Russia, Ukraine tensions felt at local energy conference

An energy conference going on this week in Houston had to make a change due to tensions between Ukraine and Russia
March 3, 2014 5:25:14 PM PST
Tensions remain high in Ukraine tonight as Russian soldiers take over key posts in the Crimea region of that country. Russian solidiers have taken control of border posts and military facilities in Crimea. The tensions between Russia and Ukraine are being felt here in Houston.

It has expanded from deadly fighting between Ukranian nationals and security forces in Kiev, now to the Crimea with a standoff between the Russian Navy and an Ukranian nuclear submarine.

The tensions sent world energy prices higher. Russia supplies much of Europe's natural gas. The Russian Energy Minister was to attend the IHC Cera Energy Conference in Houston but canceled today. It didn't surprise a senior gas advisor.

"I would say specifically on the cancellation of the minister, there's a major crisis going on in Russia with an energy element to it," said IHC gas advisor Laurent Ruseckas.

It was the talk of the conference today, if natural gas supplies are disrupted in Europe, relief could come from the U.S., which is poised to become energy independent because of domestic production. It could export gas to Europe. At the conference a ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee called energy an asset.

"Given the situation in Ukraine it highlights the leverage used by Russian when it comes to its energy assets," said Alaska US Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The senator says she is very nervous about the state of relations, what the implications are for the Ukraine and for the U.S. The theme of the conference today was geo politics on energy and it couldn't have been more timely.

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