Why Putin Brought a Gas Pipeline to a Knife Fight

Squeezing the European natural gas supply with winter approaching is a tactic in Russia’s war with Ukraine, but the global consequences could mean a resurgence of coal.

Why Putin Brought a Gas Pipeline to a Knife Fight

Squeezing the European natural gas supply with winter approaching is a tactic in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine, but the global consequences could mean a resurgence of coal. (Source: Hart Energy photo illustration; 42nd Street in Manhattan/Shutterstock.com)

A recent panel of three natural gas experts discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent global energy crisis made two major points:

  • The situation didn’t have to be this bad; and
  • Without taking significant actions, it could get a lot worse.

The U.S. and allies responded to the Feb. 24 invasion with sanctions meant to exact a high price from Russia. But high prices go both ways.

“Western sanctions have a goal of degrading Russia as an energy supplier,” said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners LLC, during an Energy Dialogues webinar hosted by Baker Botts. “That’s an interesting proposition because, if it succeeds, we’re looking at a potentially sustained shortage of energy.”

Tensions between energy haves and energy have-nots could strain alliances, he said, noting that some friendships between countries could be tested now that energy supply is no longer secure. To be blunt, Book said, when energy stops, the bets are off.

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers markets and provides data analysis for all Hart Energy editorial products.