With the rise of unconventional natural gas production in the U.S., the shifting market for natural gas could serve to limit the influence of Russia in Europe and other neighboring countries, according to The Associated Press.
The U.S. surpassed Russia as the world's largest producer of natural gas last year thanks to increased production from shale gas fields using the extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
In turn, this has allowed the U.S. to nearly cease imports of the fossil fuel.
In the meantime, Russia's state-owned natural gas firm, Gazprom, has seen a rapid decline in revenue, with profits dropping by roughly one-quarter in its latest financial report. If the U.S. were to significantly enter into the natural gas export market, the impact on Russian influence could be enormous.
There have even been claims that the Russian gas industry has been financing anti-fracking groups in Europe in an effort to stymie domestic production, though no proof has been offered.
Gazpromi insists it sees the impact of U.S. exports to be limited, but Reuters reports that Russian pipeline company TMK expects a major export push in the coming years.
The U.S. natural gas pipeline industry is detailed in PennEnergy's Research area.