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Using American Natural Gas Exports to Oppose Putin and Russia

Updated on March 20, 2014
 Natural gas tanker
Natural gas tanker
Export terminal
Export terminal

Russia's Putin is using the threat of natural gas to deter Europe in joining America's more severe sanctions. The simple reason is that Europe receives between 70-100% of its natural gas for work and home use from Russia. The simple way around this and a way to weaken Putin's threat is for the USA to export its natural gas, which is vast. Europe already has the infrastructure to received the gas and this would weaken Putin's ability to threaten Europe.Some of the former Soviet territories receive all of its gas from Russia, like Lithuania.

In 2013, Ukraine imported two billion cubic meters of gas from Poland at a cheaper price than what Russia was willing to sell it for. This economic undercutting reduced the political influence of Moscow.

For political reasons domestically, President Obama has stalled on approving 25 applications for liquefied natural gas export terminals. The delays are environmental and most are a year away from going active. Right now, nearly all gas exports go to Asia, namely, China. Yet, America's vast natural gas is a weapon to liberate Europe and NATO from the Russian gas that Putin can simply halt, as he has done in the past. If the US exports large amounts of gas, the prices will lower reducing the amount of money Russia makes. They rely heavily on their natural gas and oil exports for income. Right now, Russia can use this petro weapon politically to persuade with. If Obama would simply approve the applications, the message to Putin would be clear, Russia's dominance over much of Europe for petro needs would end.

America should use its "energy" tool to counter the Russian monopoly. Using the military and other sanctions are tools also, but hitting Russia in the pocketbook would get Putin to be tread lightly. If Europe imported 50% of their gas needs from the USA, Russia would be hit hard economically. President Obama knows this, yet, he remains reluctant. Pathetic.


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    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      Its easy to write this , but ground realities are different.I was in europe and people were questioning why the USA and UK were egging Ukraine. Nobody wants a bankrupt Uktaine in the EU( the people) and nobody wants another cold war with Russia. Its best for the west to forget about Ukraine, which is Bankrupt anyway.I see it as the last gasp of Western imperialism which is doomed to failure.