Report: Exploiting Ukraine War for LNG Expansion

In an investigation targeting the “shock doctrine” practices of the gas industry, Greenpeace is calling on policymakers in both the U.S. and EU to move away from expanding LNG infrastructure before it’s too late.

(Natural Gas Monthly/U.S. Energy Information Administration)

By Olivia Rosane
Common Dreams

In what it calls “one of the most blatant examples of the ‘shock doctrine,'” a Greenpeace report released this week reveals how the gas industry took advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to lock Europe and the U.S. into building new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure that threatens the well-being of both frontline communities and the entire planet.

Projects approved in the U.S. alone could, by 2030, push its exports past what the International Energy Agency has budgeted for the entire global LNG trade if world leaders want to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and stop global warming at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the report said.

“Our investigation exposes the truth behind the corporate and political push for more fossil gas imports from the U.S. to European countries: The bottom line is that fossil gas only profits the industry, it is dirty, toxic, not needed, and not wanted,” said Anusha Narayanan, climate campaign director with Greenpeace USA.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 sent the EU into an energy crisis as it scrambled to prepare for the following winter without relying on Russian gas — which supplied almost 40 percent of the bloc’s gas in 2021. The U.S. rushed to fill in the gap, with the EU’s imports skyrocketing by 140 percent in 2022, making the bloc the world’s top importer of U.S. gas.

However, the solution pushed by the gas industry in both countries was not a stop-gap measure to keep homes warm in the short-term while building up renewable energy capacity to insure against similar crises in the future, as Greenpeace details in the report titled Who Profits From War – How Gas Corporations Capitalise from War in Ukraine

Instead, the EU’s REPowerEU plan invested $20.9 billion in gas infrastructure. The bloc has already started building eight liquefied gas terminals and has proposed 38 more. In the U.S., new gas infrastructure approved so far would double export capacity to 439 billion cubic meters per year.

Many of the gas contracts last 10 to 15 years, and most of the projects won’t even begin working until 2026, too late to satisfy the initial need but in plenty of time to spew greenhouse gasses into the air during a critical decade for climate action. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on March 24, 2022, during a session that MPs used to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, urge further sanctions on Moscow and “protect the European economy.” (European Parliament, Flickr, CC-BY-4.0)

According to Greenpeace’s estimate, the new European infrastructure would emit 950 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year while U.S. export terminals — including those in operation, under construction, and approved for construction — would emit 1,824 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year. Taken together, that’s the yearly equivalent of adding 604 million new cars to the roads.

“The gas industry is using today’s news — the war and the energy crisis–to try to lock in more gas for decades, even though the industry knows it’ll be disastrous for the climate and international stability,” senior research fellow at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme Ben Franta said in a DeSmog report cited by Greenpeace.

That report detailed how the gas industry changed its messaging following Russia’s invasion from emphasizing the “energy transition” to “energy security.”

(Wikideas1, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)


In the 10 months before Feb. 24, 2022, four major industry groups only tweeted about energy security 3 percent of the time. Afterwards, the number of tweets on the theme skyrocketed by more than 10 times. In the lead up to RePowerEU, one of these groups — Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) — lobbied policy makers for more LNG projects and argued that their focus should be less on 2050 climate targets and more on the immediate crisis.

“The extreme energy prices of last year, and the current threats to security of supply require a focus on the shorter term,” the group said.

Yet critics warn such a shorter-term focus would have disastrous consequences for everyone except fossil fuel companies, who have already made record profits off the energy crisis. 

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has called on both the U.S. and the E.U. to bump up their carbon neutrality deadlines to 2040, and, to limit warming to 1.5°C, the E.U. needs to stop burning gas by 2035. 

The new infrastructure is not required to meet current needs, Greenpeace said. The U.S. already has enough in place to increase short-term exports to Europe, and, despite last year’s crisis, according to the IEA, natural gas demand in the bloc actually fell its farthest ever in 2022 by 55 billion cubic meters.

The Cameron LNG liquefaction export facility in Hackberry, Louisiana. (Cameron LNG)

Yet, beyond interfering with its decarbonization timeline, the E.U.’s pivot from Russian gas via pipeline to imported LNG also threatens its climate goals because LNG is more carbon intensive and often comes from fracked U.S. gas that Greenpeace calls one of “the most polluting and dirty forms of energy in the world.”

The use of fracked gas also exacts an environmental justice cost. Most of the new U.S. export infrastructure is being funded by EU banks, despite the fact that many of these banks have a ban on financing fracking and many EU countries have also banned the practice within their borders because of health and environmental concerns.

Living near oil and gas activity — including fracking —has been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, low birth rates and other health impacts. All but one of the U.S. LNG terminals either in operation or under construction is located in an area considered “disadvantaged” by the Sierra Club.

July 2014: The Lost Hills Trailer Park in the San Joaquin Valley of California near fracking activity in the nearby Lost Hills Oil Field. (Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Community advocate John Beard of Texas, lives near three such terminals: the “Sabine Pass LNG” — the nation’s largest terminal —the under-construction “Golden Pass LNG,” and the Port Arthur LNG project.

“There is no such thing as ‘freedom’ gas,” he told Greenpeace. “It comes with a cost. That cost is the lives and health of people in the Gulf South and deadly climate consequences worldwide.”

Greenpeace is calling on policymakers in both the U.S. and E.U. to move away from expanding LNG infrastructure before it’s too late.

Among other things, the advocacy group recommended that the EU stop using fossil gas by 2035 and phase out LNG even earlier; cancel all plans to build new terminals and expand current ones; and both stop long-term export contracts and prevent existing ones from being extended.

In the U.S., the Biden administration should stop approving new projects that would worsen the climate crisis, stop approving LNG exports, and put its political weight behind ending international funding for LNG and other fossil fuels at the upcoming G7, G20, and COP28 conferences.

“Citizens voted for transformative climate action,” Narayanan said. “Governments must lead in the climate fight, not be puppeteered by gas operators who sacrifice the health and safety of communities simply to boost their profits.”

Olivia Rosane is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

23 comments for “Report: Exploiting Ukraine War for LNG Expansion

  1. vinnieoh
    May 1, 2023 at 12:09

    Well, well… I’ve stated several times over the past several years why the US LNG push is so dangerous and all I got was “What the hell are you talking about?” I also stated at least once how it is impossible to continue to provoke, promote, and support the war in Ukraine as Joe Biden do, and pretend to be working towards climate responsibility, as Joe Biden does. Those two efforts are diametrically opposed. BTW all you Trump loyalists, the orange man also is gung-ho for US LNG exports, so don’t bring that fool into the conversation.

  2. Bob McDonald
    May 1, 2023 at 11:29

    LNG is a major security concern for Europe. Those huge watermelon shaped LNG carriers will be juicy targets for missiles and torpedoes. If one were to take a direct hit while in port, it would level the surrounding area like a small nuclear bomb. Also, if liquefaction and regasification facilities are hit it will take months if not years to repair them. Europe will likely have to fight it’s next war without natural gas for heating, manufacturing and electricity.

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 1, 2023 at 16:45

      Mr. McDonald is correct!

      The plot thickens!

      Just as I continue to say, this entire situation could have and should have been handled much differently!

      LNG is a great product when it is safe and secure, two conditions seriously lacking in war zones.

      There has been a oil tanker explosion of the east coast of Malaysia see Whats going on with shipping on the Utube!

      Presently the U.S. is exporting LNG world wide. What could go wrong!

  3. robert e williamson jr
    April 30, 2023 at 21:07

    I guess this article is okay. I also suspect that very few are surprised by what has happened. If any0ne is surprised the need to reconsider their priorities,

    I bought and read Bob Baer’s SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL in October of 2003 soon after it came out. Twenty years ago now. Somehow he got it cleared by his ex-employer, CIA, and approved for publication although some redactions are included in the book. I didn’t know much about the oil business and world wide marketing and I learned a substantial amount reading Chapter 4, / Saudi Arabia – Washington’s 401(k) Plan starting on page 39.

    I would suggest anyone interested who still doesn’t know what happened with the Saudis here go get a copy and start by reading Chapter 4, which might “kick start” the interested individual into learning about the convoluted plan by America to get the best of the Saudis with this 401k deal. It was a petro-dollar thing.

    Before I retired early on in 2007 utilities started to hedge their bets on nuke power by building natural, gas, which is methane, fired electrical generation plants in the U.S. many being large jet turbine generators for peak power production and some for heating boiler for stream turbine electrical generation. about that time fracking for natural gas had started in earnest.

    Climate change be damned, the U.S. was determined not to get caught short. Fighting wars of choice when the planet is overheating is asinine. Unless, that is, all your oil company neocon buddies are helping you call the shots with respect to the world wide oil business. Say like Haliburton and the Carlyle Group.

    This book will teach you that D.C. has been for sale ever since the Nixon administration. The Saudis were the first to learn just how easy it was to buy influence there. The story is in Baer’s book.

    Distracted by the horrors of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan Americans celebrated some of the cheapest gas and food prices world wide. Not any more. Once the Saudis realized how bad they had gotten screwed it didn’t take long for things to go to hell. Remember 911? Pay attention!

    With Russia’s economy flailing one could see their oil & gas were the mainstay if they had any chance of beating back hard times. They failed for a large variety of reasons, while NATO nations, especially the US, applied serious pressure on Putin and his country.

    By 2016 the energy industry, in particular, the oil and gas industries, as I stated earlier were looking more and more toward natural gas and LPG. The industry is and has always been a cut throat business. In daring devil may care “All In “, the US pressured Russia and Putin with being surrounded by close in NATO weapons and never let up, in their so far failed attempts by the neocon brain trust to force Putin to give in to NATO interests.

    The US State Department and Sonny boy Biden’s involvement in the Ukraine Oil industry telegraphed what was to come. The ruse worked and Putin attacked, I should have “bet the farm ” on it in Vegas.

    America’s ruling class once again fosters war and regime change not giving one shit how much trouble and danger the world will be subjected to.

    The Saudis now free to do as the choose are choosing to put it to America and they have so far. See the dangers and pressures being fostered by the Saudis and their new friends , Israel being one of the most notable, on that once almighty petro-dollar.

    Am I surprised? Hardly.

    Ya’ll have a nice evening.

    Thanks CN

  4. Vesa
    April 30, 2023 at 06:28

    This article is a showcase example of reasons why i begin to hate Greenpeace. The same applies to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. All these institutions i supported when i was younger are just whitewashing mouthpieces of US empire. They present Washington propaganda (”russian invasion”) decorated with some small pieces of truth (LNG bad).

      April 30, 2023 at 15:47

      Do you feel the same way about the Normandy invasion? “Invasion” is a neutral word.

      • Vesa
        May 1, 2023 at 14:19

        It was just one example. The article leaves aside everything that happened after the ”invasion”. For example sanctions, nordstream, prolonging the war etc. The article rightfully present that LNG is bad but leaves aside why LNG (and coal) are trending in western world. But this is just what these western funded/led organizations do. They hide the truth behind the ”rightful” issues. The green agenda, gender equality, race issues are all needed but they are too often used to shield cynical agendas like restricting free speech, imperialism, corporation power etc

  5. wildthange
    April 29, 2023 at 21:10

    Secret oil conference immediately after GWB election then 9/11 is the Pearl Harbor like event wished for invasion of Carter/Brzezinski Vietnamized lesson for USSR followed with our own version for Afghanistan and Iraq too.

    Then a coup in Ukraine and provocation for a Russian invasion(ala Afghanistan for another sort of Polish Russia bashing session) with the sanctions, pipeline sabotage, and LNG sales profiting the usual suspect corporations. (is there a religious element to this and the pivot to Asia as well?). Dredging up centuries of old world antipathy to motivate 21st century warfare we can ill afford.

    The LNG requires energy to liquefy then transport at extreme pressure unlike even oil tankers and deliquefy. Decades ago I read Boston said the risks of LNG in their port would risk the entire town if it exploded under pressure.

  6. Richard A. Pelto
    April 29, 2023 at 18:33

    Does anyone seriously think with continuing growth that industrial societies will be energized solely by electricity anytime this century. That is if there is industrial society following about 2050.

  7. DD
    April 29, 2023 at 16:31

    These new LNG projects were well under way by 2018 even though Nordstream II was virtually complete. Because this liquified fuel is uncompetitve with gas the investments are further evidence of the West’s planning for this war.

  8. bardamu
    April 29, 2023 at 15:32

    Yes, the policy, the coup, the retreat from treaties, the explosion of pipelines were all undertaken to expand markets. So has this long been done. Polls are taken to suggest which lies are effective, not to determine what rulers wish to do. Rulers’ concerns put retaining power over general well being or making much work. People up and down hierarchies believe various tall tales about motive, mostly designed to enable each particular craft.


    Policies fit together, to some extent. Healthy ecology involves returning surplus to the system of production–food cycles, carbon cycles, water cycles, reproductive cycles, and the like. Empire attempts to extract without return. Human empire attempts to extract without return for abstractions and delusions, mostly.

    Societies evolve; they don’t much revolve. We stand little to no chance of imposing any useful order top down. But that means that really changing direction rather than just lopping the head off the snake requires time. We have to stop participation in the running catastrophe in every little way that we can, the better to put together an alternate economy and production for the various crises that beset us and that will grow.

    What exactly did citizens of Ukraine do to be sacrificed to Russia? What exactly did citizens of Germany do to have their heating fuel just cut off, with no provisions other than the sale of other fuel at premium, and in short supply?

    The empire eyes Taiwan for further sacrifice.

    “Oh, the Ukrainians won’t be sacrificed because they are White. We might enshrine them in NATO as Europeans.”

    “Oh the Germans will not be sacrificed because they are allies.”

    In many places, some advantages persist in ignoring the character of empire; one need not deal with this or that. But that is surely only because the hand of sacrifice stays momentarily elsewhere. Rulers regard subjects as livestock, with or without affection. We have limited time with which we can get away with indulging their fantasies.

  9. mgr
    April 29, 2023 at 12:11

    “Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can ‘solve’ the climate crisis. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.

    “Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.

    “So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past, and they will ignore us again. We have come to let them know that change is coming, whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago” (Greta Thunberg at COP24).

    Ms. Thunberg is correct in all regards. The response from corporate and political powers has simply been deflection and green-washing ever since. We are using more oil today than ever before. Instead of taking essential action for the survival of our world ecosystem, their efforts have been for managing the narrative of progress while protecting the status quo. Of course, the status quo that they are maintaining is effectively suicide for civilization, death to a survivable future. This is where we stand now as the clock runs out.

  10. JonnyJames
    April 29, 2023 at 12:11

    Do we really think BigFinance, (“private equity” firms, banksters, insurance) the US/UK/EU govts. give a toss about the environment? Do we really think these climate agreements (not legally binding) are anything more than PR and new ways to Profit From Green Energy?

    Let’s not be so naive. The C word and accumulation of capital are seldom if ever mentioned. Economic illiteracy is rampant, and only focusing on superficial aspects does us no service. This is about geopolitical power and BigBusiness.

    And as a result of this, the UK is shipping depleted uranium and other toxic weaponry to Ukraine and blatantly provoking a war that could escalate into nuclear exchange etc. is that good for “the planet”?

  11. incontinent reader
    April 29, 2023 at 11:31

    The article is correct about the polluting effects of fracked gas converted to LNG, but to ban natural gas and nuclear energy (which technology is now highly advanced by the Russians) and instead to rely on solar and wind which do not, and cannot meet the energy needs of Europe, and which have exogenous impacts not calculated by Greenpeace, is nonsense.

    Moreover Greenpeace has become an Atlanticist neocon war party promoting military measures, that have killed or otherwise destroyed the lives of many millions of innocent people and destroyed the environment (and doing so permanently with the use of depleted uranium).

    Better to force a change in Greenpeace’s policies – and arrest and prosecute its war criminal party leaders in Germany and elsewhere in the EU and NATO.

  12. John Zeigler
    April 29, 2023 at 10:27

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I got so sidetracked by the immediate smoke and mirrors show of the Ukraine conflict that I missed that. Many of us in Texas have been protesting the building of an LNG port on our doorstep, but I had foolishly failed to make the logical and factually supported endgame involved. I really hate what the gas and oil people are doing to destroy the planet.

  13. Heinz
    April 29, 2023 at 07:22

    Should anybody wonder about all that? Shouldn’t the common man & GP & al. as well already be able to see that – aside from very few people amongst capital and politics really & honestly occupied with the matter at stake – all that current Western brouhaha about global warming as only one aspect of destroying man’s habitat & »saving the planet« is nothing more than another chapter in the history & ideology of capitalism, and, borrowing from Paul Watzlawick, nothing but a »strategy of failing most successfully« for that matter?.

    The point of no return in terms of global warming f. i. being reached some day, there will be no talking about that theme anymore, instead consumerism squared and those old paroles of man’s tragic fight against the elements requiring full throttle will be the hooters’ hooting.

  14. Rafael
    April 29, 2023 at 04:02

    Hard to know what to make of this dishonest article. Not the American-imposed sanctions but “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” is what “sent the EU into an energy crisis”. And — even more amazingly — there’s not a word about the sabotage of Nord Stream.

    • Selina Sweet
      April 29, 2023 at 12:40

      Rafael – The old adage “It takes two to tango” leads us to ask what was the context in which Putin reactively invaded Ukraine To view the Ukraine debacle as all Russia’s fault is to fuel a most favorite view the USA has of itself as the “innocent” one. Just as the USA had a President that was certifiably an Olympic champion in the art of the con, so the ruling class in the USA also have expertise in that game, but while doing it they are nice enough to remove the floppy tomato soaked spaghetti from their beard. They hide their “set up” better from their marks. To see their set up for which Putin fell, does not mean Putin is not guilty of great perversity, he is. But to be able to see the USA’s role in the scheme of events is to equip yourself with greater discernment/objectivity of the shadow side of the USA. An aspect of wisdom is to harbor fewer and fewer illusions and see more reality.

    • Tim N
      April 29, 2023 at 19:15

      Yes, incredibly, no link was made to the fact that the US provoked the war in order to stop the EU from getting their gas from Russia–among other things. That was the plan. The US doesn’t give a damn about the climate catastrophe, or democracy, or anything outside of dominating the world and making obscene profits off of war and fossil fuel.

  15. shmutzoid
    April 28, 2023 at 19:29

    You can bet the US, after orchestrating the Ukie coup of 2014, anticipated/calculated just how much profit from increased LNG exports would be once Russia was baited into intervening in Ukraine’s civil war. When US sanctions on Russia fell short of their goals, the Nord Stream pipeline was sabotaged to steer Germany into purchasing LNG from the US.

    Reading this article puts in to perspective just what a sham all those COP climate talks are. It’s just blah-blah-blah (thanks Greta). Among capitalist nations, there is NO concern for our biosphere. Period. The US regime – the belly of the beast for global capitalism – suffers from terminal greed and lust for ever expanding profits. It defines our national ethos. The biosphere be damned.

    Note, too, how all but one of all these new LNG terminals will be placed in ‘disadvantaged’ areas. That’s polite talk for poverty stricken neighborhoods. …..,.,.Will we see throngs of racial justice protestors where ground is broken to build these sites ? ..After all, poor people are disproportionately black. ….probably NOT………A few environmentalists, sure. But, the racialist warriors of personal identity are less concerned with material conditions of poor/black people, preferring to revel in the world of “cultural appropriation”, “white privilege”, “white fragility” and other woke concepts that promote a politics of personal aggrievement. Racialist politics, and the politics of personal identity, more broadly, is a very sophisticated campaign to divide working people along identity lines. ………..ANYTHING to keep the people from appreciating their common humanity.

    • Papi Phonic
      April 29, 2023 at 10:18

      Exactly. Indeed it could be said that the gas industry and USG actually created everything in order to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) the only viable option. Climate be damned.

    • JonnyJames
      April 29, 2023 at 11:57

      Great points. Why do we think the NordStream pipelines were blown up? (and Sy Hersh is censored). The US has planned this for years, to make Europe dependent on the US for expensive LNG and cutting off Russia. It’s like a Mafia hit to eliminate the competition.

      Prof. Michael Hudson, for example, called this out a year ago. The article is better late than never, but sounds quite naive. The provocation of Russia and resulting economic blockades and financial warfare is more damaging to Europe than Russia, especially in the long term. Europe will be even MORE subservient to the US and NATO has expanded as an added bonus. More weapons sales, more LNG – it’s great for BigOil and great for the WMD corps. The vassal states of Euroland are bowing and scraping harder than ever.

      Culture war distractions are textbook ways to divide and rule, while the Oligarchy rapes and pillages. That’s why the Mass Media Cartel ignore the most important issues and focus on emotional manipulation. Emotion trumps reason. (no pun intended)

  16. LeZ
    April 28, 2023 at 19:03

    ” . . . the gas industry took advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to lock Europe and the U.S. into building new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure . . . “.

    How about – The many benefits stemming from Washington creating the preconditions for a Russian Armed Forces move into The Ukraine, dating back to the 1990’s, with Dr. Zbigniew Brzezi?ski and friends driving that strategy, now adopted by his protege and one of questionable sanity, Ms. Victoria Nuland.

    ” . . . not a stop-gap measure to keep homes warm in the short-term while building up renewable energy capacity . . . “.
    US industry is not in the business of putting itself out of business.

    Ursula von der Leyen and her condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine, urging further sanctions on Moscow to protect the European economy demonstrates that she is functionally mad, possibly bought off as well and ideologically warped by anti-Russian racism.

    “U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has called on both the U.S. and the E.U. to bump up their carbon neutrality deadlines to 2040 . . . “.
    The UN Janitor is useless and Washington ignores him, unless when telling him what to do. They pay his housekeeping bills.

    ” . . . fracked gas also exacts an environmental justice cost. Most of the new U.S. export infrastructure is being funded by EU banks, despite the fact that many of these banks have a ban on financing fracking and many EU countries have also banned the practice . . . “.
    Of course, but then they are frauds. Who takes serious notice while “the good times roll” just a little longer?

    “Living near oil and gas activity — including fracking —has been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, low birth rates and other health impacts . . . “.
    They know. They don’t care. Within the history of the Hydrocarbon Industry, they never cared. They are not about to care now, nor Washington.

    Now just where did European Green Energy projects go, to be replaced by LNG and coal and some cut forest wood?
    So goes The West . . .

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