The Transatlantic Liquefied Gas Dispute

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BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has once again reaffirmed that the German government insists on continuing with the highly controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Despite persistent pressure from Washington, there will be no interference in the construction of the pipeline – which has long since begun – reiterated Maas at this years annual UN General Assembly in New York. At the same time, US efforts to promote the sale of US liquefied gas to Germany are stagnating. If the liquefied gas would be priced closer to the currently much cheaper pipeline gas, it could certainly be considered, according to the Uniper company (formerly EON). Uniper is currently contemplating the construction of a liquefied gas terminal in Wilhelmshaven. However, it would not even have one-fifth of the import capacity of Nord Stream 2. Plans for constructing a terminal in Brunsbüttel, which currently have the best chances of implementation, envisage the importation of only half as much LNG – primarily to fuel ships and trucks. Continue reading

U.S. To Undermine Russia’s Gas Monopoly In Europe

The first U.S. LNG shipment will soon arrive in Europe, marking a new era for energy on the continent. Cheniere Energy’s newly completed Sabine Pass facility on the U.S. Gulf Coast recently sent a shipment of American liquefied natural gas, which should arrive in Portugal within a few days.

“LNG coming out of the U.S. is probably the single most important thing that will transform the future LNG market,” Melissa Stark, energy managing director at Accenture, told Bloomberg. “It heralds the arrival of a global market.” Continue reading

German-Russian Flagship Projects

KASSEL/MOSCOW (Own report) – The German natural gas company, Wintershall Holding GmbH, is intensifying cooperation with Russia’s Gazprom and will receive direct access to large Siberian gas fields. Last Friday, the two companies announced they would finalize an asset swap this year, which would allow Wintershall to participate in the exploitation of two blocks in the Achimov formation of the Urengoy natural gas field. The deal had been signed back in 2013, but was canceled by Moscow in late 2014, because of the escalation of the conflict with the West. This resumption enables BASF’s subsidiary, Wintershall, to continue its rise in the global gas sector. The Austrian company, OMV, since July 1, under the management of former Wintershall CEO, Rainer Seele, is also participating. Gazprom, Wintershall, OMV and other gas companies have agreed to expand the Russia-to-Germany “Nord Stream” pipeline with two more pipelines. German business circles explicitly describe both as “flagship projects” and push for a rapid re-intensification of cooperation at the political level.

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War Drums: Gazprom’s Dangerous New Nord Stream Gas Pipeline to Germany

Does the latest Russian-German deal reflect the spirit of Molotov-Ribbentrop?

Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom signed a deal June 18 to double the capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline that delivers Russian gas directly to Germany. The deal is a precursor to war.

Analysts are wondering: Why would Germany continue to work with Russia’s Gazprom when it is supposedly targeting Russia for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine?

When asked how he convinced Germany’s E.ON, Austria’s omv and British-based Royal Dutch Shell to do business with Gazprom, chief executive Alexei Miller said: “As far as Nord Stream is concerned—there was no politics at all. The decision was taken in November 2011, and all the work has been done based on the decisions taken three years ago.” Continue reading

The Scrapped Pipeline Project

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Moscow’s cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project is causing Berlin and Brussels headaches. EU bodies and government leaders of EU member states have expressed their wish to continue negotiations on the pipeline, which, in a few years, would annually have pumped 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Western Europe. They still see some possibilities for clarification. By delaying the project, Brussels had hoped to exert pressure on the Russian government. Moscow, however, got tired of banging on closed doors and announced South Stream’s cancellation on Monday. Germany is one of the losers, because it would have been able to expand its influence on the European gas supply through its BASF subsidiary Wintershall participating in the pipeline project. Turkey is the winner, because the planned Russian South Stream gas will now probably transit through its territory. Turkey, a loyal transit country, could become an influential gas distribution hub for the EU – at a time when tensions between Berlin/Brussels and Ankara are rising.

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In Bid to Divide Europe, Russia Expands “Gas War” to Slovakia

Russia appeared to expand its retaliation against Western sanctions on Thursday by cutting in half its natural gas flows to European Union member state Slovakia. Prime Minister Robert Fico told a news conference in Bratislava his country had been caught up in a “political war where gas is being used as a weapon.”

After an emergency government session, Fico said the national gas company SSP had concluded a five year deal with Germany’s E.on to receive up to two million cubic meters of gas per day via Austria to compensate for the drop in Russian supplies.

Fico said SPP had recorded a more than 50 percent decline in flows for the second day in a row after smaller reductions throughout September. Continue reading

Global Policy Orientation

By now it should be clear where Europe, or Germany rather, stands in regards to its dealings with Russia and what side it will likely take should it have to decisively choose between it and the West.

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – In the debate over a possible expansion of EU sanctions against Russia, the German chancellor is suggesting a possible continuation of cooperation with Moscow. “In the intermediate and long term,” Merkel explained, “the close partnership with Russia should be continued.” She sees “no necessity” in a policy of “isolating” Russia, patterned on the cold war’s “containment” policy. Merkel was reacting to the persisting anxiety in leading German business circles, that sanctions against Russia could seriously dampen their expansion opportunities. This is not only an anxiety shared by gas companies, but also by top corporations in other branches with significant commercial and production sites in Russia. On the eve of the Russian president’s visit to China, observers are warning that if the EU and the USA impose boycott measures, Moscow could forge also stronger ties to Beijing, thereby tangibly strengthening China. Hard-core transatlantic circles are up in arms over the prospect that cooperation with Moscow could be continued – pleading for the creation of a global front of NATO countries and their allies against Russia and China. Continue reading

Gazprom brush-off: Germany’s largest gas supplier signs ‘milestone’ contract with Canada

Germany’s largest gas supplier E.ON plans to taper its dependence on Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas major and Norway, instead developing ties with the Canadian company Pieridae Energy.

The contract was finalized on June 3rd, and Pieridae Energy will supply five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Western Europe for an unspecified several billion euros, Deutsche Welle reported. Continue reading