The cuts to transit tariffs for use of the Ukrainian gas transmission network, which were announced during the final days of 2018, are a major event that was undeservedly kept out of the media spotlight. The reductions of nearly 50% are simply a downward correction but send a message. Here are some corners in the analysis. The first suspected casualty would be the revenue projections for the Ukraine circumvention projects. Their business logic has been substantially compromised, while the key argument Merkel and Putin continue to use is that the Nord Stream is “just business.” The direct costs of Nord Stream-2 so far are below $10 billion and, accounting for the extra funds spent on gas fields and infrastructure development on Russian territory, the bill skyrockets
The article first published in instituteforenergyresearch.org on 12/14/2018. On Oct. 17, 2018, Poland’s largest energy company PGNiG signed a contract with two American LNG companies to deliver up to 1 million tons of gas each over the next 20 years. It is the first large U.S. LNG contract in Eastern Europe, and it won’t be the last. Indeed, it is very likely that American LNG companies will become major suppliers to Eastern Europe in the near future. There are a number of reasons for this, both politically and economically. It is, of course, well-known that oil and gas exports, and particularly the latter, have long been used by Russian rulers as political weapons to achieve specific policy objectives—more often than not directed against Western interests. So none of this
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 12/11/2018. The 100th anniversary of possibly the greatest writer of the tortured 20th century has predictably and justly given rise to numerous encomiums such as this one from one of the great man’s best interpreters. There is no doubt that Solzhenitsyn, if not St. John, to whom he has been compared, in his epochal struggle with communist totalitarianism, at the very least drove a key nail in the coffin of communist inhumanity. What he did without any doubt was to open the eyes of the West to the reality of the murderous Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union, but also in Eastern Europe, China and wherever communism had triumphed. And expose it he did in all of its genocidal fury, the Left’s unwillingness
We live in a world of post-truth. Everyone has his own “facts,” his own truth. After the annexation of Crimea, Russia annexed the ‘truth’ for the Russian public and proxies around the world. Adding the Crimean Peninsula meant new borders, new territorial waters and new conflicts. Closing the Kerch Strait by building the bridge connecting continental Russia with its new territory meant that large ships are disallowed, effectively imposing illegal control of traffic, blocking access to and from the Ukrainian coast of the Sea of Azov, including the towns of Mariupol and Berdyansk. The EU and U.S. are looking closely and pondering how to respond – from a safe distance, as usual. They will not interfere – except with sedative lecturing. Chancellor Merkel cherishes Nord Stream-2 more than Ukraine as a shield of
Bulgartransgaz has recently been informed by its largest customer, Gazexport, that after 2020 it will terminate the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, and thereby, through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. It is still unclear whether the notification qualifies under contractual terms as legal notice served, requiring a new contract for any further arrangement, or whether it should be interpreted as advance notice for a shift of delivery point, with future gas deliveries coming via the Turkish Stream-2 pipeline. As for the quantities for use in Bulgaria itself, Bulgargas would not have a major problem, provided it can add additional delivery points in Slovakia and elsewhere. In total, the transited annual volumes over the last 12 years have varied around 16-17 billion cubic
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The speculative interpretations on the secretive nature of the trip of Gazexport’s top managers to Sofia last Friday, beyond doubt, will build up due to the total absence of facts and details. This is an inevitable consequence as one compares the media frenzy around the visits of the top brass at Gazprom to the country on previous occasions. To begin with, the decision to keep the meetings with Bulgartransgaz secretive reflects the content and the range of topics covered. The classic is: both sides need to agree to keep the exchange out of the public record. Gazprom and BTG, as hosts, have no interest in disclosing details, as the negotiations cover a very sensitive topic – the extension of Turkish Stream through Bulgaria. Two events have marred the
The fate of two key elements of Russia’s energy ‘streams’ strategy – the Nord and Turkish streams – will be decided this fall. The Damocles sword is hovering above both, and at any moment the U.S. government could impose sanctions that would immediately terminate both projects. Although such a scenario is probable, it is by no means certain. President Trump remained deliberately vague on the imminence of the sanctions during his recent press conference at the White House with Polish President Duda. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently visited Moscow and, among various topics, discussed the sanctions options with his Russian counterpart as part of a broader, more positive package. Both Nord and Turkish Stream have reached a decisive stage, where action is desperately needed.