By Ronald Stein
America has known for years that Vladimir Putin of Russia has been influencing the source of America’s energy consumption through his efforts to halt fracking in America. Now, with the price of oil tanking, a price war led by Saudi Arabia and Russia is crushing the price per barrel just as the CoronaVirus is hurting demand, putting further financial pressures on the fracking industry that has elevated America to be a net oil exporter.
To control America’s oil production, Russia has been very supportive of environmentalist groups and wealthy individual’s efforts to slow or stop crude oil. As well as natural gas exploration and production within the U.S. and European borders.
As reported by the Washington Examiner in 2018 a Russian funded environmental group gave millions to anti-fracking groups. This to stop, curtail or severely weaken US fracking of crude oil and natural gas in states like Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.
Again, in 2018 the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology issued a 21-page report on Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media: 2018 report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
From their own report, our elected officials in Washington have known, that Vladimir Putin of Russia has been adamantly against fracking in America. Fracking’s success has upended global geopolitics and oil markets since the U.S. fracking boom began under the former U.S. administration. America has gone from being a net oil importer to a net oil exporter.
The U.S. as a net exporter is no longer dependent on oil from foreign countries and insulted from the periodic eruptions in the Middle East that threatened America’s energy security for decades.
The low oil prices, that will most likely go lower before they recover, are a major financial hit to the U.S. fracking industry. They are financially more impactful than the anti-fracking movements. Plummeting oil prices could force a reckoning for the American fracking boom. Russia may be able to live with $30-per-barrel oil for an extended period, but America’s oil patch will endure financial pain for a while.
Starting a price war during a global pandemic is in Russia’s best interest to thwart American dominance in the energy sector to put an end to the growth of the American shale production and at the same time to balance Russia’s budget.
Putin is a historian of World Wars I & II and believes the country that controls oil and natural gas, controls the world. Putin knows that was Allied ingenuity and taking control of the ability to run their ships, planes and land vehicles were significant factors in winning WWII.
The world is now accustomed to post WWII prosperity from American fracking. To stabilize his budget, constrain U.S. shale growth, and extend his influence from Venezuela to the Middle East then the U.S. oil and natural gas industry needs to be brought to its knees. This oil war between Russia, Saudi Arabia, and OPEC+ is just the vehicle to accomplish his geopolitical aims.
Under his leadership, Russia has pushed the power dynamic toward controlling crude oil. This because it is well aware that electricity alone, especially intermittent electricity from industrial wind and industrial solar, are unable to support the energy demands of the military. We can add the airlines, cruise ships, supertankers, container shipping, trucking infrastructures, and almost every other faction of the global economy. More importantly, Russia is ramping up coal production to meet domestic electrical needs, and its growing military commitments from Syria to Crimea.
The world, inclusive of Russia, can easily see the published March 2019 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that shows the USA’s Primary Energy Consumption by Source for the recent years of 2017 thru 2018. Energy consumption rose over that 2-year period with most of the increase coming from fossil fuels, to the amazement of Russia and the world.
The EIA data shows America’s Primary Energy Consumption by Source:
- Total Renewables INCREASED slightly from 11.2% to 11.4% even though most cities have implemented plans to go green, with no impact on fossil fuel energy consumption.
- Total Nuclear REMAINED THE SAME at 8.4%.
- Total Fossil Fuels INCREASED from 77.9% to 81.2% to meet society’s’ demands for the products from petroleum derivatives and the numerous energy consuming infrastructures.
Over 6,000 petroleum products are so intertwined with our everyday lifestyles, controlling them and their availability would control us. Putin understands the unintended consequences of getting off fossil fuels and is willing to put his rubles behind efforts to curtail fracking’s successes. He remains supportive of the deception of intermittent electricity from industrial wind and solar being the way to save the world from itself.