US Vice President Biden pledged that the US will aid Ukraine with “technical know-how” to help Ukraine boost its own domestic natural gas production, including providing a technical team to help ensure swift and environmentally sustainable implementation of contracts for shale gas development. The announcement was made as part of the Vice President’s visit to the region today following recent trouble in the east of Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been occupying government buildings in a bid to achieve closer ties with Russia.
“This is the best and fastest way to help Ukraine and other European countries free themselves from energy dependence on Russia – teach them how to produce their own massive gas reserves that lie beneath their feet. US LNG exports to these countries would take way too much time, are not economical, and may never have come to fruition anyway as exporters chase the higher profits in Asian markets. This is the right policy at the right time, and we applaud the President and the Obama Administration for its sensible response to this crisis,” said America’s Energy Advantage (AEA).
A White House fact sheet on the US crisis support package for Ukraine includes the following:
US technical experts will join with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and others in May to help Ukraine develop a public-private investment initiative to increase conventional gas production from existing fields to boost domestic energy supply. A technical team will also engage the government on measures that will help the Ukrainian government ensure swift and environmentally sustainable implementation of contracts signed in 2013 for shale gas development.
AEA has argued that helping allies produce their own natural gas using American advanced recovery techniques would bring gas to European markets much faster than exporting US LNG, as most facilities to both export and import the gas have not even been built. In a recent letter to the United States Trade Representative, which was copied to the Vice President, AEA said that: “A much better option for weakening Putin is to export American hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology to our Ukrainian allies so they can develop their own domestic shale gas resources. Ukraine has more than 40 trillion ft3 of technically recoverable natural gas. Such resources could come online years before the first LNG tanker ship leaves an American port.”
Adapted from press release by Ted Monroe
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