Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, has traditionally used its position as the second-largest exporter of natural gas to the European Union (EU) (Norway is the largest) as a means of flexing its political muscle, especially under the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it appears Russia’s days as the energy bully may be coming to an end, as years of using energy as a blunt political instrument to advance the Kremlin’s agenda and disruptive new technologies for oil and natural gas extraction threaten Gazprom’s bottom line much like Uber and other innovative ride sharing companies have usurped market share from traditional cab companies.
Even with prices 40 percent lower than a year ago, we remain the world’s No. 1 producer of crude oil and other liquid hydrocarbons. Imports of oil have dropped from 60 percent of consumption to about 35 percent just in the past five years. We’re also the world’s largest producer of natural gas.
“Businesses that sell to foreign markets put more people to work in high-quality jobs, offering more Americans the chance to earn a decent wage,” claimed the Obama administration’s Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a March 18 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion piece.