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Putin Just Pushed the World into an Even Bigger Energy Crisis

Author: Brenda Shaffer

Affiliation: U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Senior Advisor for Energy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Policy

Date/Place: February 28, 2022/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 1626



Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, Energy, USA, Biden, Trump, Canada, and Putin


The article serves as a warning and call for mainly the US and Europe to “fundamentally reassess their energy policies”, in fear of a potential energy crisis in the wake of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The ever-increasing prices of crude oil will affect various energy sources, including LNG and coal. The article calls back to the 1973 energy crisis, illustrating how the West might face a similar crisis as a result of the sanctions imposed on Russia. Yet, the article also stresses that even without the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, fundamental changes to energy policies are needed. The author acknowledges that energy security has always been a concern. Oil markets are already stretched and there is not much scarcity to compensate for the US’s decreasing production in light of COVID-19, which, in turn, increased energy consumption due to the rising need for masks and other disposable materials, and the decreased use of public transportation. Moreover, demand has already returned to pre-pandemic levels. While the US has the key to solve this potential crisis, the author stresses that the US is underutilizing its production capacity due to Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies. The White House has already reiterated that it will not change its policies. The Biden Administration’s reasoning is its seeking to reduce energy inflation ahead of the midterm elections, and its banking on a deal with Iran. However, in the author’s view, this will simply be a temporary blip, seeing that there is not as much Iranian oil as the US believes, and the fact that most countries are circumventing the existing US sanctions anyway. The situation in Europe seems unpromising due to the EU’s policies that have pushed for ending most long-term gas supply contracts to increase the use of renewable energy. In contrast, countries that maintained said contracts, such as Italy and Greece, are faring better than their counterparts. The author calls for EU countries to be honest about the fact that renewable energy is nowhere near ready to be a substitute for fossil fuel energy. Weather-dependent energy sources need energy as well. By promulgating the fiction that fossil fuel can be phased out easily, the US and Europe have given Putin significant leverage over energy prices, as many European countries are rediscovering the concept of energy security.

By: Mohammad Ali, CIGA Research Intern



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