Skip to comments.Barrasso Wants To Use Wyo. Gas As Weapon Against Russia
Posted on 03/29/2014 3:05:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Lawmakers in Washington are debating whether to export more natural gas to combat Russian threats to cut off its gas supplies to Europe. Our D-C reporter Matt Laslo has a look at what that could mean for Wyomings economy and environment
MATT LASLO: Wyoming's junior senator, John Barrasso, made waves when her first came to Washington. And while he's now in the Republican leadership team in the U-S Senate, he's starting to get brushed aside by many reporters and politicians because of his near singular focus on dismantling what he terms Obamacare. But this week lawmakers of all stripes seemed to have been won over by a proposal he claims will set the U-S up to be more of a player in European energy markets than Russia.
JOHN BARRASSO: We cannot ignore Russias economic dependence on energy and the reality of how energy markets work remember half of Russias economy comes from oil and natural gas. Thats why the United States shale gas revenues is already undermining Russias negotiating positions with its European neighbors.
LASLO: And it's not just Republicans backing Barrasso on his plan to expand natural gas exports. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine - a person floated as a presidential contender here in Washington circles - says he prefers Barrassos proposal over Colorado Democrat Mark Udalls.
TIM KAINE "I feel pretty comfortable with the Barrasso bill. The Barrasso bill is a little more tailored to these national security issues.
LASLO: We'll get back with Senator Kaine later. The popularity of Barrasso's argument seems to have done what energy state lawmakers have vied for all this time: boosting domestic energy production and exports. Energy state lawmakers like Barrasso are using the Russian military's Cold War-esque movements in Ukraine to bolster their argument, the US needs to increase energy exports.
BARRASSO: Friends, this all has come about in the last decade: new techniques, horizontal drilling, directional drilling, all of which makes energy in the United States easier, cheaper to get, and then more available, so it can be more easily exported.
LASLO: For Barrasso, it's simple: attempt to undercut Russia's foothold on the energy market.
BARRASSO: We can send a very powerful signal to the European market that alternate supplies will be available soon. We can undermine Russias leverage with its European customers today and undercut Russias ability to make so much money off gas exports in the future.
LASLO: But is that the case? And will it help his constituents: everyday Wyoming voters - and the oil and gas industry, which pads his campaigns? Professor Tim Considine teaches energy economics at the University of Wyoming. He says Barrasso's plan is a win for the junior senator's key constituencies.
TIM CONSIDINE: Higher prices will induce additionally drilling and production in Wyoming as long as the companies can permits on a timely basis to drill on federal lands.
LASLO: Considine adds, expanding exports could mean producers in the state could get what they've been asking for: easier access to all that gas sitting underneath you.
CONSIDINE: Obtaining permits to drill on federal lands, which is a very slow process, and has turned out to be adverse for Wyoming because Wyoming has a very significant share of gas production coming from federal lands so theres quite a bit of proposed development in Wyoming to drill on federal lands and its just sitting.
LASLO: The professor says the current system locks out much of Wyoming's energy producing potential.
CONSIDINE: So a lot of companies are going to other states where gas can be drilled on private lands and they can get in and develop the fields in a matter of months or at most a year.
LASLO: But Mike Tidwell - who lobbies on environmental issues in and around the nations capitol - says lawmakers are making a mistake if they think exporting more gas will have an influence on European markets, because any changes to export laws will take years to implement. It's also agreed by all sides that domestic gas prices will increase - which would make U-S goods a tad more pricey.
MIKE TIDWELL: This is a polluting, climate changing energy thats best left in the ground and best left in the United States, its going to raise prices if we export it and it wont solve any geopolitical intrigue overseas.
LASLO: Tidwell also says that the U-S doesn't have the relationship with European countries to make Barrasso's proposal pay off.
TIDWELL: 75% of the contracts that have already been signed are going to places like India and Japan, so it is simply a pipe dream, to use an apt metaphor, to suggest that this fracked gas, liquefied and sent overseass from the United States, is somehow going to end up in Europe.
LASLO: Environmental critics aside, Congress seems to be moving towards a plan like Barrasso's. That potential presidential contender, Senator Kaine a former Virginia governor, says there's something afoot that makes the proposal to export more gas palatable for both parties.
Kaine: This is a combination of Ukraine is posing the question in a stark way, but also just the changes in energy issues over the last couple of years is making us realize that this is one potential tool of diplomacy that we should explore.
LASLO: As far as getting the White House on board, Barrasso says the administration is telling foreign leaders across the globe what they want to hear while dragging their feet...at least when it comes to his proposal.
BARRASSO: They said some nice words but didnt commit to anything. And legislatively, if we get this done, it will show the commitment to the people of Ukraine of our commitment to help undercut the Russian economy.
LASLO: So for now Barrasso's brand has expanded beyond his party. Whether he can actually get his bill through the clogged - and highly partisan - Senate pipe line is still up in the air.
For Wyoming Public Radio, Im Matt Laslo in Washington.
VX would probably work better.
They have that severe flatulence in Wyoming that they can weaponize it? Just damn!
yea yea I can move back to Pinedale where there exists the most beautiful scenery ever,,,in my opinion
some people have been using gas as a “weapon” very effectively for a long, long time.
My wife forced me to register as a weapon of mass disgustion...Just because...;-)
Whoah. Exporting OUR natural gas is a weapon against us Americans. It increases profits for the gas companies. Or did I get this wrong?
I always thought all the drilling we tout was about making America energy self sufficient, and not Europe or not the Ukraine. This globalism is completely against American interest and the sooner most understand the sooner we can bring the USA back.
The same Sxbs that sold out our America jobs now want to sell out the possibility of recreating them due to low USA nat gas energy costs. The bankers that screwed up and cost us trillions in a bailout and who own our two Party government now want to front run the trade on natural gas to their benefit only and to America’s loss.
When we start seeing crooks in government being held accountable (and my version is much more severe than most) we’ll start seeing an end to this corruption.
“John Barrasso, made waves when her first came to Washington.”
Her first name is John?
Increasing our exports will provide jobs and an economic boom to the USA. Increasing profits for gas companies means increasing profits for Americans who work for those American companies. What do you have against profit?
Thanks Tailgunner Joe.
But don’t you think we should just pour the water in OUR end of the pool? ;-)
I don’t care about Russia, nor the Ukraine, nor Europe especially when the offset is about less for America. The ability to make the USA competitive again in the world economy should be number one.
Cheap energy for American industry should mean more than profits for global drillers. The globalist economy is not the American economy. Wall St is not the American economy.
The quest by globalist corporations to end national sovereignty is the opposite of conservatism.
Interesting you think you have ownership of the mineral rights of private individuals. Or of the gas produced by companies after significant investment and risk of their capital. And you can tell them who they are allowed to sell to.
Do I have your perspective correct, comrade?
We wouldn't want to do that. They might create more jobs, pay more dividends, more taxes.
The bankers that screwed up and cost us trillions in a bailout
The bank portion of TARP made a huge profit for the Treasury.
imho this is a good argument for running the keystone pipeline and encouraging the Mexicans to develop their immense natural gas deposits. However, its not a good argument for the US to start exporting lots of natural gas because higher exports will raise the price of natural gas and kill the US manufacturing edge that lower natural gas prices bring.
And some savvy consumers also recognize that these nat gas exports are going to drive up the cost of home heating and electricity.
So where do we stand on this. Since we have a trade agreement with Mexico, US producers are exporting record amounts to Mexico.
Otherwise, a permit is required and Obama granted the 7th nat gas export permit 5 days ago to Veresen for an export facility in Oregon. Dominion also has a export permit in Maryland and the other 5 are on the Gulf Coast. The Cheniere facility is scheduled to come online in 2015.
Total permitted volume is now 9.27 billion cubic feet per day.
There are probably another 30 companies that have applied for permits and you can find the list at the Energy Dept website.
All of this has been in place for 2-3 years but since events with Russia have taken place many are saying more permits need to be approved faster.
When gas and oil companies start losing money selling their product to my fellow Americans, let me know.
Please post your references.
American trade deficits are horrible!!!
Whatever we do, don't export natural gas to reduce them. LOL!
Did you up your intake of paint chips lately?
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