Hearing Witness Says Biden Energy Policies, European Dependence on Russian Energy Emboldened Putin

021623 Ukraine Energy 
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Looks at Lessons Learned a Year After Ukraine Invaded.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today said global energy disruptions caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine should serve as a lesson that more U.S. oil and natural gas production is necessary for global stability.

At an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing titled, One Year Later: The Impact of the Russian Federation's War in Ukraine on European and Global Energy Security, Hyde-Smith advocated for the role of U.S. energy, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), in stabilizing markets at home and among U.S. allies.

“The continued Russian hostility makes it necessary for us to analyze everything we can of the crucial role of the United States as a stable source of energy across the globe.  We can only do this with energy policies that allow American energy to flourish, that we can produce and not be paralyzed by policies and agendas that harm production,” Hyde-Smith said.

Dr. Anna Mikulska, a fellow in energy studies at the Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy, told Hyde-Smith that the Biden administration’s early actions to restrict U.S. oil and natural gas production factored into Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine.

“How did the Biden administration’s early action to restrict U.S. oil and natural gas production aid Russia’s plan for energy dominance to flourish?” Hyde-Smith asked.

“I think it allowed Vladimir Putin to feel sure that the invasion that he was planning would actually put a bigger hardship on Europe, for example.  So that kind of probably emboldened President Putin in getting [on] with his plans.  Thankfully these plans did not realize but this was because of the way that U.S. LNG exports were ramped up,” Mikulska responded.  “When we look at the exports and how they were ramped up all towards the peak of capacity, it has been something that is exceptional.  Something that the U.S. industry, not only the government, but U.S. industry helped Europe weather the storm, or at least until now and hopefully going forward.”

In response to Putin’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, American LNG exporters boosted shipments to Europe by more than 137 percent in the first 11 months of 2022 from the same period in 2021.  Those U.S. LNG exports supplied more than half of Europe’s imported LNG and helped it survive a nearly 55 percent plunge in piped shipments from Russia.  

“We witnessed the dangers first hand when the Biden administration enabled Russian energy initiatives before Putin’s invasion.  I believe more can be done to help stabilize energy prices both at home and across the globe if we were to unleash domestic energy production, including oil and gas here in this country,” Hyde-Smith said.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Hyde-Smith joined her committee colleagues in providing President Biden with a plan to regain American energy dominance—one that would benefit Mississippi directly from recommendations regarding new offshore oil and gas lease sales and expedited LNG exports to NATO allies and other U.S. strategic partners.