Report: Natural gas exports could hurt Russian state-owned company

Increasing exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States could reduce revenue at Russia’s state-owned gas company by 18 percent, according to a new report.

The report, released Monday by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, found that increased competition from the United States could hurt Gazprom and lower European natural gas prices.

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“By forcing state-run Gazprom to reduce prices to remain competitive in the European market, US LNG exports could have a meaningful impact on total Russian gas export revenue,” the report said.

But the study predicted a much more modest hit to the Russian government from United States competition, which could reduce the potential for gas to be used as a weapon against the Kremlin.

Researchers also found that Russia would likely remain a top gas supplier for Europe. That would leave Russia in the position to use its energy for its foreign policy goals.

“While painful for Russian gas companies, the total economic impact on state coffers is unlikely to be significant enough to prompt a change in Moscow’s foreign policy, particularly in the next few years,” it said.

The center concluded that the shale gas revolution of recent years in the United States has already changed the world market and put countries in better bargaining positions with Russia.

But natural gas exports from the contiguous United States are still very restricted and subject to federal approval.

Three proposed export terminals have been approved for construction, and lawmakers are pushing the Obama administration to approve more.

Since Russia increased its aggression toward Ukraine earlier this year and annexed the Crimea region, United States policymakers have pushed for natural gas exports as a way to retaliate against Russia and reduce the influence it wields in the region through energy production.