- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Clash over Crimea stokes U.S. energy fight
Gas, oil sales could weaken Moscow’s clout
Question of the Day
Cheniere Energy’s liquefied natural gas export facility at Sabine Pass, Louisiana, which is the furthest along, is estimated to only begin exporting at the earliest by late 2015.
Boosting the U.S. natural gas exports is being touted as a way to weaken Russia’s hold over Europe. Mr. Gerard described Russia’s energy industry, which generates more than 50 percent of the Russian federal government’s budget, as its Achilles’ heel. Russian revenues are dominated by the sale of oil, not gas.
“If we are serious about having an impact on Russia, you have got to go right to the No. 1 indicator and that’s energy,” he said.
“So rather than taking punitive approaches that potentially adversely affect us and the rest of the globe, take a positive approach and move to bring more [energy] supply to the marketplace,” Mr. Gerard added, referring to fresh sanctions being considered by Western governments, including the U.S., against Russia.
Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula earlier in March was made easier by its energy grip over Ukraine, Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said at a hearing last week.
But not everyone agrees. Some analysts note the high cost of liquefying and transporting natural gas and say U.S. exports to Europe are unlikely to eliminate Russia’s edge.
Further, exporting U.S. natural gas will lower the global cost, but could raise gas and electricity bills in the U.S., said Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr. Levi told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week that, even with reduced rates, Russia could still maintain its market share in Europe by underpricing U.S. exports — and instead of Europe, U.S. energy firms would look to Asia where higher prices mean a greater chance to reap a profit.
Some in Eastern Europe appear uninterested in such factors. Jaroslav Neverovic, the energy minister of one Baltic state, Lithuania, made a passionate appeal to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last week to “do everything within your power” to help his country break free from its energy dependence on Russia.
And in Congress, a growing number of lawmakers are adding their voices to calls for easing energy exports. Mr. Royce and Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, authored a resolution passed by the House on March 11 that condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine and called on the U.S. to promote natural gas exports to reduce Mr. Putin’s leverage in his neighborhood.
“Since the president has chosen not to use his authority to permit natural gas exports, Congress can do the job for him by passing legislation to increase the number of countries that would receive accelerated approval of natural gas exports,” Mr. Royce said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Boko Haram takes credit for abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls, threatens to sell them
- Al Qaeda core degraded, but 'more aggressive' affiliates still pose threat to U.S.
- Political uncertainty and violence in first Iraqi election since U.S. withdraw
- Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists to death over Morsi-tied violence
- Doctor's killing in latest Afghanistan attack puts NGOs in crosshairs
TWT Video Picks
By Steve King
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq