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Natural Gas Exports: To Counter Russia?

The new push to export American natural gas and fracking technology to undercut Russia. We look at the new Great Game.

A monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against an apartment building with a sign advertising Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Russia's state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom said Tuesday it will cancel a price discount on gas it sells to Ukraine.  (AP)

A monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against an apartment building with a sign advertising Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Russia’s state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom said Tuesday it will cancel a price discount on gas it sells to Ukraine. (AP)

Russian energy – its natural gas and pipelines – give it a big stick over Ukraine and Europe.  A lot of leverage.  But the U.S. suddenly has a lot of natural gas too – a flood unleashed in a handful of boom years of fracking.  Now, with Russian troops all over and around Crimea and Ukraine, the call has gone up for the United States to unleash American natural gas exports and cut Russia’s energy leverage down to size.  Environmentalists say watch out.  American manufacturers, too – warning of higher prices.  But the push is on.  This hour On Point:  the push for an American gas export juggernaut.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Russell Gold, senior energy reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Author of “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World.” (@RussellGold)

Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Former special assistant to the President and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council. (@JasonBordoff)

Carl Pope, principal at Inside Straight Strategies. Former executive director of the Sierra Club. Author of “Strategic Ignorance: Why The Bush Administration is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress.” (@CarlPope)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: At Energy Confab, Oil Chiefs Fret Over Costs — “The result: companies are competing for the same service contractors, engineers and equipment, causing lengthy delays and ballooning costs. Rob Franklin, Exxon Mobil’s president of gas and power marketing, estimates the cost of big gas projects has quadrupled over the past few years.”

New York Times: U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin — “The administration’s strategy is to move aggressively to deploy the advantages of its new resources to undercut Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine and Europe, weakening such moves by Mr. Putin in future years. Although Russia is still the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, the United States recently surpassed it to become the world’s largest natural gas producer, largely because of breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology, known as fracking.”

 

Huffington Post: The Trade Elephant in the Climate Room — “How, Trumka asked, can the United States negotiate a new round of global trade agreements, led by the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with the environmental provisions which make no mention of climate change, the world’s biggest environmental challenge? The current trade model, Trumka points out, pretends that moving emissions from one country to another solves the climate problem — another form of climate denial, but one that lacks even the honesty to admit that it is denial”

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