who are currently hostage to energy supplied by Russia. 
Watch a related video above
To date, America's debate over what to do with its sudden wealth of energy has been about business, economics and the environment—not about securing U.S. interests abroad. Companies like Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell want to ease restrictions on oil exports, which were put in place after supply volatility in the 1970s. There's money to be made feeding world markets from fields such as the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas.
Read the rest of the story HERE.
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