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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted July 31, 2014

Putin’s Power: Time to Destroy the Regulatory Walls that Keep U.S. Oil and Natural Gas from European Markets

Houston Chronicle (Editorial): Fracking is more effective than bullets when it comes to containing Russian President Vladimir Putin's Soviet-era ambitions.


Empowered by oil funds and a gas pipeline yoke on Europe, Putin has resuscitated a Cold War ethos of nationalism and expansionism. Yet after the invasion of Crimea and Russian militias seizing sections of eastern Ukraine, it seemed as if Europe's red line was located somewhere a few miles east of the Brandenburg Gate. It took the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to finally shock Europe back to reality, where Russia stands as a legitimate threat to a peaceful continent.


These aggressive moves have gained Russia few friends, but as Tsar Alexander III once said, Russia's only allies are its army and its navy. For the 21st century, pipelines should be added to that list. And that is where the United States must focus containment efforts.


Our allies are far too reliant on Russian pipelines to truly oppose Putin's aggression - there's a reason why the new technology sanctions against Russia don't apply to natural gas.

While America should bolster NATO's military positions in eastern Europe, any long-term aid has to involve weaning Europe from Russian energy. Like the Berlin Airlift, the United States must demonstrate to the world that we stand by our allies. Natural gas exports are still limited by missing physical facilities on both sides of the Atlantic, but continued oil and gas development and a finalized Transatlantic Free Trade Area will lay the foundation for when the infrastructure is completed in the next few years. The United States should even consider crude exports or timely releases of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to emphasize just how far we are willing to go to undermine Putin's oil money cash flows.

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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.