Big Oil and Political Allies Exploit Ukraine Crisis to Expedite Natural Gas Extraction and Export

Posted March 19, 2014

MP3 Interview with Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, conducted by Scott Harris


A day after the reported overwhelming and controversial 97 percent vote of Crimeans favoring a split from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation, the crisis in Ukraine is now moving to another phase where both the U.S. and European Union have imposed limited economic sanctions against some prominent Russian officials. Despite Western condemnation of the Crimean vote as illegal and illegitimate, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would officially “reunify” with Crimea, but said his nation had no further designs on other parts of Ukraine.

Just before the secession referendum took place, the Crimean government said its “self defense” forces had seized a natural gas terminal just outside Crimea’s border, because Ukraine had turned off the fuel supply, leaving residents without heat or electricity. And not long after the votes were counted, Crimea’s recently installed pro-Russian Parliament moved to nationalize the assets of Ukrainian state property, including several state-owned oil companies. These recent events underscore the importance that energy issues play in the politics and economics surrounding the current Ukraine crisis.

While Ukraine and many European nations depend on Russian natural gas for their energy, one-third of Russia’s oil and gas pipelines cross Ukrainian territory to reach European markets and earn Moscow billions in income. The interdependence of Western Europe and Russia on each other would seem to undermine the willingness of both sides to endure a long conflict with escalating sanctions. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research and educational organization that promotes sustainable energy technologies. Here Bossong talks about the current crisis in Ukraine and assesses the credibility of U.S politicians and energy companies' call to address the Ukraine crisis by fast-tracking construction of American Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals and encourage fracking Ukrainian shale formations for natural gas.

Ken Bossong served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2000 to 2003.

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