Russia’s Energy Clout is Waning, (Wall Street Journal, G. Kanchev, J. Wallace January 17, 2023) outlined a way to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine without firing a shot.
In his first month as President, Biden kept his campaign promise to end Americans’ use of fossil fuel. “I guarantee you we are going to end fossil fuel and I am not going to cooperate with them (fossil fuel industry), OK?”. President Biden blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline, curtailing oil and gas leases, increasing taxes and fees for oil and natural gas pumped out of the ground. (1,2)
The price of oil and natural gas rose. In his first month in office, the price of a barrel of oil was $51. In February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the price was $89 per barrel.(3) Putin can pay for the invasion.
During the Trump administration when the US was a net exporter of oil and natural gas, the price for a barrel fluctuated between a low of $17 to a high of $73. Experts say that Russia’s fiscal break-even for a barrel of oil is between $60 to $70 per barrel.(4) At the price of oil during the Trump administration, Russia was experiencing economic recession and financial hardship. There was unrest in the streets of Moscow.
End the Russian invasion of Ukraine without firing a shot. Instead of placing a cap on the price of Russia’s oil exports in an attempt to limit fossil fuel earnings that support the invasion of Ukraine(5), the United States should open drilling and return to being a net exporter of oil and natural gas. Drive down the price so Vladimir Putin cannot afford the cost of a war. To enhance the economic blow, ship the oil and natural gas to China and India. Undercut the price they are paying for Russian oil.
Now, Putin cannot afford the war in Ukraine and will be forced to pull his troops out. End the invasion without firing a shot.