The hand-wringing over what to do to help Ukraine has had a very positive impact on the U.S. oil and gas industry. Politicians like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are seizing on the crisis to call for a lifting of the ban on U.S. oil exports — the better to counterbalance Russia’s petro-influence. While the Wall Street Journal this morning wrote that western politicians are working on a variety of options to help “loosen Russia’s energy stranglehold on Ukraine” including “larger exports of U.S.-made natural gas.”
Nevermind that the U.S. currently exports no natural gas in the form of LNG because new liquefaction plants won’t be completed until late 2015. The bigger point was made by economist Ed Yardeni in his morning note today: “By invading Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin may have succeeded in resolving the debate in the U.S. about whether or not we should export natural gas and crude oil.”
Yardeni noted this New York Times editorial over the weekend as proof positive that the Obama administration (and the rest of the left-leaning side of the political class) now embraces U.S. energy exports as a potentially powerful political tool. When even the New York Times editorial board defies the anti-fracking lobby to conclude that “natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe” it indicates that LNG exports are something we can all agree on.
And get this, another Times story reveals that Hillary Rodham Clinton has for years been in favor of “channeling the domestic energy boom into a geopolitical tool to advance American interests around the world.” The former Secretary of State supposedly set up an 85-person bureau at the State Department in 2011, for the purpose of doing just that.