US oil industry uses Ukraine invasion to push for more drilling at home

Some Republican lawmakers have begun to echo demands from the oil and gas industry.

“It is now clearer than ever what is at stake when anti-American energy policies make us and Europe more dependent on Russian oil and natural gas,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington State and Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “I continue to urge President Biden to restore America’s energy dominance. It is our strongest weapon against Putin,” she said.

Biden’s attempts to assuage concerns, promising that his administration will do everything in its power to secure energy independence and “limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump”, have fallen into disrepute. deaf ear.

“You need to do a lot more. You have to get off the necks of American energy producers,” said Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska in a video response. The administration, he said, should relaunch the Keystone XL pipeline, for example — the embattled project that would have transported oil from the Canadian tar sands to Nebraska — and resume issuing drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife. Refuge, one of the largest stretches of untouched land. wild in the United States.

The oil and gas lobby has been less vocal about imposing sanctions on Russia’s own oil and gas capacity. In fact, even as the United States and Western Europe have imposed further economic sanctions and Germany has suspended the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, the Biden administration has so far withheld measures that affect directly Russian energy companies, focusing instead on banks, as well as government officials and their families.

Some of the industry’s biggest drillers, including Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil, are involved in oil and gas projects in Russia.

Aseem Prakash, professor of political science and founding director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington, said continued pressure from the climate community meant Mr Biden was unlikely to backtrack on major climate-related decisions. climate, as its keystone cancellation. pipeline.

“But there could be surreptitious rollbacks, like less aggressive moves in terms of oil or shale leases. And their rhetoric will have to be toned down,” he said, referring to the Biden administration. In places like Pennsylvania, for example, Democrats “just can’t afford to say, ‘Oil prices are going up, but don’t revive shale.’ This is political suicide,” he said.