What the Loss of Crimea Means for Ukrainian Energy
Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula is now Russia’s. It was done with an impressively organized non-violent military operation, and supported by the foregone conclusion of a referendum on independence from Ukraine. One Ukrainian soldier was reportedly killed on 18 March after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty to annex the Crimea and troops moved to take over a Ukrainian military facility in Simferopol. The U.S. has imposed largely symbolic sanctions on Russian officials who have no American assets to freeze and would be fine foregoing trips to the U.S., but the game is over.
Ukrainian troops have been ordered to disengage entirely, and Russia will keep its tanks from rolling into Eastern Ukraine. We’ll hear a lot of rhetoric for the next six months before Crimea is forgotten. From an energy perspective, Crimea is not a major loss for Ukraine, and now it’s up to the new government to get real shale development in motion, and for Turkey to face up to its own strategic realities and join forces with Ukraine to harness LNG potential, according to Ukraine energy expert Robert Bensh.
Robert Bensh is an energy and energy security expert who has led oil and gas companies in Ukraine for over 13 years, serving as an advisor to former energy minister and vice-prime minister Yuri Boyko on issues of Western capital markets and political systems.
In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com from Kiev, Bensh discusses:
- Why the Crimea game is over.
- What Russia isn’t likely to roll into eastern Ukraine.
- What Ukraine is losing from an energy perspective.
- How Russia’s moves are strengthening Ukrainian resolve.
- How the annexation of Crimea has heralded a new patriotism in Ukraine.
- Why a lot rests of Ukraine’s next move on shale.
- What opening the Bosporus to LNG would mean for Ukraine.
- Why Turkey should be watching very closely.