As President Biden looks to provide Europe with viable options for energy security and enable our allies to join a sanctions effort that would bring the Russian petrostate to its knees, he has summoned the spirit of America’s foremost pioneer of transatlantic relations, George C. Marshall. However, a more fitting pioneer would be George P. Mitchell.
George Mitchell revolutionized the world, not through federally backed programs to reconstruct the European continent after World War II, but through the development of hydraulic fracturing. This innovation, coupled with advancements in horizontal drilling, changed not only the way the world looked at energy – putting to rest the notion of peak oil – but changed the way the world viewed the United States.
The “Shale Revolution” paved the way for the United States to become energy independent and a leading exporter of oil and natural gas, and the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – another U.S. innovation.
President Biden has certainly not hidden his desire to eliminate fossil fuels from the global economy, and his administration continues to advocate for climate brinksmanship – leveraging the current energy crisis to force a rapid clean energy transition. This approach, however, has overlooked the near-term security and environmental benefits of plentiful U.S. shale resources, particularly the benefits for Europe.
This will need to be changed, if not significantly curbed. A plan to aid our European allies and punish Russia’s aggression will require an unhindered market capable of attracting the necessary capital and resources to increase production and grow export operations.
Despite repeated warnings from the United States over the years, Europe finally recognized the threat posed by its dependence on Russian energy supplies and announced a plan to eliminate this dependence in 5 years. Just last week, President Biden announced the creation of a joint U.S.-EU task force to help achieve this.
This will undoubtedly require investment, construction, and the expansion of energy trade with key oil and natural gas suppliers. However, the task force President Biden should focus on is already assembled in the Permian Basin and the Marcellus and Utica shale plays; they just need the green light from his administration.