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How fracking affects what is happening in Ukraine and Russia

“Natural gas was the origin of the crisis in Ukraine. It is in Russia’s interest to keep Ukraine and Europe hooked on Russian gas at prices just low enough to quash incentives to drill and frack for shale gas. Russia’s state-run news and propaganda outlets have for years disseminated articles critical of fracking and supported opponents of the technique. Now with Yanukovich gone it’s as if Putin has taken the Crimea as a kind of hostage — collateral to hold against what Ukraine owes Russia for gas. The desperation of Putin’s actions underscore the threat that shale gas development really does pose to Russia’s gas-fueled diplomacy.”

Christopher Helman, Forbes.

A new book, called The Frackers, has come out on the issue of the shale-gas engineers and how they have succeeded despite, and not because of, state involvement. Al Gore or whoever might try and lay claim to have invented the internet but they certainly cannot do so with fracking. About the best that can be said of the role of government is that it sometimes upholds property rights necessary for said activity to go ahead.


8 comments to How fracking affects what is happening in Ukraine and Russia

  • Paul Marks

    Yes – both RT (Russian Television)and Al Jazeera regularly have anti fracking hit pieces. Indeed the Hollywood anti fracking films are financed by Middle East interests (how “Progressive” of you Matt Damon).

    My favourite bit of propaganda was from RT’s Max Keiser – who “proved” that fracking was a plot to loot the NHS (the British government health service). He went into some detail……

    No I am not kidding.

    Still one needs to be careful about mocking dear Max as Rosa Klebb (“Stacey Herbert”) might get close enough to kick with a poisoned dagger from her shoe.

  • CaptDMO

    Yep. With enough gub’mint (EPA) “intervention”, the price of fracking energy can be kept high enough
    to seem negligible next to Hydro/solar/corn/wind. Mr. Obama proclaimed this regulatory “strategy” in eliminating coal. Just in case, EPA demands for “cleaning” gasoline, ALREADY adulterated with corn squeezin’s, raisning the price ON TOP of (State anyway)demands for higher taxes-per-gallon, attributed to folks not buying enough taxed mandatory gasoline/ETOH “blend”.
    But we have a few gub’mint sponsored Political Scientist/Economics Brain Trust folk with the “big idea” that the US can punish Russia by flooding the world energy market with (fracking produced) US natural gas, which has nearly doubled in price, and become scarcer in availability, due to “market supply rationing”, in our increasingly colder regions.

    I understand “When your ONLY tool is a hammer (and sickle)…” thinking. I do NOT have “tolerance” for “When your ONLY tool is LOOK….a SQUIRREL.”

  • veryretired

    I remember reading an article a few years ago that discussed the economic necessities underlying oil prices in terms of various country’s budgetary requirements.

    One of the primary points was that the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, and Russia, among others, needed oil prices to be at $100 a barrel or above to finance the many subsidies and other major expenditures built into their budgets. Anything less than that and they couldn’t pay for the programs they needed to pay off their power bases within their own countries, nor their allies-in-need (read Cuba or Palestinians or Hezbollah etc.) in other places.

    There was a corollary about natural gas pricing, but I don’t recall the numbers.

    Suffice it to say that there is a full court press on against the spread of fracking technology and other energy advances, such as the Keystone pipeline, all around the world, funded by the current heavy hitters in oil production and export, often using the assorted green parties and NGO’s that infest the globe everywhere except, naturally, the places paying for all the obstruction and protest.

    Western energy weakness, and the absolutely bewildering array of obstacles to solving that problem, have funded and sustained the enemies of the west, and hindered technological innovations that could have contributed a great deal to the world economy.

    I find it interesting that the huge Russian refinery in the news yesterday just happened to blow up now that this military adventure has begun. I can only hope there will be other significant, and costly, accidents to indicate to the Russian leadership the hazards of invading their neighbors.

    We all know the international peace movements will be as silent as a tomb about any military activities by our adversaries, and the impotent sputtering of world opinion will mean absolutely nothing, and accomplish absolutely nothing, when aimed at anyone other than our own mush filled bags disguised as leaders.

    Whatever the situation and its developments, I am sure the current regime will find any number of ways to look ridiculous, and screw up any possibility of an outcome advantageous to anyone but the aggressors.

    Besides, they’ve been too busy spying on and interfering with the Tea Party, the true enemy, to waste their time gathering intelligence about anyone as insignificant as the Russians. Only that fool Romney thought they were important.

  • “About the best that can be said of the role of government is that it sometimes upholds property rights necessary for said activity to go ahead.”

    Well only in the United States and only there in the Red ones…..sigh.

  • Jacob

    “Natural gas was the origin of the crisis in Ukraine.”
    The Ukraine crisis (whose crisis ? ) has nothing to do with gas or fracking and everything to do with old fashioned nationalism and appetite for expansion and for power. The Russians conquered Crimea in the 18th century (before there was gas) for the same reasons they do it now. They are actually taking it back, after Khrushchev annexed it to Ukraine in 1954.
    Russia’s mode of action – conquest by force – is frowned upon today, but it is a rather traditional way of doing things… Why anyone in the West is bothered, I don’t know. As far as I know, no atrocities were committed, and the regime change was welcomed by most of the locals, which are of Russian origin.

  • DocMartyn

    2003: President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney back a sweeping national energy bill that includes a provision to exempt hydraulic fracturing from EPA drinking water regulation.

    June 2004: An EPA report on fracking says fracking fluids are toxic and that some portion of these toxic fluids remain in the ground after a frack job. However, the report concludes that “injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into coal bed methane wells poses little or no threat” to drinking water supplies and “does not justify additional study at this time.” 13

    July 2005: The U.S. Congress passes the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed in August by President Bush, which includes a provision codifying that Congress never intended for hydraulic fracturing to be regulated under the SDWA.

  • phil

    Sadly the development of unconventional gas plays was heavily helped and influenced by the US Government policy and support. You only need to start looking at the published documentation on fracturing and natural gas production from the 1980’s to see how much was funded by the Gas Research Institute and the Department of Energy. Some of the biggest names in the industry wrote our first detailed understanding of what was going on while we were fraccing thanks to this support. The industry also benefitted upon the support that the US government gave in the form of tax credits to looking into unconventional gas and oil plays (0.1md or less i think the criteria was. I’m sure you could argue well it was the governments fault that the tax take was too large and it was minimal then industry would have done it anyways but then again perhaps they would have just sat back and recorded even greater profits from the easy stuff. For example look at Algeria, russia and Saudi who have huge shale gas/oil potential but have done very little about it.

    You would be right to say though America (and canada later) did have the right environment and attitude though which allowed fraccing to take off, it had great property and mineral rights, good transportation network, good gas and oil infrastructure network, numerous skilled engineers, a good gas price and the service company support network. factors which have made it difficult to replicate the shale boom in other countries that lack this despite them trying very hard to do so.

    Even George Mitchell the father of the Barnett Shale cooperated on a number of projects with the GRI.

    There is a lot of documentation out there that supports the role that the government played in helping fracturing and shale gas take off. this is one example

  • RogerC

    DocMartyn wrote:

    An EPA report on fracking says fracking fluids are toxic…

    The question I always ask myself after any statement using words such as “toxic”, “radioactive” “carcinogenic” etc. runs along these lines:

    How toxic? (or radioactive, carcinogenic etc.)

    Cyanide toxic? Plutonium toxic? Gasoline toxic? Alchohol toxic? How about methane toxic? Finally, how toxic will it be in ten years’ time? Will the stuff degrade naturally or is it there forever?

    “Toxic” is a word that’s great for scaring people (sounds so much more sinister and high falutin’ than mere “poisonous” ever could) but by itself it’s meaningless. The world is full of toxic things we still happily use and store in our kitchens, bathrooms, garages and gardens every day.