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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted March 21, 2014

Export Natural Gas to Weaken Putin

USA Today: To Americans used to thinking of energy in terms of the Middle East, the names of the world's top producers of natural gas might come as a surprise.


No. 1 is the United States. No. 2 is Russia. Together they stand as the giants of gas production. What separates them is that the U.S. consumes its gas, while Russia has become the world's largest exporter — a key reason why President Vladimir Putin felt confident that he could seize Crimea from Ukraine and get away with it. Russia supplies 30% of Europe's gas needs, making it hard for European leaders to muster the resolve to resist.


The good news is that the West can turn the tables on Putin, freeing Europe from its dependency and in the process making Russia pay dearly. That can't be done fast enough to neuter the current crisis, nor will it come cheaply. But if Putin believes his actions will drive Europe toward energy independence, he'll have to think twice. Deprived of its biggest market, Russia's fragile, energy-based economy would erode, along with its power and Putin's stratospheric popularity.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.