Trump’s Energy Policies Bode Poorly for Putin
Is Donald Trump in fact a Russian agent? In my opinion, the energy policies he’s enacted make that implausible.
President Trump is the exact opposite of his predecessor on energy policy. Where Obama sought to impede the production of American coal, oil, and natural gas, President Trump has sought to achieve “energy dominance” by approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines, several natural gas pipelines. leasing land for mineral exploration, lifting onerous Obama-era regulations on the electricity sector, and approving liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to ship American natural gas all over the world.
These efforts have paid dividends, as the United States became the largest producer of oil in the world in 2018, edging out Russia and Saudi Arabia in production. Thanks to fracking, the United States has been the largest producer of natural gas in the world since 2009.
American oil, in particular, is bad news for the Kremlin. Not does American oil only eat into the market share of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, who once sold more oil to the U.S., but it has caused global oil prices to plummet, and remain far below the highs experienced in 2013 and 2014.
Low oil prices, thanks almost entirely to the fracking boom, are bad news for Russia, which has seen oil and gas revenues fall. As a result, the proportion of Russia’s budget that is comprised by oil and natural gas has fallen substantially since 2010, when American oil production began to skyrocket thanks to the wildcatters who unlocked the secret to developing America’s vast oil resources.
Although oil and gas production from fracking have been rising since 2010, President Trump deserves a good deal of credit where President Obama does not. The fact of the matter is, we need more pipelines than we have now because the biggest impediment to U.S. oil and natural gas production in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania isn’t current oil or natural gas prices, it’s lack of pipeline capacity to get these resources to market.
In this regard, President Trump has been more supportive of the industry (to put it lightly) than President Obama, and several oil and natural gas pipelines are in the development phase.
On the other hand, few people are talking about the fact that Russia has funded anti-fossil fuel movements in the United States and abroad. These movements have been successful in delaying the construction of several pipelines, including a natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, as Andrew Cuomo and other New England politicians compete to see who is the most “anti-fossil fuel” of them all. The lack of natural gas pipeline capacity is the sole reason Massachusetts imported Russian LNG rather than use American gas.
I don’t think this is some sort of liberal collusion with Russian interests, rather an opportunistic Kremlin sought to take advantage of “useful idiots.”
I’m not an expert in the Russian collusion scandal, but at the end of the day I believe Trump’s energy policy does more harm than good to Russia’s economy, which makes me very skeptical that he is an agent of the Kremlin or Vladimir Putin’s puppet.