As quoted in this article, in a Fox and Friends interview, Representative Michael Waltz of Florida claimed that

Biden’s failed energy policies are directly leading to instability around the world. When Biden shuts down American pipelines, American drilling, puts regulation on our fracking, and moves us away from energy independence, he’s moving the world towards Russian oil and gas

making the implication that such actions enable an aggressive Russian foreign policy that is manifesting itself in Ukraine. Are his claims true, and how is American energy policy related to Russian foreign policy?

  • 2
    Asking if a published claim is true is a better fit for Skeptics. I suggest you ask about that there, as you'll likely get a better answer.
    – divibisan
    Jan 28, 2022 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


This claim is debated. Politics is a complex system, with no repeatable control experiments.

  • Russia is selling gas to Western Europe. They have done so since the Cold War days, and so far they have kept their contractual obligations.
  • They are also selling to Central and Eastern Europe, and there they have used price increases (many formerly Communist nations used to pay less than global market prices) and selective cutoffs during negotiations for pressure. There were practical limits on cutoffs -- as long as gas to Germany or Italy goes through Ukraine, they cannot simply stop pumping gas to Ukraine.
  • Nord Stream 2 would allow Russia to continue selling to Germany while fighting in Ukraine.
  • The previous US administration suggested to switch from Russian gas to American gas. That cannot be done at a moment's notice. It would require LNG terminals at the coast, possibly a few new pipelines (or at least reversing the flow in existing ones), and a termination of long-running contracts.
    It was also more expensive and, due to fracking, perceived as even more environmentally damaging. Europeans are ambivalent about burning gas. Better than burning lignite or producing nuclear waste, but not renewable, either.
    Parts of Europe saw that as an instance of America First, at the expense of the global environment and European money. Other parts of Europe saw it as prudent risk reduction. Yet other parts of Europe saw it as war-mongering.

So if the plan is to prepare Europe for a shooting war against Russia, then Europe should build LNG tankers instead of pipelines and sign long-term contracts with US suppliers (who can then invest in large fracking capacities). But then both the US and the rest of NATO have so far excluded fighting for Ukraine if Russia invades.

It is also relevant if the West is talking about the options for economic sanctions, which it does. The West could leave gas out of any sanctions package, and keep the conflict below this "economic MAD" level, but that would reduce pressure.

  • 1
    Sense of scale to customer-cost issue: the rule of thumb for LNG liquefecation- and shipping-cost was approximately $3/MMBtu. Gas pipeline transport a fraction of that. When EU prices were in the $6-8 / MMBtu neighborhood, this $3 difference was a deciding factor. It's less of a factor with global natgas prices at the top of their historical range, around $25/MMbtu this month for the Dutch TTF index (looking at Jun '22 futures, but roughly flat going out to 2023). It should be understood that this price will again collapse hard, the industry is wildly cyclical.
    – Pete W
    Jan 28, 2022 at 13:54
  • 1
    @PeteW, also remember that quite a lot is traded on very-long-term contracts; the spot market swings more wildly.
    – o.m.
    Jan 28, 2022 at 14:28
  • 1
    Worth noting that a couple of months ago EU recognized nuclear energy and natural gas as sustainable resources, e.g., see here. This doesn't make them renewable, but, given the well-developed technology, they are probably quite competitive, vis-à-vis other green energies. In this light France is to restart building nuclear reactors. Apr 8, 2022 at 9:40
  • 1
    @RogerVadim, not "sustainable" but "desirable as an intermediate step on the way to full sustainability." Gas is less problematic than lignite from the ecological viewpoint.
    – o.m.
    Apr 8, 2022 at 10:24

This is a partial answer only, but the claim that:

Biden’s failed energy policies . . moves us away from energy independence, he’s moving the world towards Russian oil and gas

is just plain false.

The U.S. is, for all practical purposes, energy independent. The U.S. is a net exporter of oil, the natural gas that it imports comes almost entirely from Canada, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago, and it important no Russian natural gas and only negligible amounts of Russian petroleum products.

In general, so far, there has been virtually no transoceanic trade in natural gas, because the infrastructure to ship natural gas with liquified natural gas (LPG) is very modest, because it is much cheaper to ship natural gas via pipelines than LPG terminals. So, U.S. fracking policies have essentially no impact whatsoever on the markets for Russian natural gas.

The U.S. has banned Russian oil and gas imports to the U.S. The U.S. supports global sanctions limiting Russian oil exports.

U.S. environmental limitations on fracking do reduce global supplies of petroleum which is easily exported via oil tankers and does influence global petroleum prices, although the U.S. is hardly the biggest player in the global oil export market and fracking driven supplies only influence global petroleum prices at the margins because fracking is one of the highest cost of production forms of oil production. The U.S., in general, is a high cost producer of petroleum, so its potential oil exports are really only a factor when oil prices are very high due to non-U.S. related circumstances.

Also, any claim related to "Biden’s energy policies" need to look at those policies as a whole, and not merely their take on fracking. Biden's energy policies require motor vehicles sold in the U.S. to be much more fuel efficient, which reduces global demand for petroleum and thus weakens Russia's economy (which is heavily dependent upon oil and gas revenues) and weakens the foreign policy power that Russia derives from its large role as a provide of oil to Europe.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .