The tragic ongoing events in Ukraine have resulted in a global energy crisis, as international embargoes on Russia have created a supply shock. Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia, producing 10.7 million barrels of oil a day in 2020, 11% of the worldwide total. With the world’s largest gas reserves and as the second-biggest natural gas producer, Russia is a critical player in global energy supplies.
While many are calling for a ban on all imports from the country, that just isn’t possible for many. Therefore, the need for alternative sources of power and greater energy independence is crucial.
The problems with cutting off Russian oil and gas
As nations scramble to cut ties with Russia, the sudden loss of such a significant amount of oil and gas has caused prices to surge. Even those with a lot of resources are affected by global prices due to the interlinked nature of the oil industry. This is happening when environmental concerns have caused a shift from power sources like coal to cleaner options such as gas and oil.
Countries and economic groups are finding it difficult to extricate themselves from Russian energy. For example, Germany’s natural gas requirements rely almost entirely on imports, and around 55% comes from Russia – as does 34% of its oil.
Europe generally is highly dependent on imported energy. The European Union gets 38% of its gas from Russia and pays around $1 billion a day for the privilege. In addition, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Bosnia Herzegovina get all their gas entirely from Russia. Other countries that rely heavily on Russian oil include Turkey and China.
The situation has led to a realization of how reliant some countries are on imported energy and the advantages of increased energy independence. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, have announced bans on Russian oil imports as they weren’t so heavily reliant, but this isn’t an option for most.
Additionally, the issue of global warming remains a significant concern. There is a worldwide need for more power, but it must be from cleaner energy sources.
The most obvious solution is clean oil and gas
The high oil and gas prices are caused by disruptions in resources from Russia. Given the threat of climate change, there will be no return to coal, nuclear power stations take around a decade to build, and renewables aren’t consistent in output. Yet, the rise of energy costs is causing inflation rises and affecting lives.
As Elon Musk said recently on Twitter, “Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”
One way to achieve this is by leveraging advances made by cleantech innovations in oil and gas extraction. A great example is RocketFrac Cleantech, an innovative Canadian energy services company that has pioneered a way to use rocket fuel instead of using water under high pressure for the fracking process.
Tom Whalen, the CEO of RocketFrac Cleantech, says, “Everyone feels the effects of high energy prices. The market desperately needs more oil and gas, but the energy sector transformation needs to be balanced with reductions in the carbon intensity of production. This is where cleantech comes in.”
“The technology we’ve developed eliminates environmental concerns, which is crucial as the world aims for net-zero emissions. But it also provides considerable operational and economic advantages. Reducing the GHG footprint by eliminating the use of water and frac sand in the well stimulation process also speeds up operations, reducing downtime and saving costs.”
The environmental and energy crises are leading to an energy transformation
Cleantech companies like RockeFrac are essential as the energy industry transforms due to the current Ukraine crisis and the ongoing issue of global warming. The United States, for example, was able to become almost entirely energy independent in the late 2000s thanks to fracking. It became the world’s largest oil producer as a result, and this led to lower prices. At the same time, technology is helping the country to lower carbon emissions.
Whalen says, “The world needs more ethically and environmentally produced oil and gas right now. Thanks to cleantech solutions like RocketFrac Cleantech, energy production can be achieved more efficiently, and in a way that minimizes impacts on the environment. We are working with the fracking industry to improve efficiency and increase production, while simultaneously moving toward carbon neutrality.”
Looking beyond the current crisis, this kind of technology will be beneficial in several ways. Whalen says, “It is easier for countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia to become energy independent as developments like fracking have given them access to more resources. By improving the technology related to oil and gas extraction, many more countries will be able to reduce their reliance on others.
“However, there are lots of other advantages resulting from cleantech innovation. As the planet seeks cleaner energy, we will see the rise of solutions such as using hydrogen to power transport infrastructure. Hydrocarbons are made up of hydrogen and carbon and can be separated. The hydrogen can be used as a clean energy source – the only emissions are water vapor – and the carbon can be captured, then used for building materials.”
Whalen adds, “These two industries are currently in their infancy, but they are growing rapidly and are examples of just a couple of solutions. A lot is happening in the sector right now.”
Cleantech companies like RocketFrac offer an ideal solution to the Russia-induced energy crisis and the ongoing fight against global warming. Their advances are helping countries become more energy independent while transforming the industry into more environmentally-friendly producers of clean power.
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