American Natural Gas Can Support Our Global Allies

As Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Ukraine continues to play out, academics, foreign policy experts and a chorus of bipartisan lawmakers are reaffirming the case that common sense American natural gas export polices can support our national security and economic goals while boosting aid to key allies around the world, especially those deeply dependent on hostile nations to meet their energy needs.

Experts, of course, recognize the fact that domestic natural gas prices will not surge should additional exports be permitted by the federal government, due to the fact that America – driven by the Marcellus – is producing record-breaking volumes of this clean-burning resource. Put simply: American natural gas is “benefiting nearly every manufacturing sector, as well as U.S. consumers and workers,” but it’s also a critical tool to aid our global allies.

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • “U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin”: The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy, as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe. The crisis has escalated a State Department initiative to use a new boom in American natural gas supplies as a lever against Russia, which supplies 60 percent of Ukraine’s natural gas and has a history of cutting off the supply during conflicts. (New York Times, 3/5/14)
  • “Europe needs an alternative to Russian natural gas”: America’s natural gas boom helps, too. Once thought to be a permanent importer of gas, the United States is now producing huge amounts of the fuel, to the point that energy firms want to export it. U.S. exports could reduce Russia’s leverage further. But simply the withdrawal of the United States’ once-hefty demand from the global market already has helped. (Washington Post editorial, 3/5/14)
  • “America’s Oil and Gas Leverage”: The EU wants unlimited U.S. LNG exports as part of the EU-U.S. trade negotiations. The U.S. has surpassed Russia to become the world’s largest gas producer as supply outstrips domestic demand, and exporting more would be a win for the U.S. economy and global interests. … The economic reality is that exports—for crude oil and natural gas—create incentives that stimulate more drilling and thus more jobs and income. As global supplies increase, global prices are more likely to decrease. The geopolitical case is now overwhelming. (Wall Street Journal editorial, 3/5/14)
  • “Counter Putin by Liberating U.S. Natural Gas”: The U.S. has abundant supplies of natural gas, but in stark contrast to Russia, the amount of natural gas we produce and export barely scratches the surface of its potential. That’s attributable in large part to the U.S. Department of Energy, which maintains an approval process that is excruciatingly slow and amounts to a de facto ban on American natural-gas exports—a situation that Mr. Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals. … In response to Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, President Obama should announce a series of steps that will dramatically expand production of American-made energy…Taking this step would also create American jobs and lower prices for our consumers and small businesses… America not only has a right to develop and market its natural resources. In the face of rising danger, it has an obligation to do so. (Wall Street Journal op-ed, 3/6/14)
  • “Natural Gas as a Diplomatic Tool”:  The Obama administration should move to increase exports, which would help allies like Germany, Turkey and Britain… Increasing natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe, which gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia. Countries like Germany and Ukraine are particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions that are politically driven. … American officials should use natural gas exports as one component of diplomacy… The Obama administration can certainly help allies by making more natural gas available to them.  (New York Times editorial, 3/6/14)
  • “Gas boom hands the US a potent weapon”: Booming US oil and gas production has been portrayed as a bounty that will boost America’s energy independence, but the crisis in Ukraine has cast it in a different light: as a strategic weapon to help allies overseas. The US has surpassed Russia to become the world’s biggest gas producer and this week two senior Republicans called for the US to expedite natural gas exports to Europe to help reduce its allies’ dependence on Russian fuel. (Financial Times, 3/6/14)
  • “Pressure on Hill builds for gas exports to counter Vladimir Putin”: Momentum is building in Congress to wield the United States’ vast natural gas resources to break Vladimir Putin’s energy stranglehold over Ukraine. … The shale gas boom of the past few years has turned the U.S. into the world’s biggest natural gas producer. And over the long term, policy experts say, the availability of U.S. gas exports could indeed weaken Russia’s leverage. (Politico, 3/6/14)
  • “Crisis Pressures U.S. on Gas Exports”: Congressional Republicans and energy-state Democrats are ramping up pressure on President Barack Obama to take steps to open the nation’s spigot of natural-gas exports as a way to weaken Russia’s hand over Ukraine. The Obama administration is restricted by a law that creates regulatory hurdles for the U.S. to export natural gas to countries that aren’t free-trade partners. But officials say the current situation in Europe might change the equation. … Thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is producing more natural gas than it ever has and the most oil since the mid-1990s. This has turned on its head the conventional wisdom, widely held until the past six years, that the U.S. was running out of these resources. The U.S. is on track this year to surpass Russia as the biggest natural-gas producer in the world, and to take over the top oil-producing spot from Saudi Arabia by 2015.  (Wall Street Journal, 3/5/14)
  • “To blunt Russia, time for American natural gas diplomacy”: The American natural gas revolution has boosted economic competitiveness, and helped reduce U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years. The question is now whether the United States will leverage this energy bounty to advance its foreign policy goals during the most serious East-West crisis in a generation. … Enabling a steady flow of gas from the United States to Europe would benefit both regions — geopolitically, environmentally and economically. (Reuters column, 3/5/14)
  • “Save the Ukraine By Exporting Natural Gas”: Congress and the president should without delay pass laws to make it easier to export liquid natural gas. Such laws would help our allies and hit Russia where it hurts, in the pocketbook. More than half of Ukraine’s natural gas, and 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas, is provided by Russia. Russia gets about half of its revenue from oil and gas. LNG is cheaper in the United States than in Russia, so increasing America’s exports of LNG would lower Russia’s profits. (Real Clear Markets op-ed, 3/4/14)
  • “U.S. Can Use Energy as a Weapon Against Putin”: The shale revolution in the U.S. 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. … 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. After all, business is business. Even in Russia. (Wall Street Journal op-ed, 3/4/14)
  • “Boosting natural-gas exports can hit Russia where it hurts”: By immediately increasing the number of liquefied natural-gas (LNG) export permits the administration approves. It’s time for America to hit Russia where it hurts; namely, in its wallet. … For decades, America was in no position to export natural gas. During the past few years, though, we have discovered some of the largest natural-gas deposits anywhere in the world, right under our feet in places such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania, and in the congressional district I represent — in eastern Ohio. These newly available gas reserves, thought by most to be an American domestic resource, can also serve as a foreign-policy advantage. (Washington Times op-ed, 3/5/14)
  • “U.S. Sen. Udall Introduces Bill to Expand Natural Gas Exports, Strengthen Global Security”: “Our nation’s clean-burning and job-creating natural gas has an important role to play in strengthening global security. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine shows why we need to responsibly develop our natural gas reserves and expand our ability to export this resource abroad. This common-sense bill will strengthen our economy at home and help Colorado companies and small businesses across America bolster our presence abroad.” (Release, 3/5/14)
  • “Congressman Gardner Introduces Natural Gas Legislation amid Ukraine Crisis”: “President Putin and the Russian regime are using their dominance of the European natural gas market to flex their muscles and expand their influence,” said Gardner. “European nations are clamoring for a resource that is abundant in Colorado, but current law restricts our ability to sell it to them. This bill allows America to meet the needs of our allies, while creating economic opportunity and good jobs here in Colorado.” (Release, 3/6/14)
  • U.S. Sen. Landrieu to Raise LNG Exports with the White House: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D), a public supporter of exports from her home state of Louisiana, told reporters yesterday that she plans to raise the issue with the White House. “It’s clear that a lot of the conflict and economic stress in Europe and the surrounding region is energy-related,” Landrieu said. “That’s why I’ve been a fairly strong advocate” for increasing the pace of exports even before becoming chairwoman, she added. (E&E News, 3/6/14)
  • “Congressman Upton: U.S. LNG Exports Can Weaken Russian Influence”: “Expanding U.S. LNG exports is an opportunity to combat Russian influence and power, and we have an energy diplomacy responsibility to act quickly. … 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. (Release, 3/3/14)
  • “U.S. Sen. Barrasso: Expedited US LNG Exports Will Help Ukraine”: “The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas just waiting to be exported to our allies. … American natural gas exports would help Ukraine free itself from Russian energy and Putin’s political manipulation.” (Release, 3/4/14)