As the United States considers its options in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, many have pointed out that, to the extent that Russia’s energy industries are targeted, Europe could be hurt by contracted Russian exports of hydrocarbons. But by specifically targeting new oil and gas projects, while leaving existing fields alone, the West could have its cake and eat it, too. The FT reports:
The plan is to block exports of oil and gas technology only for new projects run by state-controlled companies, with the objective of casting the long-term future of Russia’s energy industry into doubt, while safeguarding its short-term contribution to global fuel supplies.“This situation calls for a scalpel, not a meat axe,” says Robin West of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We need targeted asymmetric sanctions that hurt them more than they hurt us.”
By preventing new oil and gas technology from being used in Russia, the West could throw a wrench in Moscow’s long-term goals, like developing Siberian shale or exploiting new reserves of oil and gas in the melting Arctic circle, without endangering Europe’s energy security in the short-term.