BERLIN/MOSCOW/BEIJING (Own report) – The privileged German-European access to Russian natural gas could be lost, is the warning, as the battle over the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline persists. According to a recent analysis published by Oxford University, western sanctions, imposed on Russia in 2014, have encouraged Moscow to seek alternative markets for its resources. China, in particular, plans to purchase large amounts of Russian natural gas. The first pipeline is scheduled to go into operation this year. A second pipeline – tapping the fields currently supplying gas exclusively to Europe – is in planning. The same applies to new Russian liquefied gas projects. In the future, “European customers” will most likely have to compete in Russia with “Asian customers,” the Oxford University analysis predicts. Instead of forcing Moscow to its knees, the sanctions could put an end to Berlin’s privileged access to Russian natural gas and if the “Nord Stream 2” fails, it could further worsen the EU’s position.
BERLIN (Own report) – With intense shuttle diplomacy, members of the German government are seeking to avert the impending US punitive tariffs on European goods and the loss of access to the important US market. Following Germany’s Finance Minster Olaf Scholz’s visit to the US capital yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Washington on Friday. Already in the run up to these visits, Berlin seems ready to envisage a revival of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This strategic decision is accompanied by a clear frontline position against China, as was resolutely demanded by the Trump administration. In addition, German-Russian business relations are increasingly under attack in Washington. At the same time, EU criticism of Germany’s unilateral trade policies is growing. Germany’s export oriented economy is particularly vulnerable to the protectionism that is gaining strength on a global scale. Berlin’s Beggar-thy-Neighbor-Policy could prove a strategic disadvantage under these new global economic conditions. Continue reading
German energy company Wintershall, a European partner with Russia’s Gazprom, said the European energy sector can’t be used for “geopolitical football.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill into law that sanctions Iran, North Korea and Russia. The Russian measure in particular is significant given the election issue clouding the Trump administration. Continue reading
Germany and Austria have lashed out against US Senate for approving a legislation tightening sanctions on Russia. The bill has a provision that enables the United States to impose sanctions on European firms involved in financing Russian energy export pipelines to Europe. European companies could be fined for breaching US law. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the US of threatening European economic interests, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost US gas exports. The United States recently started shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.
The bill says the US government «should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy». But the European foreign chiefs believe that «Europe’s energy supply is Europe’s business, not that of the United States of America». Gabriel and Kern said they «can’t accept» proposed US sanctions targeting European energy companies as part of measures against Russia.
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
BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading
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
HANNOVER (Own report) – The German government’s Agency for Geological Studies and Natural Resources (BGR) is intensifying its exploration for Arctic oil and gas deposits with a new exploration trip to the Arctic Ocean. “Deliveries of natural resources from countries in the Arctic” – i.e. Russia and Norway – are “of great importance” to Germany, the BGR declared. It is very inconvenient that the prediction of the volume of Arctic resources is based only on unreliable estimates. This research institute is, therefore, consolidating its exploration of the mineral resources of the Arctic Ocean, into a new research program. The melting of the polar cap could soon allow these resources to be profitably exploited. Within the framework of the natural resources policy offensive launched by the German government around eight years ago, the BGR has been intensifying its activities for German industry. The BGR, which has long since been closely linked to the German business community, founded, in 2010, the Agency for German Resources (DERA) which now serves German industry directly. The BGR sees itself in the undaunted continuation of the institutions in German Empire and the Nazi period. Continue reading
President Vladimir Putin yesetrday launched construction of the long-awaited South Stream pipeline that the Kremlin hopes will pump Russia’s gas to Europe while avoiding its unpredictable neighbour Ukraine
The pipeline will flow underneath the Black Sea and through the Balkans to supply energy giant Gazprom’s big European clients with Russian gas and ensure the security of its energy exports. Continue reading