America's natural gas boom could curb the Russian stranglehold

Posted Mar 9, 2014 by Kev Hedges
The crisis in Crimea is handing a powerful set of cards on the table, heralding a new diplomatic strategy for Washington.
Russian pipelines through Ukraine
Russian pipelines through Ukraine
It comes in the form of a vast new supply of natural gas that the Obama administration could use to undermine the stranglehold Russia has over Ukraine and Europe. Russia currently supplies 60 percent of Ukraine's natural gas and has a reputation for cutting off supplies the moment any spat or conflict takes place.
Gazprom is the Russian state-run company providing natural gas pipelines throughout Ukraine and western Europe. It has already stopped the discount rate it charged Ukraine before the Crimean crisis began and the EU should be wary of the situation as 66 percent of all Russian gas the continent uses passes through Ukrainian territory.
The U.S. is currently advocating the idea of more gas being put onto the market to undercut the current stranglehold Moscow has. Since Russia moved into the Crimea, politicians in the United States, particularly congressional Republicans, have attempted to loosen export restrictions on US natural gas in the hope that Russia's ability to use natural gas supply as an ace card can be somehow circumvented, reports New York Times.
Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, but recently the United States eclipsed Moscow to become the world’s largest natural gas producer, predominantly because of breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing technology — that's fracking to you and me.