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The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Faces Dangers in Gazprom Monopoly

January 19, 2007; Page B4

Your Jan. 3 editorial “More Gas Blackmail” accurately summarizes the dangers that Europe faces due to its overwhelming dependence for gas on the Russian monopoly Gazprom. These dangers are no less pressing in the U.S., where the industry forecasts that the majority of our future gas shortfall will be met by Russian LNG.

President Putin’s insistence that Europeans can rely on Gazprom to honor its commitments is irrelevant in the face of recent experience. The costs of doing business with an unbridled monopolist being utilized as a central arm of Russian foreign policy has already been felt by Belarus, Ukraine, Shell and Moncrief Oil.

If adequate protective measures are not implemented now, we will be at the mercy of an unregulated monopolist with interests totally at odds with our national interest.

Moncrief sought the protection of U.S. and German courts after its own contractual interests with Gazprom were repeatedly breached. While American courts have historically been reluctant to assert jurisdiction around international commercial disputes, today’s “global economy” has blurred jurisdictional boundaries and U.S. courts are now the only means of enforcing Russian energy contracts with U.S. interests. German courts have recognized this necessity and U.S. courts must follow suit.

Richard W. Moncrief
Chairman
Moncrief Oil International
Fort Worth, Texas

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