Πάρα πολύ ωραίο άρθρο του αριστερού Αμερικανικού περιοδικού Mother Jones για την επίθεση της Χίλαρι Κλίντον στην Ρωσία με αιχμή του δόρατος τις νέες μεθόδους παραγωγής (fracking) φυσικού αερίου από σχιστόλιθο. Το Mother Jones κυκλοφορεί εδώ και 40 χρόνια και έχει περισσότερους από 600 χιλιάδες followers στο Twitter. Είναι θέλω να πω πολύ γνωστό στις ΗΠΑ, αν και σχετικά μικρό περιοδικό, σε σχέση τουλάχιστον με το Time, το Newsweek κλπ. Το Newsweek είναι κεντοαριστερό περιοδικό, το Time έχω την εντύπωση ότι είναι κεντροδεξιό. Πάρα πολύ καλά και τα δύο όμως.
Η παραγωγή φυσικού αερίου και πετρελαίου από σχιστόλιθο ήταν πολύ ακριβή μέχρι την δεκαετία του 2000, οπότε και ανακαλύφθηκε το fracking. Με το fracking η παραγωγή ενός βαρελιού πετρελαίου και αερίου κοστίζει από 40 έως 90 δολάρια, αναλόγως το κοίτασμα.
Το άρθρο γράφει για τις προσπάθειες της Κλίντον να εξάγει την τεχνολογία fracking σε χώρες όπως η Βουλγαρία, η Ρουμανία και η Ουκρανία, ώστε να μειωθεί η επιρροή της Ρωσίας και των άλλων χωρών που παράγουν πετρέλαιο και αέριο. Βλέπε επίσης “Η Αποχώρηση της Chevron και της Shell από την Ουκρανία”.
Παράλληλα με τις προσπάθειες της Κλίντον να πείσει την Βουλγαρία και την Ρουμανία να επιχειρήσουν να εκμεταλλευτούν τα αποθέματα τους σε σχιστόλιθο, ώστε να μην είναι εξαρτημένες από την Ρωσία, σε αυτές τις χώρες δημιουργήθηκαν περιβαλλοντικές οργανώσεις που σχεδόν εξεγείρονταν μπροστά στο ενδεχόμενο της παραγωγής αερίου από σχιστόλιθο.
Οι αρχές της Βουλγαρίας έκαναν καμπάνια λέγοντας ότι η τιμή του φυσικού αερίου θα μπορούσε να μειωθεί έως και 5 φορές εάν η χώρα εκμεταλλευόταν τα αποθέματα της σε σχιστόλιθο.
Η Χριστιανική Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία της Ρουμανίας, γράφει το άρθρο, οργάνωνε μαζί με τις περιβαλλοντικές οργανώσεις επιθέσεις στις εταιρείες ενέργειας που προσπαθούσαν να εγκατασταθούν στην Ρουμανία.
Η Κλίντον έστειλε επίσης αντιπροσώπους της στην Ασία, ώστε να ασκήσουν πίεση προκειμένου να μην απαγορευθεί η παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου από fracking. Μία από τις πρωτοβουλίες της Κλίντον ήταν η Global Shale Gas Initiative, η οποία αποσκοπούσε στο να βοηθήσει τις χώρες που είχαν σχιστολιθικά αποθέματα να προχωρήσουν στην εκμετάλλευση τους.
Η Κλίντον το 2010 συγκέντρωσε στις ΗΠΑ τους υπουργούς εξωτερικών άλλων χωρών για να τους πείσει να εκμεταλλευθούν τα σχιστολιθικά τους αποθέματα, και πήγε η ίδια στην Πολωνία για να πείσει την Πολωνική κυβέρνηση να κάνει το ίδιο.
Μέχρι το 2011 η Κλίντον είχε κάνει το fracking αναπόσπαστο κομμάτι της εξωτερικής πολιτικής των ΗΠΑ. Σύμφωνα με την πολιτική της Κλίντον οι ΗΠΑ ήταν αδύνατον να πετύχουν ενεργειακή αυτονομία, και θα έπρεπε να στραφούν στην προσπάθεια να αυξηθεί όσο γίνεται περισσότερο η παγκόσμια παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου, κάτι που θα μείωνε τις τιμές, και ταυτόχρονα θα μείωνε την επιρροή της Ρωσίας και των άλλων εξαγωγών αερίου και πετρελαίου.
Χάρις στις προσπάθειες της Κλίντον οι Αμερικανικές εταιρείες πήραν συμβόλαια στην Κίνα, την Αργεντινή, την Ανατολική Ευρώπη, την Αυστραλία και τον Καναδά.
Στον παρακάτω πίνακα βλέπετε τις πλουσιότερες χώρες σε αποθέματα σχιστολιθικού αερίου και πετρελαίου (shale oil και shale gas).
Εικόνα Αποθέματα σε Σχιστόλιθο
Βλέπετε ότι οι Άραβες του Περσικού Κόλπου δεν είναι σε καμία λίστα. Η Ρωσία είναι πρώτη στα αποθέματα πετρελαίου, αλλά πολύ χαμηλά στα αποθέματα αερίου. Στα αποθέματα αερίου είναι πρώτη η Κίνα.
Έχω ξαναπεί ότι οι Κομμουνιστές δικτάτορες της Λατινικής Αμερικής και οι Ισλαμιστές, μαζί με τους λομπίστες της πράσινης ενέργειας, έβγαλαν μπροστά τον αριστερό Εβραίο απατεώνα Bernie Sanders, ο οποίος τους υποσχέθηκε να απαγορεύσει στις ΗΠΑ την παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου από σχιστόλιθο, καθώς και να απαγορεύσει την εκμετάλλευση των τεράστιων αποθεμάτων των ΗΠΑ στον Αρκτικό Ωκεανό. Ένα πολύ καλό άρθρο για το θέμα είναι της κεντροαριστερής και φιλο-Ισλαμικής Huffington Post, βλέπε “Bernie Sanders Will Ban Fracking. Hillary Clinton ‘Sold Fracking to the World”, Φεβρουάριος 2016.
Το άρθρο είναι ένας ύμνος στον Bernie Sanders, και μία επίθεση στην Κλίντον. Το άρθρο χαρακτηρίζει τον Sanders έναν ονειρεμένο υποψήφιο που εμφανίζεται μία φορά μόνο στην ζωή μας, “once in a lifetime”, και αυτό όπως λέει η εφημερίδα αποδεικνύεται από την δέσμευση του να απαγορεύσει την παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου από σχιστόλιθο, καθώς και την παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου από τον Αρκτικό Ωκεανό.
Ενώ η Κλίντον γράφει η Huffington Post είναι μία διεφθαρμένη πολιτικός που έχει πάρει δωρεές από όλες τις μεγάλες εταιρείες των ΗΠΑ. Ενώ ο Bernie τα παίρνει έξω από τις ΗΠΑ να πω εγώ, και προφανώς τα παίρνει εμμέσως.
Η Huffington Post υποστηρίζει τα χαλαρά σύνορα των ΗΠΑ με το Μεξικό, και τα χαλαρά σύνορα της Ευρώπης με το Ισλάμ, και γι’αυτό και ξεπετάχτηκε και στην Ελλάδα με τόσο επιτυχημένο τρόπο.
Να πω ότι συμφωνώ απόλυτα με την πολιτική της Χίλαρι Κλίντον στο θέμα του fracking. Αλλού έχω διαφωνίες και τις έχω γράψει.
“Η Αποχώρηση της Chevron και της Shell από την Ουκρανία”
Huffington Post: Η Κλίντον είναι μία διεφθραμένη πολιτικός ενώ ο Sanders είναι ένας ονειρεμένες υποψήφιος που παρουσιάζεται μία στο τόσο, και αυτό αποδεικνύεται από την δέσμευση του να απαγορεύσει στις ΗΠΑ την παραγωγή πετρελαίου και αερίου από σχιστόλιθο (fracking), αλλά και από τα αποθέματα των ΗΠΑ στον Αρκτικό Ωκεανό. Το όνειρο του Bernie Sanders είναι να πάψουν οι ΗΠΑ να καταναλώνουν συμβατική ενέργεια και να πρωταγωνιστήσουν στις καθαρές μορφές ενέργειας.
“Bernie Sanders Will Ban Fracking. Hillary Clinton ‘Sold Fracking to the World”, Φεβρουάριος 2016
3η, 4η, 5η, 6η Παράγραφος
Bernie Sanders never accepted money from corporations involved in fracking, and certainly never accepted money from prison lobbyists. His challenger, on the other hand, is linked to oil and gas contributions that span across the globe. According toReuters, “the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative have accepted large donations from major energy companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron.”
’s foundations also accepted money from an office of the Canadian government linked to promotingKeystone XL. Clinton
For some reason, many Democrats overlook the fact that
promises to uphold a progressive value system, while simultaneously accepting donations from corporations and governments working to undermine these principles. Clinton
When evaluating a future president, voters must look towards the candidate’s value system. Nothing exemplifies the value system possessed by Bernie Sanders better than his desire to ban fracking. His plan to save
from the scourge of fracking is illustrated in a Washington Post piece titled Bernie Sanders puts forward ambitious plan to combat climate change. America
7η, 8η Παράγραφος
If this sounds like a dream candidate, that’s because Sanders is a once in a lifetime politician. You won’t find many leading political figures who openly advocate that
bans fracking. America
In contrast, his challenger for the Democratic nomination once “sold” the concept of fracking to other countries.
’s affinity for this dangerous form of fossil fuel extraction is highlighted in a Mother Jones piece titled How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World. Clinton
Ultimately, the difference between Bernie Sanders and Clinton involves a grandiose difference in urgency between both candidates. Sanders wants to transition the
from a perpetual consumer of fossil fuels, into an innovator in cleaner energy. His goal is to ban fracking; end of story. U.S.
“How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World”, Οκτώβριος 2014
urged Bulgarian officials to give fracking another chance. According to Borissov, she agreed to help fly in the "best specialists on these new technologies to present the benefits to the Bulgarian people." But resistance only grew. The following month in neighboring Clinton Romania, thousands of people gathered to protest another Chevron fracking project, and 's parliament began weighing its own shale gas moratorium. Again Romania Clinton intervened, dispatching her special envoy for energy in Eurasia, Richard Morningstar, to push back against the fracking bans. The State Department's lobbying effort culminated in late May 2012, when Morningstar held a series of meetings on fracking with top Bulgarian and Romanian officials. He also touted the technology in an interview on Bulgarian national radio, saying it could lead to a fivefold drop in the price of natural gas. A few weeks later, Romania's parliament voted down its proposed fracking ban and 's eased its moratorium. Bulgaria oil giants, meanwhile, were snapping up natural gas leases in far-flung places. By 2012, Chevron had large shale concessions in US Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, and South Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, which was in the midst of a claim-staking spree; Poland alone had granted more than 100 shale concessions covering nearly a third of its territory. When the nation lit its first shale gas flare atop a Halliburton-drilled well that fall, the state-owned gas company ran full-page ads in the country's largest newspapers showing a spindly rig rising above the hills in the tiny , alongside the tagline: "Don't put out the flame of hope." Politicians promised that village of Lubocino Poland would soon break free of its nemesis, , which supplies the lion's share of its gas. "After years of dependence on our large neighbor, today we can say that my generation will see the day when we will be independent in the area of natural gas," Prime Minister Donald Tusk declared. "And we will be setting terms." Russia
A few weeks later, Chevron was preparing to build its first fracking rig near Pungesti, a tiny farming village in northeastern
. According to a memofrom the prime minister's office, a Romanian official met with Chevron executives and an embassy-based US Commerce Department employee to craft a PR strategy for the project. They agreed to organize a kickoff event at Romania Victoria Palace in . As a spokesman, they would tap Damian Draghici, a charismatic Romanian lawmaker who was a "recognized personality among the Roma minority," which had a "considerable presence" around Chevron's planned drilling sites. "It was really extraordinary—the level of collaboration between these players," says Ursulean, who has written extensively about Chevron's activities in Bucharest . "It was as if they were all branches of the same company." Romania
One icy morning in February 2012, Hillary Clinton's plane touched down in the Bulgarian capital,
, which was just digging out from a fierce blizzard. Wrapped in a thick coat, the secretary of state descended the stairs to the snow-covered tarmac, where she and her aides piled into a motorcade bound for the presidential palace. That afternoon, they huddled with Bulgarian leaders, including Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, discussing everything from Sofia 's bloody civil war to their joint search for loose nukes. But the focus of the talks was fracking. The previous year, Syria had signed a five-year, $68 million deal, granting US oil giant Chevron millions of acres in shale gas concessions. Bulgarians were outraged. Shortly before Bulgaria arrived, tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets carrying placards that read "Stop fracking with our water" and "Chevron go home." Clinton 's parliament responded by voting overwhelmingly for a fracking moratorium. Bulgaria
The episode sheds light on a crucial but little-known dimension of
's diplomatic legacy. Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe—part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Clinton that use their energy resources as a cudgel. But environmental groups fear that exporting fracking, which has been linked todrinking-water contamination and earthquakes at home, could wreak havoc in countries with scant environmental regulation. And according to interviews, diplomatic cables, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones, American officials—some with deep ties to industry—also helped US firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves. Russia
Geologists have long known that there were huge quantities of natural gas locked in shale rock. But tapping it wasn't economically viable until the late 1990s, when a Texas wildcatter named George Mitchell hit on a novel extraction method that involved drilling wells sideways from the initial borehole, then blasting them full of water, chemicals, and sand to break up the shale—a variation of a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Besides dislodging a bounty of natural gas, Mitchell's breakthrough ignited an energy revolution. Between 2006 and 2008, domestic gas reserves jumped 35 percent. The
United States later vaulted past to become the world's largest natural gas producer. As a result, prices dropped to record lows, and Russia America began to wean itself from coal, along with oil and gas imports, which lessened its dependence on the Middle East. The surging global gas supply also helped shrink Russia's economic clout: Profits for 's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, plummeted by more than 60 percent between 2008 and 2009 alone. Russia
Clinton, who was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, believed that shale gas could help rewrite global energy politics. "This is a moment of profound change," she later told a crowd at
. "Countries that used to depend on others for their energy are now producers. How will this shape world events? Who will benefit, and who will not?…The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role." Georgetown University Clinton tapped a lawyer named David Goldwyn as her special envoy for international energy affairs;his charge was "to elevate energy diplomacy as a key function of foreign policy." US
Goldwyn had a long history of promoting drilling overseas—both as a Department of Energy official under Bill Clinton and as a representative of the oil industry. From 2005 to 2009 he directed the US-Libya Business Association, an organization funded primarily by
US oil companies—including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Marathon—clamoring to tap 's abundant supply. Goldwyn lobbied Congress for pro-Libyan policies and even battled legislation that would have allowed families of the Lockerbie bombing victims to sue the Libyan government for its alleged role in the attack. Libya
According to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, one of Goldwyn's first acts at the State Department was gathering oil and gas industry executives "to discuss the potential international impact of shale gas."
then sent a cable to US diplomats, asking them to collect information on the potential for fracking in their host countries. These efforts eventually gave rise to the Global Shale Gas Initiative, which aimed to help other nations develop their shale potential. Clinton promisedit would do so "in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible." Clinton
But environmental groups were barely consulted, while industry played a crucial role. When Goldwyn unveiled the initiative in April 2010, it was at a meeting of the United States Energy Association, a trade organization representing Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips, all of which were pursuing fracking overseas. Among their top targets was
, which preliminary studies suggested had abundant shale gas. The day after Goldwyn's announcement, the US Embassy in Poland helped organize a shale gas conference, underwritten by these same companies (plus the oil field services company Halliburton) and attended by officials from the departments of State and Energy. Warsaw
In some cases,
personally promoted shale gas. During a 2010 gathering of foreign ministers in Washington, DC, she spoke about America's plans to help spread fracking abroad. "I know that in some places [it] is controversial," she said, "but natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today." She later traveled to Clinton for a series of meetings with officials, after which she announced that the country had joined the Global Shale Gas Initiative. Poland
That August, delegates from 17 countries descended on
for the State Department's first shale gas conference. The media was barred from attending, and officials refused to reveal basic information, including which countries took part. When Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) inquired about industry involvement, the department would say only that there had been "a limited industry presence." (State Department officials have since been more forthcoming with Mother Jones: In addition to a number of US government agencies, they say attendees heard from energy firms, including Devon, Washington , and Halliburton.) Chesapeake
During the cursory press conference that followed, Goldwyn, a short, bespectacled man with a shock of dark hair, argued that other nations could avoid the environmental damage sometimes associated with fracking by following
's lead and adopting "an umbrella of laws and regulations." A reporter suggested that America production had actually "outpaced the ability to effectively oversee the safety" and asked how we could be sure the same wouldn't happen elsewhere. Goldwyn replied that attendees had heard about safety issues from energy companies and the Groundwater Protection Council, a nonprofit organization that receives industry funding and opposes federal regulation of fracking wastewater disposal. US
Goldwyn and the delegates then boarded a bus to
for an industry-sponsored luncheon and tour of some shale fields. Paul Hueper, director of energy programs at the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, says the tour was organized independently and that energy firms were only invited to the conference itself to share best practices. "We are very firm on this," he insisted. "We do not shill for industry." Pennsylvania
While the meeting helped stir up interest, it wasn't until 2011 that global fracking fever set in for real. That spring, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its initial estimate of global shale gas, which foundthat 32 countries had viable shale basins and put global recoverable shale gas at 6,600 trillion cubic feet—enough to supply the world for more than 50 years at current rates of consumption. This was a rich opportunity for big oil and gas companies, which had largely missed out on the
fracking boom and were under pressure from Wall Street to shore up their dwindling reserves. "They're desperate," says Antoine Simon, who coordinates the shale gas campaign at Friends of the Earth Europe. "It's the last push to continue their fossil fuel development." US
The industry began fighting hard for access to shale fields abroad, and promoting gas as the fuel of choice for slashing carbon emissions. In
Europe, lobbyists circulated a report claiming that the European Union could save 900 billion euros if it invested in gas rather than renewable energy to meet its 2050 climate targets. This rankled environmentalists, who argue fracking may do little to ease global warming, given that wells and pipelines leak large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. They also fear it could crowd out investment in renewables.
By early 2011, the State Department was laying plans to launch a new bureau to integrate energy into every aspect of foreign policy—an idea Goldwyn had long been advocating. In 2005, he and a Chevron executive named Jan Kalicki had published a book called Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy, which argued that energy independence was unattainable in the near term and urged
to shift its focus to energy security—by boosting global fossil fuel production and stifling unrest that might upset energy markets. Goldwyn and his ideas had played a key role in shaping the bureau, so some observers were surprised when he quietly stepped down just before its launch. Washington
When I approached Goldwyn following a recent speaking engagement in
, to ask about his time at the State Department and why he left, he ducked out a side door, and Kalicki blocked the corridor to keep me from following. Goldwyn later said via email that he had simply chosen "to return to the private sector." Washington, DC
Around the time of his departure, WikiLeaks released a slew of diplomatic cables, including one describing a 2009 meeting during which Goldwyn and Canadian officials discussed development of the
oil sands—a project benefiting some of the same firms behind the US-Libya Business Association. The cable said that Goldwyn had coached his Canadian counterparts on improving "oil sands messaging" and helped alleviate their concerns about getting oil sands crude to US markets. This embarrassed the State Department, which is reviewing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal to transport crude oil from Alberta and is under fire from environmentalists. Canada
After leaving State, Goldwyn took a job with Sutherland, a law and lobbying firm that touts his "deep understanding" of pipeline issues, and launched his own company, Goldwyn Global Strategies.
In late 2011,
finally unveiled the new Bureau of Energy Resources, with 63 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget. She also promised to instruct US embassies around the globe to step up their work on energy issues and "pursue more outreach to private-sector energy" firms, some of which had generously supported both her and President Barack Obama's political campaigns. (One Chevron executive bundled large sums for Clinton 's 2008 presidential bid, for example.) Clinton
As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from
Thailand to . It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs. And it arranged for dozens of foreign delegations to visit the Botswana to attend workshops and meet with industry consultants—as well as with environmental groups, in some cases. United States
But shale was not the godsend that industry leaders and foreign governments had hoped it would be. For one, new research from the US Geological Survey suggested that the EIA assessments had grossly overestimated shale deposits: The recoverable shale gas estimate for
shrank from 187 trillion cubic feet to 1.3 trillion cubic feet, a 99 percent drop. Geological conditions and other factors in Europe and Asia also made fracking more arduous and expensive; one industry study estimated that drilling shale gas in Poland Poland would cost three times what it does in the . United States
oil giants were abandoning their Polish shale plays. "The expectations for global shale gas were extremely high," says the State Department's Hueper. "But the geological limitations and aboveground challenges are immense. A handful of countries have the potential for a boom, but there may never be a global shale gas revolution." US
The politics of fracking overseas were also fraught. According to Susan Sakmar, a visiting law professor at the
University of Houston who has studied fracking regulation, the is one of the only nations where individual landowners own the mineral rights. "In most, perhaps all, other countries of the world, the underground resources belong to the crown or the government," she explains. The fact that property owners didn't stand to profit from drilling on their land ignited public outrage in some parts of the world, especially United States Eastern Europe. US officials speculate that also had a hand in fomenting protests there. "The perception among diplomats in the region was that Russia Russia was protecting its interests," says Mark Gitenstein, the former US ambassador to . "It didn't want shale gas for obvious reasons." Romania
Faced with these obstacles, US and European energy companies launched a lobbying blitz targeting the European Union. They formed faux grassroots organizations, plied lawmakers with industry-funded studies, and hosted lavish dinners and conferences for regulators. The website for one industry confab—which, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, featured presentations from Exxon Mobil, Total, and Halliburton—warned that failure to develop shale gas "will have damaging consequences on European energy security and prosperity" and urged European governments to "allow shale gas exploration to advance" so they could "fully understand the scale of the opportunity."
US lobbying shops also jumped into the fray. Covington & Burling, a major
firm, hired several former senior EU policymakers—including a top energy official who, according to the New York Times, arrived with a not-yet-public draft of the European Commission's fracking regulations. Washington
In June 2013,
Covington staffer Jean De Ruyt, a former Belgian diplomat and adviser to the European Commission, hosted an event at the firm's office. Executives from Chevron and other oil and gas behemoths attended, as did Kurt Vandenberghe, then one of the commission's top environmental regulators. These strategies appeared to pay off: The commission's recently released framework for regulating fracking includes recommendations for governments but not firm requirements. "They chose the weakest option they had," says Simon of Friends of the Earth Europe. "People at the highest level of the commission are in the industry's pocket." Brussels
Goldwyn was also busy promoting fracking overseas—this time on behalf of industry. Between January and October 2012, his firm organized a series of workshops on fracking for officials in
Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and , all of them funded by Chevron. The events were closed to the public—when Romanian journalist Vlad Ursulean tried to attend the Romanian gathering, he says Goldwyn personally saw to it that he was escorted out. Ukraine
Goldwyn told Mother Jones that the workshops featured presentations on technical aspects of fracking by academics from the Colorado School of Mines and
. Chevron, he maintains, had "no editorial input." But all of these countries—except Penn State University , which was in the midst of anti-fracking protests—would later grant Chevron major shale concessions. Bulgaria
In some cases, the State Department had a direct hand in negotiating the deals. Gitenstein, then the ambassador to
, met with Chevron executives and Romanian officials and pressed them to hand over millions of acres of shale concessions. "The Romanians were just sitting on the leases, and Chevron was upset. So I intervened," says Gitenstein, whose State Department tenure has been bookended by stints at Mayer Brown, a law and lobbying firm that has represented Chevron. "This is traditionally what ambassadors do on behalf of American companies." In the end, Romania signed a 30-year deal with Chevron, which helped set off massive, nationwide protests. Romania
When the government began weighing a fracking ban, it didn't sit well with Gitenstein, who went on Romanian television and warned that, without fracking, the nation could be stuck paying five times what
does for natural gas. Headded that US shale prospectors had "obtained great successes—without consequences for the environment, I dare say." The proposed moratorium soon died. America
A few weeks later, Chevron was preparing to build its first fracking rig near Pungesti, a tiny farming village in northeastern
The strategy did little to soothe the public's ire. When Chevron finally did attempt to install the rig in late 2013, residents—including elderly villagers who arrived in horse-drawn carts—blockaded the planned drilling sites. The Romanian Orthodox Church rallied behind them, with one local priest likening Chevron to enemy "invaders." Soon, anti-fracking protests were cropping up from Poland to the United Kingdom. But Chevron didn't back down. Along with other American energy firms, it lobbied to insert language in a proposed US-EU trade agreement allowing US companies to haul European governments before international arbitration panels for any actions threatening their investments. Chevron argued this was necessary to protect shareholders against "arbitrary" and "unfair" treatment by local authorities. But environmental groups say it would stymie fracking regulation and point to a $250 million lawsuit Delaware-based Lone Pine Resources has filed against the Canadian
for temporarily banning fracking near a key source of drinking water. The case hinges on a similar trade provision. province of Quebec
Despite the public outcry in
Europe, the State Department has stayed the course. 's successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, views natural gas as a key part of his push against climate change. Under Kerry, State has ramped up investment in its shale gas initiative and is planning to expand it to 30 more countries, from Clinton Cambodia to . Papua New Guinea
Following the Crimea crisis, the Obama administration has also been pressing Eastern European countries to fast-track their fracking initiatives so as to be less dependent on
. During an April visit to Russia Ukraine, which has granted concessions to Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the would bring in technical experts to speed up its shale gas development. "We stand ready to assist you," promised Biden, whose son Hunter has since joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company. "Imagine where you'd be today if you were able to tell United States : 'Keep your gas.' It would be a very different world." Russia