US Hopes to Cash in on Ukraine Crisis

Masses of pro-European Union demonstrators gathered in Kiev. Dec. 15, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Obama’s energy diplomacy can spell further profits for the likes of Exxon-Mobile, Halliburton while Ukraine crisis deepens.

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The US is rushing to fast-track its ambitions to begin exporting its newfound natural gas resources to Europe in a scheme that is being framed as an effort by the Obama administration to undercut Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence over Ukraine and Europe.

A front-page article in Thursday’s New York Times (“U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin”) details the administration’s plan to leverage the US’s vast resources in order to exert influence in Ukraine, which is the second largest recipient of gas from the Russian state-run gas giant, Gazprom.

A closer read reveals that some greedy giants are already on the ground floor of this plan and are gearing up for a piece of this opportunity that has presented itself on the shoulders of a complicated democracy movement that has engulfed Ukraine and the former Soviet Union.

The US recently became the world’s largest natural gas producer largely by employing the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing swath, known as fracking, which is deplored by environmental activists but embraced by President Obama, despite his advocacy for environmental protection.

“Over the past week, Congressional Republicans have joined major oil and gas producers like ExxonMobil in urging the administration to speed up oil and natural gas exports,” reported The New York Times adding that opposition by some Democrats, environmentalists and even US manufacturers has fallen on deaf ears in the Obama administration.

According to the Times, this new energy diplomacy has been at play in the State Department since 2011, when then secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, created the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, installing US’s former ambassador to the Ukraine, Carlos Pascual as its head.

The New York Times reports that the 85-person bureau was created “for the purpose of channeling the domestic energy boom into a geopolitical tool to advance American interests around the world.”

Pascual told The New York Times that his team, in partnership with energy giants is helping countries to develop their own natural gas resource—aka reaping profits from resources in trouble spots while their population bleeds.

“Halliburton has started fracking for natural gas in Poland, while Shell last year signed a contract to explore for natural gas in Ukraine,” reported The New York Times.

The article acknowledges that even if fast-tracked, the flow of natural gas outside the US will not happen until 2017. Meanwhile, however, companies like Halliburton, which made a reported profit of $39 billion from the Iraq war, can cash in while the bankrupt Ukraine, which is in a dire financial crisis to feed its citizens, waits for handouts from the EU and others.

By 2017, as the oil giants line their already overflowing pockets with this Obama administration scheme, Russia has myriad opportunities to close the gas faucets to Ukraine to exert its own influence.

The US government can’t do more than pledge the $1 billion loan guarantee that Secretary of State John Kerry offered on Tuesday, and the cash-strapped EU can’t afford more than its pledge of $15 billion in aid. Yet, if the administration moves forward with its plan, energy giants can look forward to doubling, and even tripling their profits.

This is democracy at work in Washington. The US’s boom in natural gas is a boon for greedy oil companies.

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15 Comments

    • Andrew J Bennett Jr said:

      Dick Cheney CEO of Halliburton murder the owners of Ukraine land/ GOLD. SILVER. OIL. GAS. NATURAL RESOURCES!

  1. HARUT CHANTIKIAN said:

    too little too late. If the Rusians takeover of Ukraine is succesful, Armenia will be next. 22 years of independence and corruption.

    • James said:

      I suppose you’d prefer a economically vibrant and corruption lacking future as in Portugal, Greece, Bosnia, Italy, and Ireland. Great future.

      • HARUT CHANTIKIAN said:

        I LIVED IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE CONSTITUTION WAS SUSPENDED, AND THE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT WAS RESTRICTED. SECRET POLICE WILL VISIT A RESIDENCE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, AND TAKE A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY AWAY IN CUSTODY.
        FREEDOM – GEORGEMARDIG – FREEDOM

  2. Ani said:

    Excellent article. Business as usual in Washington. Every war or coup d’etat is about how the US and its corporations can make vasts amounts of money. It’s the only way to sustain the American empire otherwise it will collapse. The involvement of the US in the Middle East for the last 60-70 years is proof of that.

  3. Hratch said:

    The author wants to make it sound like it’s all about money. Of course someone’s always going to make money in everything that happens. When a person is born, someone makes money. When a person dies, someone makes money. When a person gets sick, someone’s going to make money. When a person flushes the toilet, someone is going to make money, etc…..

    We should be so lucky that there are such organizations with brilliant people to plan and execute such a scheme. What better way to curtail oligarchies and dictators who use tyranny and oppression against their weak peoples.

  4. karakeuz said:

    Another episode of regime change. This time the outcome has been a grandiose fiasco. The USA has no business, aside for its imperialistic expansion, interfering in Eastern Europe. The self appointed government in Kiev, western puppets and manequins ,will be the undertakers of the break up of the Ukraine. The reaction to this ” regime change” was predictable. It can not be expected that ethnic Russians comprising the majority in the Eastern Ukraine, Kharkov, Donetz, Odessa ( not to mention Russian Crimea) Dniepertrovs and other areas , will accept to live under the Kiev regime; who is openly hostile and antagonistic of everything Russian.. Self determination of the peoples is paramount; it trumps territorial integrity in its legal sense. The XX century Wilsonian concept which fuelled, amongst other races and etnias, the Armenian awareness for self determination and reivindication of nationhood. In Artsakh, Armenia is vindicating her right to self determination and Artsakhs inalieanble right to integrate with the motherland. In the Ukranian mess and crisis the West has created, they ought to understand that they are not dealing with jockeys at the horse races, but with a superpower with enormous natural resources,massive military strength and scientific acumen. Russia has every right to defend her ethnics; and her ethnics have every democratic right to chose their own destiny.

  5. GB said:

    Russia and Putin know how to play ENERGIZED democracy, and Snowden card!

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