U.S., Russia Vie For European Gas Dominance

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WASHINGTON: U.S. legislation renewing and tightening sanctions on Russia, stalled in the House of Representatives, was not passed before the U.S. and Russian presidents met at the G20 summit in Hamburg. The proposed bill had already received criticism not only from Russia but also from Germany and Austria about the impact sanctions may have on Europe’s gas supply.

Europe and the United States need not worry: Energy markets have undergone significant transformation in favor of importers, and Russia’s tough talk warning against sanctions is little more than posturing. Russia needs Europe as a market for its oil and gas. Continue reading

This New Project Changes The Global Oil Market

ChinaMyanmarPipeline

 

We saw one of the most significant shifts in a long while for energy markets last week. With a key pipeline opening that will radically change global flows of crude oil.

The project in question is the China-Myanmar oil pipeline. Which Chinese state media said on Thursday has now opened for test runs. Continue reading

World Bank Director: Turkey to Become Global Energy Hub

ISTANBUL — Turkey has a good chance to become an energy hub if it keeps the historical achievements it made in the last decade, Martin Raiser, country director for Turkey of the World Bank, said on Friday.

“Turkey has taken major steps in the past decade and nearly half of them was to implement independent regulatory institutions for strengthening the rule of law to improve business opportunities,” Raiser told Anadolu Agency during the International Energy and Environment Fair and Conference in Istanbul. Continue reading

Beijing set to seal Russian natural gas deal amid Ukraine crisis

Beijing’s refusal to stand against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine could result in a lucrative natural gas deal with Russia next month, reports the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao.

Following more than a decade of false starts, sources say Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will make a final decision next month on the multibillion dollar deal that will see Russia supply pipeline gas to China for 30 years. The deal is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. Continue reading

Will EU Drop Caspian Pipedream?

Despite widespread talk about “revolutions” in liquefied natural gas technology and shale gas extraction, very little has been done to reduce Russia’s stranglehold on European natural gas markets. About 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas, according to EU figures released last year, continues to be supplied by its neighbor to the east.

Russia’s large share of natural gas deliveries to Europe poses significant challenges. Most notably, it gives an increasingly authoritarian Russia substantial leverage over countries that are important U.S. allies. It’s no coincidence that Germany, which is the single largest purchaser of Russian natural gas, remains arguably the strongest skeptic of Georgia’s NATO membership bid. Germany has also strived to block European Union (EU) regulations that restrict the ability of foreign companies to operate energy utilities and distribution components in member states. In response, the Kremlin implicitly threatens to raise gas prices on countries that support such regulations.

But Moscow doesn’t have to exert too much effort to remind Europeans about the potential consequences of collective efforts to reduce Russia’s energy influence or other undesirable policies from the Kremlin’s perspective. Europeans remember Russia’s decision to shut off gas deliveries to Ukraine and even its closest ally Belarus on several occasions. Several countries were left in the cold in 2009 when Moscow ceased gas deliveries to Ukraine.

Full article: Will EU Drop Caspian Pipedream? (The Diplomat)

Gazprom Hopes to Build Second Baltic Sea Pipeline

With the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline in southern Europe hitting snag after snag, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom is considering the construction of a second Baltic Sea pipeline to go with the just-finished Nord Stream. With unconventional natural gas from the US flooding the market, however, the strategy is not without risk.

Seven years later, it is now clear who won the duel. When the government of Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder came to an end in 2005, both he and his foreign minister, Green Party éminence grise Joschka Fischer, embarked on second careers as energy lobbyists.

Schröder is in the service of Russian energy giant Gazprom — as chairman of the board of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline on the Baltic Sea floor. The pipeline went into operation six months ago and now natural gas from Siberia flows through the 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) of pipe to the German city of Greifswald.

The construction of the second Baltic pipeline would be a triumph for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the same time, though, the strategy being pursued is nothing short of audacious. Indeed, Gazprom is seeking to expand its infrastructure at a time when the natural gas business is undergoing radical change worldwide. The market for the fuel is losing what has long been its most salient feature: scarcity.

Full article: Gazprom Hopes to Build Second Baltic Sea Pipeline (Spiegel Online)

Russia Doubles Nuclear Exports

The head of Russia’s nuclear monopoly has said the country doubled foreign orders to build nuclear reactors last year and has a $50 billion order book for the next decade.

The volume of contracts to build nuclear plants abroad almost doubled in 2011 thanks to demand from Asia, and despite jitters over atomic power following reactor meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima plant, triggered by a tsunami last March.

Full article: Russia Doubles Nuclear Exports (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)