Natural gas, unlike oil, has never been a major strategic preoccupation for U.S. foreign policy. The country was historically a net gas importer, but self-sufficiency was relatively high, and imports came mostly from Canada, raising few geopolitical or energy security concerns. In the 2000s, the United States was worried that it might become reliant on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, but that moment passed quickly. If the United States ever had a grand strategy vis-à-vis global gas, it could be summarized simply. In Europe, the United States wanted diversity of supply, which meant access to non-Russian gas; and in Asia, it wanted liquidity, meaning a relaxation of rigid contract terms and a move away from oil indexation as the pricing mechanism for LNG.
But the growth in U.S. gas supply, and now exports, has created a new reality. The United States is a major global gas player—by far the largest producer in the world, and quite possibly, in the 2020s, the largest LNG exporter. Yet this change has not produced a new grand strategy. So far, the instinct is to promote U.S. LNG exports—selling gas abroad is the number one priority, especially for the Trump administration. This is a logical place to start, but it is not enough, especially since the push is mostly in the form of advocacy, rather than accompanied by a serious policy agenda or toolkit to support exports or gas consumption. More than ever, the United States needs a new global gas strategy.
Our Take: Nikos Tsafos, a former consultant to the State of Alaska on oil and gas issues, makes a great case for a global gas strategy for the US.
‘Eco-colonialism’: Rift grows between Indigenous leaders and green activists
Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, January 4, 2018
With flowing long hair, stoic expression and tribal garb, Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in north-central British Columbia, more than looked and acted the part of an aggrieved leader in the epic fight against the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline. He was quoted in the campaign’s news releases, filed complaints to the United Nations and spoke defiantly to investors. Environmental group Stand.earth even described him as the “poster boy” for Indigenous opposition to Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline. The $7-billion pipeline was eventually cancelled last year, but Louie didn’t actually want to sink the project. Lost in the heat of the public battle was that he really just wanted to win more money for his impoverished community than the “ridiculous” $70,000 a year being offered by the company.
Our Take: An oldie but a goodie. A reminder of the “ends justify the means” policy that green activists follow in order to stop resource development – no matter who they hurt.
Wheeler: Trump admin might ‘re-examine’ climate science
Jean Chemnick, E & E Climatewire, May 10, 2019
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler used an overseas gathering of environment ministers this week to hint that the United States might overhaul the way it uses climate data and modeling. Five days after his assertion was included in an official document from the Group of Seven meeting in Metz, France, it remains unclear if Wheeler revealed a potential policy to reexamine climate modeling. It’s become common for the United States to have its own climate and energy paragraph in multilateral statements, and on Monday, Wheeler broke away from the six other nations on issues like the Paris Agreement, providing support for poor and climate-affected countries, and overseas investments in fossil fuels
US State Department announces plans for a diplomatic presence in Greenland
Krestia DeGeorge, Arctic Today, May 9, 2019
The U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it plans to establish a presence in Greenland. The announcement was made as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a planned visit there to return to Washington, D.C. early from a trip that included his participation in the Arctic Council’s biannual ministerial meeting in Finland. It included few details, such as a timeline and whether the presence would be a full-fledged consulate or take some other form. The announcement was quickly welcomed by Greenland, a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark which has recently expanded its own representations abroad, and now has a diplomatic presence in Washington, Ottawa, Copenhagen, Brussels and Reykjavik. “Greenland is a part of North America. Not only geographically, but also through our ethnicity, culture and language, which we share with Inuit across Alaska and Arctic Canada,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Ane Lone Bagger in a statement. “However, despite our geographical closeness, cooperation and economic exchange between Greenland and the U.S. could be much more evident.”