“We now need to start the construction of this pipeline in the Black Sea, but we cannot do that until we have Bulgaria’s permission”, said Vladimir Putin on December 1, 2014.  “I think it’s clear to everyone that it would be ridiculous to start the construction in the sea, reach the Bulgarian shore and stop. So we are forced to reconsider our participation in this project”, continued president of Russia.   It is worth noting that uncertainty about the point of entry has not stopped Mr. Putin from launching the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline. “There are still several questions we need to coordinate: the entry point, the route on Turkish territory and environmental security”, he said to president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone from

This entry was posted in No category, Europe, The Region and tagged , , , , , , by Mikhail Korchemkin.

About Mikhail Korchemkin

Dr. Mikhail Korchemkin is the founder and managing director of East European Gas Analysis, a consulting company that specializes in cost-benefit and financial analysis of natural gas projects in the former Soviet Union. His previous experience includes performing numerous feasibility studies for the USSR Gas Ministry, predecessor of Gazprom. Prior to going into full-time consulting Mikhail taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also had visiting scholarships at Harvard University and Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Mikhail has consulted numerous corporate and governmental clients including ABN-AMRO Bank, Amoco, BP, British Gas, Chevron, Conoco, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobil, Gas Strategies, Gasunie, Neste Oy, Osaka Gas, OTA of the U.S. Congress, Ruhrgas, Shell, Statoil , Swedegas, Total, Vattenfall and The World Bank. He has acted as expert witness in arbitration cases concerning natural gas business in Russia and Eastern Europe.

  Is it a beautiful dream? Russia and Greece will begin building a Greek extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline before the year is over and complete the job in 2019. This could be true if people trusted a memorandum the energy ministers of both countries signed in June. It seemed a foolproof solution that appeared eligible for implementation under the strict antimonopoly rules of the notorious Third Energy Package, which requires cross-border infrastructure within the EU to be independent from gas suppliers. Gazprom will neither own nor operate the future pipeline.   The ministers pledged to assist a proposed 50-50 joint venture of Russian and Greek investment banks, with initial Russian financing, to prepare a feasibility study and design a ‘South European Gas Pipeline’, a Greek segment of

This entry was posted in The Region and tagged , , , , , , , , , by Mikhail Krutikhin.

About Mikhail Krutikhin

Analyst and consultant on the oil and gas industry and politics in Russia; co-founder of and analyst with the RusEnergy consultancy in Moscow; editor-in-chief of The Russian Energy weekly newsletter. He previously served as editor-in-chief for the Russian Petroleum Investor and as associate editor for the Caspian Investor monthly magazines. Between 1972 and 1992, he worked for the TASS news agency in Moscow, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran, and Beirut, rising from correspondent to chief of bureau. Krutikhin graduated from Moscow State University majoring in Iranian linguistics, but later obtained his Ph.D. in modern history.

  Following its decision, the Polish regulator bluntly informed the European companies involved in the company Nord Stream 2: Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper and Wintershall, that if their subsidiaries are involved in the construction of the pipeline, they can bid farewell to their business in Poland.   The problem is not so much the importance of the Polish market to these companies’ portfolios, but that what has occurred, including the precedent of activating a regulator over such a sensitive topic, could put them in the sights of similar investigations in many other countries. Moreover, the issue could hypothetically be coming to the attention of the European Commission. The Polish regulator UOKiK has an iron-cast argument: if Nord Stream 2 is built, the dominant role of Gazprom on the European market


  The Kremlin has long realized that Russophilia in its traditional formula is unfit to assist its goal of having a firm grip on contemporary processes in Europe. It is ever more difficult in an integrated continent that is gradually reinforcing internal connectivity to the extent that external influences are isolated or at least marginalized so that they are unable to serve as a tool of Russian foreign policy. The energy “grand slam” that was planned for Bulgaria was part of a larger arrangement which was supposed to give Russia guarantees that even after joining the EU, Bulgaria would remain critically tied to Moscow’s interests. This brought about Ambassador Chizhov’s statement that Bulgaria would serve as Russia’s “Trojan horse”, being a nation of Russophiles by vocation and interest. The perimeter

Photo: БГНЕС

Recently, Gazprom’s top management stated that “Gazprom can unfreeze South Stream promptly” (, following earlier Putin comments that “South Stream is not definitely canceled” ( – contrasting earlier statements that the project is “closed forever”. Despite the latest thaw in relations between Russia and Turkey, South Stream apparently still is a preferable option for Gazprom as compared to Turkish Stream, which also appears to be buried, at least for a while. By building a pipeline directly reaching EU territory, Moscow will escape a problematic intermediary which Turkey has always been (a factor that had essentially brought down negotiations on Turkish Stream even before the conflict between Moscow and Ankara of the last fall). New statements on South Stream were accompanied by repeated assurances by some of the West Balkan states

This entry was posted in The Region and tagged , , , , , , , by Vladimir Milov.

About Vladimir Milov

Vladimir Milov is a Russian opposition politician, publicist, economist & energy expert. Former Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia (2002), adviser to the Minister of Energy (2001-2002), and head of strategy department at the Federal Energy Commission, the natural monopoly regulator (1999-2001). Author of major energy reform concepts, including the concept of market restructuring and unbundling of Gazprom, which was banned from implementation by President Vladimir Putin. Founder and president of the Institute of Energy Policy, a leading independent Russian energy policy think tank (since 2003). Columnist of major Russian political and business editions, including Forbes Russia, frequent commentator on Russian political and economic affairs in major Western media outlets (The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, etc.). Since leaving Russian Government in 2002, Mr. Milov had became a vocal public critic of Vladimir Putin’s dirigiste and authoritarian course. Mr. Milov is also active in the Russian opposition politics, serving as Chairman of the Democratic Choice opposition party, and is also known as co-author of the critical public report on Vladimir Putin’s Presidential legacy called Putin. The Results, written together with Boris Nemtsov (several editions published since 2008).

Have a chance new megaprojects in gas supplies to Europe?   Gas processing is an instrumental piece of the natural gas value chain. It is instrumental in ensuring that the natural gas intended for use is as clean and pure as possible, making it the clean burning and environmentally sound energy choice. Once the natural gas has been fully processed, and is ready to be consumed, it must be transported from those areas that produce natural gas, to those areas that require it. The efficient and effective movement of natural gas from producing regions to consumption regions requires an extensive and elaborate transportation system. In many instances, natural gas produced from a particular well will have to travel a great distance to reach its point of use. The transportation system