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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The gas crisis aftermath, 2009

  1. Russia 'threatening Nabucco', says EU president
  2. EU rules out funding Nabucco gas pipeline
  3. EU tells Ukraine not to challenge gas deal
  4. Gazprom refuses to pay compensation for gas crisis
My favourite subject-Nabucco and the gas crisis. Enjoy!

Russia 'threatening Nabucco', says EU president

27 January 2009

For the first time, Czech Prime Minister and current EU president Mirek Topolánek has deviated from the official Brussels stance of minimising the relevance of Russia's 'South Stream' gas pipeline by describing it as a "direct threat" to the EU's preferred Nabucco project.

Addressing a two-day summit dedicated to the Nabucco project in Budapest, Topolánek today (27 January) said that Russia's plans to build its North Stream and South Stream pipelines are aimed at keeping Europe dependent on Russian gas and threaten the Nabucco pipeline project, Reuters reported.

"These routes bypass Ukraine as well as Central Europe, while maintaining the EU's high dependency on Russia. This is a direct threat to the Nabucco project," stated Topolánek.

Up to know, Commission representatives at all levels have always played down the rival nature of the South Stream and Nabucco projects (EurActiv 04/07/08). A high-level representative of the EU executive recently said South Stream was not an alternative to supplies from Russia, but a necessary additional channel of supply.

In response, a top Russian representative expressed doubts as to the feasibility of the EU-favoured pipeline. "Nabucco could be a monument to great ambitions and actions not thought through properly," Viktor Zubkov, Russia's first deputy prime minister, said in Budapest. Zubkov is also chairman of Gazprom's board of directors. source

My comment: Guess why the Czechs are against South Stream. Because it bypasses Central Europe and most importantly them. I completely support the statement of the Zubkov. The only way to fill that pipe is trough Iran, and Iran's situation is so complicated...Oh,well.

EU rules out funding Nabucco gas pipeline

28 January 2009

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said there will be no European funding for the Union's flagship pipeline project, turning down appeals from Hungary at a two-day 'Nabucco summit' in Budapest organised in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis. EurActiv Hungary contributed to this article.

Speaking at the summit, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány described Nabucco as an issue of national security and suggested that the EU should finance the strategic project.

The summit's Hungarian host also called for an 'International Nabucco Board' to be established, and suggested that Budapest had the resources to host such an institution. He also stressed that the EU must make further commitments towards Nabucco's resource and transit countries, as they do not want to be mere suppliers.

In a first set of comments, Piebalgs said "the voice of Prime Minister Gyurcsány will be heard". But later on, he made clear that the Union should not finance the pipeline.

"I believe that we can facilitate getting loans" for the project, Piebalgs said, according to Reuters. However, he said the EU would "not go beyond it, because then it doesn't make sense, it's not anymore the consortium's project but a public-private partnership".

"I'm not ready at this stage to even consider such a type of option," Piebalgs added.

The EU energy commissioner added that a number of open questions regarding Nabucco remained to be answered. If concrete answers are not given by May, the project would be in jeopardy, he warned. source

My comment: Isn't it fun how the Czechs are very anti-Europe and don't like the idea of Europe telling them what to do, but in the same time, they don't miss a single opportunity to ask for more European money and/or to offer themselves as the wonderful host of the next European institution. I despise such hypocrisy! And anyway, it looks like Nabucco starts being questioned even by higher levels in politics. That's odd. I thought they'll finish it in a final act of desperation before offering a hand to Iran. Hmmm.

EU tells Ukraine not to challenge gas deal

27 January 2009

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will today (27 January) put pressure on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko not to challenge the recent gas deal, which allowed supplies of Russian gas to Europe to resume after a twenty-day crisis.

Securing the Russian-Ukraine gas deal is the main reason behind Yushchenko's visit to Brussels, according to Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Hrihoriy Nemyria, speaking in Brussels on Monday (26 January) after being questioned by EurActiv as to the political background of his visit.

Fears that the ruling Ukrainian coalition might unravel the agreement rose after reports suggested that Yushchenko had announced his intention to re-write the deal, signed on 17 January between Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The information had been leaked by Oleksander Shlapak, an economic aide to Yushchenko.

Robert Fico, prime minister of Slovakia, one of the countries worst hit by the crisis, reportedly described the attempts by Yushchenko as "completely crazy".

The deputy prime minister hinted that new problems might arise. Belarus has not yet signed a new gas agreement with Russia, which Nemyria described as "not normal".

From Brussels, Yushchenko will fly to the Polish city of Wroclaw, where he will meet Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency. The 76% drop in gas supplies to Poland, after reductions in imports via Ukraine and Belarus, appears to be a major issue on the agenda.

In his policy paper, Pierre Noel, a research associate at the Electricity Policy Research Group of the University of Cambridge, made recommendations for what the EU should do to decrease the ability of Russia to conduct "divide-and rule" policies vis-à-vis the Union.

"The proposed powers of the new Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) should be increased," Noel writes, adding: "Without the creation of effective pan-European regulatory oversight, it is unlikely that the third gas directive will succeed where the second failed. What is needed is a powerful regulatory coordinator with a clear political mandate to deliver market integration. […] A true, powerful and independent European energy regulator should be the long-term goal. Furthermore, the new Strategic Energy Review should be the occasion to launch a political debate on pan-European regulatory oversight of energy markets." source

My comment: What I believe is valuable here is that the EU finally grasps the need of a pan-European gas network-something to prevent Russia from using one countries against another ones. Let's see how much time it will take them to figure out that the only solution to our problems is strong nuclear energy support and total exploration of the renewables.

Gazprom refuses to pay compensation for gas crisis

26 January 2009

Gazprom will pay no compensation for recent gas supply disruptions to Bulgaria and Slovakia, the countries worst affected by the gas crisis, which affected Russian gas supplies to 18 European countries this winter, writes Dnevnik, EurActiv's partner in Bulgaria.

Sofia had officially requested Gazprom to pay compensation to Bulgarian consumers. Bulgaria also asked the Russian energy giant to agree to receive lower prices for its gas to compensate for the delivery failures. Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said last week that his country had failed to receive 123 million cubic metres of gas during the two-week crisis. Press reports estimated the compensation request to be worth some 100 million euro.

Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev visited Sofia on Friday to reject the compensation demands, invoking 'force majeure' and blaming Ukraine for the disruptions. Gazprom estimates that its own losses from the supply stops will top USD 2 billion.

Gazprom's Medvedev also rejected a Bulgarian proposal to establish direct contact between the Russian gas giant and the Bulgarian government. Gazprom said it intends to pursue dialogue via Overgas, the main intermediary for Russian gas imports to Bulgaria and a company of which Gazprom owns a majority stake.

After visiting Bulgaria, Medvedev flew to Slovakia, where he met the country's Prime Minister Robert Fico. Slovakia is also insisting that it must receive compensation for the losses it has suffered. But Fico wants the EU to reach a common position on any potential compensation for the gas crisis, according to press reports.

Western European nations have so far remained quiet over the compensation issue. Many suffered far less during the crisis than the EU's newer members did, the Wall Street Journal writes. The daily further recalls that Italy and Germany enjoy friendly relations with Russia and "may not want to rock the boat too much". source

My comment: Unfortunated but not unexpected. At least, yesterday, we managed to obtain a direct contact with Gazprom (it was a meeting between Medvedev and Parvanov). Cool, right? Or at least not so bad. Though I wonder whether they'll manage to get some money out of the whole situation.


Федоренко said...

The silent horror cut out words "normally and"perfectly" from our everyday conversations and pasted cautious
"while" and “so far” instead.

The former schoolmate whom I hadn’t seen for 15 years asked me not about my family and our pals but shouted the foolish request to write about “this son of a bitch, my boss, who stopped paying four months ago”. He thought that would matter. Sorry, lad, I will not write, that doesn’t makes sence. And he told me in a back – “fat bustard”. I ran away with no offence, and not being insulted, but ashamed. For what, for whom?

Denitsa said...

Hm, my employer is also stalling the continuation of my contract. So what. It will either get better or worst. And everybody says that the worst is yet to come. So, we have to enjoy whatever we have now, right :)


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