Biden visits Ukraine, will suggest fracking to increase natural gas production

One of the energy issues Ukraine is currently dealing with is the high cost of natural gas imported into the country from Russia. I wrote about the situation earlier this month. During Vice President Biden’s visit, the U.S. delegation plans on providing some advice to the country on how to increase gas production … fracking!

Ironic. From a Reuters piece on Biden’s visit.

A U.S. official told reporters on Monday that Biden would discuss energy security with Ukraine’s leaders, including ways to increase domestic production of natural gas. Kiev currently relies heavily on gas supplies from Moscow.

Biden told the legislators it would take time for Ukraine to achieve energy security but it was within the country’s power to do so.

“Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: keep your gas. It would be a very different world,” he said.

And just how would Ukraine be able to increase domestic production of natural gas? From John Fund at National Review.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev today meeting with Ukrainian leaders. One of the gifts he is bringing is a package of technical assistance on how to boost production in Ukrainian natural gas fields and the extraction of what one U.S. official accompanying Biden called “unconventional” gas resources. In the U.S., we call that “fracking,” the procedure by which fluid is injected into cracks in rocks to force them open, allowing oil and gas to flow out.

Now, fracking does not work everywhere simply because the geological differences around the world, but research indicates fracking would work quite well in Ukraine. From the New York Times last November.

On Tuesday, Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion.

Over five years, Chevron says it hopes to conduct seismic surveys and to drill exploratory wells on a 1.6 million-acre area called the Oleska Block, which is heavy with shale rock deposits. The effort is likely to include hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of the shale rock to see if oil and gas can be produced in commercially viable amounts.

Of course, the environmentalists out there are not in favor of fracking because they think the water supply will be contaminated. Russia actually expressed their “deep concern” about fracking in Ukraine. But hypocrisy exists outside of the U.S., as Russia has employed fracking techniques to get oil for years. My emphasis.

On several occasions in late 2013 and early 2014, Russian officials have warned Europeans against following the U.S. lead in exploiting domestic natural gas and oil. Moscow has warned Europe that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a substantial danger to the environment and to public health. The irony of this is that Russia itself has been engaged in fracking for several years in Western Siberia and is now using technology acquired from Western companies such as BP to increase the use of vertical and horizontal drilling to extract gas from shale deposits.  The obvious explanation for Moscow’s warnings is an attempt to prevent Europe from developing gas and oil sources, thereby reducing Russian’s near monopoly position in supplying gas to Europe, and especially to the Central Europeans, who are most vulnerable to politically motivated disruption of shipments from Russia.

10 replies
  1. ricbee
    ricbee says:

    Perhaps we should ship that billion we’re giving them in the form of natural gas since we have such a mass.It would be fun to send container ships full of it into the Black Sea.

  2. Linda Mae
    Linda Mae says:

    According to Art Horn, CT meteorologist, fracking is a 60 year-old technology….. Plus, he claims, the article on fracking in the National Geographic was pure bunk. ?He laments their loss of journalistic integrity. ?Jim should ask Art to appear on the show. ?

  3. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Yes, fracking is old hat, but then it’s also current high visibility. As for Russia having a near monopoly position to supply nat gas to Europe, pls check where Norway, The Netherlands and the U.K. rank in world nat gas production.

  4. bien-pensant
    bien-pensant says:

    Remember, this is the regime that decried fracking and anything related to oil as bad. Now the technology is an instrument of foreign policy?
    That it is offered via the court jester, Uncle Joe (“It was worth it!”), is embarrassing. Obama gets a chance to demonstrate some foreign policy leadership, he demurs. But, then, for Obama it has always been preferable to attend fundraisers, write Rights limiting executive orders, redefine Congressional intent and direct his agencies to infringe the Rights of innocent Americans.

  5. ted0224
    ted0224 says:

    The hypocricy of the current administration is boundless. Even Biden(!) understands that what actually works is what needs to be done. Don’t worry, though…his blinders will be firmly back in place by the time his feet step back onto?American soil.

  6. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    So Russia “fracks”, and can, but warns against the Ukraine doing likewise, for ecological reasons.? (wanna bet there would be “fracking” if the Ukraine goes Russian?)
    The U.S. won’t fract, and can, but want’s the Ukraine to “frack”.? No doubt the U.S. under ?bama would discourage them from doing so if they stayed allied to the west.
    Ya can’t tell the players without a program, folks!

    • sammy22
      sammy22 says:

      The U.S. is fracking all over the place and has been doing so since 1949. Currently? “about 95% of completed oil and gas wells in the US are being hydraulically fractured”. The source is Wiki.

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        As they should be, but the ecoliberals (all Democrats by far) are the ones that are against it and its transportation from Canadian fields (yet another Keystone delay, anyone?).? Let’s not even bring up the Gulf oil fields.? More power to the private drilling companies that developed this technology and made us less under the thrall of OPEC.
        I would be happy if ?bama loudly brought up this issue as a means of impeding Putin’s almost inevitable push into Eastern Ukraine, and as a means of weaning the Ukraine off of the Russian gas teat.? Those maps make it look like half of the Ukraine’s available gas falls under the eastern half of the country, and would be under Putin’s control if they get annexed.
        Let’s see if ?bama does the right thing for Ukraine.

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