The Trump administration says the U.S. no longer considers conserving oil economically important as President Donald Trump seeks to weaponize the country’s energy sector against Russia.
The Department of Energy announced the policy shift in a memo in August, The Associated Press reported Sunday. The memo comes after the administration rolled back Obama-era fuel mileage standards — the statement also notes the shale boom poised to make the U.S. a top global oil producer.
Booming shale production gives the country more flexibility “to use our oil resources with less concern” for supply or price shocks, according to DOE’s statement. The government still believes in the need to treat energy “wisely,” the memo adds without clarifying what that entails.
The U.S. is expected to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world leader in oil and gas production in 2019.
International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol, for one, recognized the U.S. in January as “the undisputed oil and gas producer in the world over the next several decades” because of the strong predictions of success of the U.S. oil and gas sector over time.
Europe moving toward American natural gas exports could have implications for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who currently benefits from Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to the EU. Natural gas accounts for over one-third of Russia’s federal budget revenues, with over 75 percent of its natural gas exports going to Europe in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration.