Calls for U.S. LNG Exports Increase in the Wake of Russian Aggression

March 5, 2014

24 Applications Await Energy Department Action

The crisis in Ukraine has increased attention to the urgent need for expanded U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Ukraine and other Eastern European countries are being held hostage by their dependence on Russian energy supplies, but the promise of new U.S. gas on the global market could cause a dramatic shift in geopolitics and weaken Putin’s influence. Unfortunately, the Department of Energy’s slow approval process is standing in the way.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) this week called for swift action from the administration on LNG exports, stating, “The Department of Energy's approval process for LNG exports is unnecessarily putting our allies at the mercy of Vladimir Putin. Now is the time to send the signal to our global allies that U.S. natural gas will be an available and viable alternative to meet their energy needs.”

To learn more about how U.S. LNG exports can supplant Russia’s influence and assist our allies, click HERE to read the Energy and Commerce Committee report “The Geopolitical Implications and Mutual Benefits of U.S. LNG Exports.”

March 5, 2014

U.S. Does Have Weapon vs. Putin: Energy

Just the promise of U.S. pressure on Putin's quasi-monopoly on energy might make him treat his customers better.

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. …

Which brings us to Ukraine.

Europe gets roughly 30% of its gas from Russia, and much of that is piped through Ukraine. Gazprom, the gas and oil giant, is so powerful it accounts for more than 10% of Russia's exports.

Moscow has used Europe's dependence on Russian oil as an economic weapon. Over the last decade it has cut off or slowed gas supplies to a range of countries when a dispute flared over pricing or politics. Again this week Mr. Putin said he was increasing the price for gas sold to Ukraine now that the new pro-Europe government in Kiev has spurned his affections.

The shale revolution in the U.S.—controversial though it may be—has already strengthened Europe's hand somewhat. The world is ultimately one large energy market. Plentiful gas and oil in the U.S. means America is importing less, freeing global supply to migrate to Europe and driving down some prices. More U.S. coal is also finding buyers in Europe. That has helped European nations in some instances bargain for a better deal with Gazprom. …

Just the promise of more pressure on Mr. Putin's quasi-monopoly might make him treat his customers better. It might not force him out of Ukraine's Crimea. But it would give Europe more leverage to press the point.…

To read the full article, click HERE

March 4, 2014 

Ukraine Seen Building Support for U.S. Natural Gas Export

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is bolstering the case for easing restrictions on exports of the U.S.’s booming natural gas production, according to energy analysts and industry groups.

Russia, the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas after the U.S., twice since 2006 has cut supplies of the fuel to Ukraine, a conduit for energy to Europe. Greater access to U.S. supplies would blunt the ability of Russia to use energy as a weapon, according to supporters of lifting export curbs.

“One immediate step the president can and should take is to dramatically expedite the approval of U.S. exports of natural gas,” House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said today in a statement.…

To read the full article, click HERE.