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How Energy Experts Causeed Vladimirputin in One Word

Daniel Yergin attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2013 and received difficult demands. Can the audience ask Vladimir Putin the first question?

“I started asking a question. I said the word’shale’,” he recalls. Until then, he mentioned the once unconventional sources of oil and natural gas that were free to flow in the United States due to advances in production technology. “And he started yelling at me, saying he was a shale barbarian.”

Yergin, Vice Chairman of S & P Global, talked about the latest episode of the “What Goes Up” podcast, along with other insights from his book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations. Yergin says US shale oil and gas have had a far greater impact on geopolitics than people are aware of. In particular, US natural gas competes with Russia in Europe, poses various threats to Putin.

The following is a lightly edited summary of the conversation highlights.

Q: How did the United States become a major oil and gas producer?