The American Petroleum Institute (API) is taking advantage of the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to push for pro-oil policies at home.
In a Twitter thread published Wednesday around 9 p.m., just a few hours before Russia began its invasion, the lobbying group, which represents hundreds of corporations from across the oil and gas industry, published a series of infographics with tips for policies it believes will “ensure energy security at home and abroad.”
“1) Release Permits for Energy Development on Federal Lands,” the thread begins. “2) Issue U.S. Offshore Leasing Plan for Next Five Years. 3) Accelerate Energy Infrastructure Permitting. 4) Reduce Legal & Regulatory Uncertainty.”
The tweets were severely ratioed by users pointing out the parasitism inherent in using a geopolitical crisis that will undoubtedly threaten the safety, environment and energy security of an entire nation to push for policies that will empower the US oil sector. The unfortunate truth is that Europe will have to increasingly rely on American oil in the short term as NATO nations enact sanctions on Russia, and America’s oil companies are trying to use that to push for a favorable regulatory environment.
“Congratulations. Disaster Capitalism at its finest 👏,” one user replied.
“It is pretty clear that you are seeing the war between Russia and Ukraine with dollars in your eyes,” wrote another.
This not the first time that the American fossil fuel industry has not-so-subtly hinted at how beneficial a slow on oil trade from Russia— via sanctions, export halts, or the stoppage of the Nord-Stream 2 natural gas pipeline—could be for them.
“The Russia-Ukraine standoff and its potential to gravely impact Europe’s economic and energy security have spotlighted a point we’ve made for some time now – that the world is a better, safer place when America is leading the way on energy,” Mark Green, blogger for the API wrote in a post on Feb. 17.
The post goes on to outline the U.S.’ increase in exports of liquified natural gas to Europe since the start of 2022: LNG exports to Europe from the US were higher than those from Russia, a stat that Green says is “significant — for Europe’s safety and global stability.”
“Promoting U.S.-sourced liquid natural gas, or LNG, as a viable alternative to Russian gas in Europe has been a long-standing fixture of U.S. foreign policy,” environmental columnist Kate Aronoff wrote in The New Republic Wednesday. “Now LNG champions have the perfect excuse to double down.”
“The fossil fuel industry itself seems almost giddy at the prospect of further disruption,” she wrote. “Escalating tensions have already helped it fetch high prices abroad and a privileged audience with U.S. and European governments … in the next few months, the conflict could lead U.S. and EU authorities to greenlight long-term contracts with European buyers as well as new infrastructure at home and abroad.”
The value of U.S. oil stock spiked Thursday morning following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, news that groups like the API will likely latch onto. But Aronoff, among other environmentalists, believes they shouldn’t. Rather, a looming energy crisis should be a reason to build out renewable power and make Europe energy-independent; building out heat pumps and taking steps to increase energy efficiency would be a start, she writes.
Twitter users in the API’s replies seem to agree.
“You know what would work better?,” one user replied to the API’s suggestion of loosening of US oil and gas regulations. “Kicking our fossil fuel addiction and going renewable.”