America Takes Pole Position on Oil and Gas

February 14, 2022
Daniel Yergin
This is a summary of an article originally published by the Wall Street Journal, with the subheading: "U.S. exports limit price increases and help check disruptive behavior by the likes of Russia and Iran."

The author, vice chairman of IHS Markit, writes that “last month for the first time ever, U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe exceeded Russia's pipeline deliveries. Russian exports, which normally account for about 30% of Europe's gas use, dropped substantially because of Russian pricing. And with European gas prices about four times as high as normal, U.S. exports surged to fill the gap.” This development is particularly critical and geopolitically important in light of the Russia-Ukraine crisis that is unfolding.  

And it seems that Vladimir Putin knew this; the author notes that “at the 2013 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, … Putin reacted sharply, denouncing shale gas as a grave threat that should be stopped. Reflecting afterward, I realized he had two strong reasons to oppose U.S. shale gas. First, it would compete with Russian gas in Europe. Second, shale gas and oil would enhance America's global strategic position. Given how events are unfolding in Europe today, one would have to say he was prescient.” The author argues that the United States, in the coming months, would be able to make up the difference if Russia cut off pipeline exports to Ukraine, but that “in the unlikely event that Russia cuts off all gas exports to Europe, U.S. exports wouldn't be enough. Europe would have to scramble, using gas from already-thin storage and restarting coal and nuclear facilities to generate electricity.” 

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal.


Daniel Yergin

Daniel Yergin is the Vice Chairman of IHS Markit and the author of "The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations."

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author. Photo by Pixabay shared under a Creative Commons license.