Texas Railroad Commissioner warns of Russia sabotaging shale gas industry

Moscow Saint Basil Cathedral cupola
Source: DollarPhotoClub

Is Russia trying to sabotage the development of the U.S. and European gas industry? Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter seems to think so.

A week after Gazprombank hired two former U.S. senators to lobby against anti-Russian sanctions, David Porter penned a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for greater enforcement of these sanctions.

“Gazprom Bank is currently under U.S. sanctions as a result of Russia’s role in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which resulted in the death of 283 passengers, 15 crew members, and at least one American citizen,” Porter wrote. “I am greatly concerned that a blacklisted, government owned, Russian bank is able to continue its campaign to weaken the American oil and gas industry and to hire two former United States Senators to exert pressure on American policymakers.”

David Porter’s concerns are not just limited to sanctions, however. He is concerned that Russia has mounted a concerted effort to undermine the development of natural gas industries in Europe and the U.S.

“According to multiple reports, since 2006 Gazprom has secured contracts with several international public relations and lobbying firms such as Ketchum, whose agreement alone is worth more than $55 million, in an effort to damage the natural gas industry in Europe and the United States.” wrote Porter.

“Their apparent strategy includes funding anti-hydraulic fracturing environmental organizations, placing misinformation in the public, and even mass media propaganda — namely their assistance with the distribution of Gasland, an incredibly deceitful film about hydraulic fracturing in America. Gazprom’s effort, with the assistance of the Kremlin and Ketchum, has already resulted in the ban of hydraulic fracturing in many EU countries, and now, they have their sights set on the U.S.”

Mr Porter’s accusations come after similar suspicions were voiced by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen,.

Mr Rasmussen said in his speech in Chatham House in London, in June: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

On Monday Jill Calcaterra, an executive with Gasland’s U.S. distributor Cindedigm, said director Josh Fox denied Gazprom had any role in financing or distributing his film. “There’s zero connection,” she said.

Gazprom did not release a comment.

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