Russia continues to play hardball with natural gas for the European Union, trying to get Brussels to sacrifice Ukraine in return for the promise of better relations with Moscow.
The European Commission’s vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic, visited Russia on January 14 to ask exactly what Moscow’s intentions were about the now-cancelled South Stream pipeline. Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced late last year a Russian plan to substitute for it a huge 63 billion cubic meter per year (bcm/y) pipeline project under the Black Sea to Turkey and then up to the Turkish-Greek border. Continue reading
MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russia’s steel pipe manufacturers hope that all their products originally meant for the South Stream project will be redirected to the just-unveiled plan for a gas pipeline to Turkey, the chief of the Pipeline Producers’ Association, Ivan Shabalov, has told TASS, adding that no costs would ensue.
“The South Steam’s infrastructure in Russian territory is absolutely adjustable to the plan of a pipeline to Turkey, Shabalov said. “The Turkish route will entail no losses for Gazprom or for the pipe manufacturers.” Continue reading
This was an easily predictable and foregone conclusion. Turkey is frustrated with the EU and its never-ending stalling of Turkish membership, as it’s quite clear Europe doesn’t want to open the floodgates to 90 million muslims yet prefers to keep it in NATO for manpower purposes. Turkey has also reacted to this by purchasing Chinese military weaponry instead of NATO armaments, which was a rather large hint to which side it will soon take.
Add this to Western sanctions, which are only making the Russians and Chinese laugh, it’s only natural the Soviets would find a new partner in Turkey and China. Europe gets oil and gas from nowhere else but Russia at the moment, and its Mediterranean pipelines coming from Cyprus and ran through Greece (both are new energy coorridors) are far from being finished. Shale oil in the United States might soon become too expensive as OPEC, to kill competition, opened the oil floodgates to bring the price down to unprofitable levels, forcing American oil companies to close doors — as nobody is in business to not make a profit.
In effect, Western sanctions are tantamount to saying “We’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot to punish you.” It should be no wonder as to why China and Russia are laughing.
ANKARA—Russia on Monday scrapped the South Stream pipeline project to supply gas to southern Europe without crossing Ukraine, citing EU objections, and instead named Turkey as its preferred partner for an alternative pipeline, with a promise of hefty discounts.
The EU, at loggerheads with Moscow over Ukraine, and keen to reduce its energy dependence on Russia, had objected to the $40 billion South Stream pipeline, which was to enter the EU via Bulgaria, on competition grounds.
The proposed undersea pipeline to Turkey, with an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) – more than four times Turkey’s annual purchases from Russia – would face no such problems. Russia offered to combine it with a gas hub at the EU’s southeastern edge, the Turkish-Greek border, to supply southern Europe.
Ever since Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán sat to the negotiating table with Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller, the number of Hungarian steps putting the Russian gas giant in an advantageous position and supporting Russian interests have oddly increased. First Hungary shut down reverse gas flow to Ukraine, then allowed Gazprom to stash its gas in local gas storage units. The latest measure is a law amendment proposal submitted by parliament’s economic committee chaired by Fidesz caucus chief Antal Rogán that would give Hungary the green-light to start building the South Stream pipeline. Despite all reservations and obstructions by the European Union, local news portal index.hu reported on Wednesday.
How to make the USA more angry with Hungary, we asked our readers on Tuesday, but we did not have the faintest idea that the government has been holding the best answer to that and it beats every idea we have ever had. Continue reading
A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.
And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership. Continue reading
BRUSSELS, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – Supplying gas to China is a logical move for Russia, given Chinese demand and the country’s willingness to pay a fair price, Gazprom advisor Marcel Kramer said Wednesday.
“The Chinese are making an important step of getting more natural gas in their energy mix,” said Kramer, an advisor to Gazprom’s management on the South Stream pipeline and European affairs. Continue reading