After cancelling the Keystone pipeline and doing pretty much everything else he could think of to kill American energy production Joe Biden has a solution to the outrageous energy prices that are killing the economic future of America’s working families:
Go hat in hand to Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting States and beg them to pump more oil.
Biden said at a news conference following the G20 meeting in Rome, "I do think that the idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is not, is not, right," according to reporting by Russian TASS.
"It [OPEC+'s decision to keep a lid on output increases] has profound impact on working class families just to get back and forth to work," Biden said according to NPR.
If his plan was to outsource U.S. energy security to Russia Biden could have put the United States in a better bargaining position by holding off removing Trump’s sanctions on the Nordstream 2 pipeline project until he got some firm commitments from Putin.
Instead, he dropped the sanctions unilaterally giving the Russian dictator a huge economic and geopolitical advantage.
And Putin is taking every advantage he can from Biden’s weakness and folly.
As the New York Times reported on Saturday, according to Russian media reports, natural gas, already in short supply in Europe this fall, began moving away from Germany and back toward the east in an unusual reversal in a major Russian pipeline.
Andrew E. Kramer, a reporter at the New York Times’ Moscow Bureau noted, the Kremlin has a track record of using gas politically. In the 2000s, Russia twice cut supplies to a Western-leaning government in Ukraine, causing widespread shortages throughout Eastern Europe and leaving people shivering in unheated apartments in mid-January.
Now, reported Mr. Kramer:
Analysts say Russia has for weeks now been slow to supply fuel to make up for shortfalls, often by limiting deliveries to its own storage facilities. The reversal of the direction of flow on the major Yamal-Europe pipeline was seen as a potential new wrinkle.
The pipeline connects Russia to Germany and crosses Belarus and Poland. It accounts for about 20 percent of Russia’s overland supply capacity to the European Union, suggesting a significant shortfall if its operations were halted.
A report by the state news agency, Tass, offered no explanation for the change of direction. It cited a German-based energy company, Gascade, saying flows had stopped and even slightly reversed in the Yamal-Europe pipe, sending gas eastward from Germany to Poland.
Everyone who understands the gas business knows that’s not how it works: Compressor stations along the pipeline maintain the flow of gas regardless of whether families in Germany turn on their furnaces.
So, if the gas isn’t flowing West, it is because it isn’t being pumped or because there is no supply, and both of those factors are under the control of the Kremlin.
This energy warfare puts us in mind of Ronald Reagan’s economic warfare that brought down the old Soviet Union.
Reagan sent CIA Director William Casey around the world to get petroleum exporting countries to pump more oil and drive the price down to cripple the Soviet economy, which was heavily dependent on oil and gas exports for foreign exchange.
Every time Casey’s big black unmarked C-141 would show up in Saudi Arabia the price of oil would drop, and the Soviet economy would take another hit.
Given the opportunity presented by Biden’s crippling of American energy production, it looks like the Russians are pulling a reverse of that play. By carefully modulating the supply of gas to Europe, Putin can either inflict economic pain, or perhaps even bring down the economy of countries with which Russia is at odds with, such as Poland and Ukraine.
And reap the benefit of higher prices.
Natural gas prices in Europe — which imports 90% of its supply, largely from Russia — are five times higher than at the start of the year. Reserves depleted last winter were not sufficiently refilled during the warm months to calm concerns about shortages during the winter heating season, reported the Associated Press.
Given the Biden administration’s alienation of Saudi Arabia there’s little reason to think the Saudis will step in to help, as they did during the Reagan years, and that means higher prices and energy warfare are here to stay until Americans elect a more energy production friendly administration.
Nordstream 2 pipeline
natural gas shortages