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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Energy in Europe, 03,2009- the fight for Nabucco

A fun one. I ordered the articles chronologically, so that you can follow the development all the way from the beginning. Don't worry, all the articles are shortened. The resume is in bold. The most important articles is the last, though I'm sure you'll get the idea just by skipping trough the titles.
  1. No EU funding for Nabucco, says Merkel
  2. EU 'very concerned' about new gas row
  3. Barroso's stimulus plan revamped at Nabucco's expense
  4. MEP: Parliament will stop Barroso's stimulus plan
  5. Nabucco removed from EU energy project list
  6. Poland defies Germany over Nabucco pipe
  7. EU leaders clinch deal on five billion stimulus plan /Nabucco included/

No EU funding for Nabucco, says Merkel

3 March 2009

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday (1 March) confirmed her country's opposition to funding the flagship Nabucco gas pipeline project with European money, stressing that the problem is not financing but finding the gas to feed the pipeline.

Speaking to the press following an extraordinary EU summit on Sunday (1 March), Merkel said that the Nabucco gas pipeline must not be subsidised with public money.

There is no need for financial support for Nabucco as there are no shortage of private investors, she said. The problem with Nabucco is where the gas will come from, not where the investment will come from, Merkel added.

Germany doubts the feasibility of the project should the pipeline fail to link up with Iranian and Iraqi gas fields. source

My comment: Not exactly a surprise for me, since Germany is well connected to Norway's gas grids (and thus is little bit more secured from Russia's moods) and from the other side, Germany is a good friend to Russia. Of course, since I also dislike the project (as long as Iran is out of it), I don't mind.

EU 'very concerned' about new gas row

6 March 2009

The European Union is 'very concerned' about the risk of a new gas crisis after recent comments from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Commission chief José Manuel Barroso said yesterday (5 March).

"We are very concerned with the latest news from Ukraine and the comments of the [Russian] prime minister [Vladimir Putin]," Barroso told a news conference after receiving Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev.

Hours before, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow would halt gas deliveries to Ukraine if payment were not received by Saturday, and this could also affect supplies to Europe.

A January dispute between Russia and Ukraine led to Russian gas supplies to Europe being severed for almost two weeks, triggering the EU's worst-ever energy crisis.

Stanishev, speaking alongside Barroso, said a situation where countries are held "hostage" on gas supplies is unacceptable. Bulgaria was the most affected country during the January gas crisis.

Barroso made it clear that the Commission would not accept the reopening of nuclear units at the Kozlodui nuclear power plant, which Bulgaria had closed as part of its accession deal. But he but said that the Commission will examine demands by Sofia for additional decommissioning funding. Barroso also said that the Commission could provide support to Bulgaria by granting of over 500 million Euros in the form of preliminary payments along European programmes.

Stanishev said these demands were legitimate, as Slovakia and Lithuania had been benefiting from more generous decommissioning assistance.

Putin made his statements after Ukraine's SBU security service tried yesterday (5 March) to gain entry to the offices of the authority overseeing Ukraine's gas pipelines. It was the second such incident in as many days apparently connected to Ukraine's gas deals with Russia.

Timoshenko, addressing her cabinet, said the security forces were out of control and acting at the president's behest. Yushchenko's spokesperson said the SBU's first raid on Naftogaz had acted within the law.

In the meantime, Gazprom received a payment from Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz. source

My comment: So, the fun continues. Russia and Ukraina are again on the edge. Bulgaria seems to add up to the tension in the EU against a new row between the two countries. I wonder if the only motivation for this is the security of our country, but in any case, I prefer to judge the actions, not the motivation. And we all lose from such family scandals.

Barroso's stimulus plan revamped at Nabucco's expense

10 March 2009

A Commission plan to spend five billion euro on clean energy and broadband Internet infrastructure projects has been redrafted. According to the new version, seen by EurActiv, a number of countries will obtain more funding, at the expense of the EU's flagship Nabucco pipeline project.

The sum allocated to Nabucco has now been downsized to €200 million, while several countries will receive more financial support than initially planned. Bulgaria and Greece will get €40m instead of €20m for the Haskovo-Komotini gas interconnection, while an expansion of gas storage capacity in the Czech Republic will get €35m instead of €25m.

Infrastructure to allow reverse gas flows in the event of disruptions in 12 EU countries will receive 75 million euro instead of 20. Moreover, France is given more money (150 rather than 100 million) to reinforce its network as part of an Africa-Spain-France axis, and a France-Belgium connection will obtain €200m instead of €100m, as initially planned.

A number of new projects will also see the light of day: Slovakia-Poland, Hungary-Croatia and Bulgaria-Romania gas interconnections, each worth €20m. The GALSI gas pipeline between Algeria and Italy will now receive €100m.

In total, gas interconnectors will benefit to the tune of €1,360bn, instead of €1,025bn. Electricity interconnectors also gain an additional €10m, for a Malta-Italy electricity interconnection, with offshore wind projects receiving an additional €5m, for the North Sea grid.

However, CCS (carbon capture and storage) projects will be depleted by €100m, obtaining €1,150bn instead of €1,250bn, the draft shows.

In total, the new financial rescue blueprint provides €3,750bn for energy projects, compared to €3.5bn in the earlier version. source

My comment: Compare with the last article for the actual agreement. As for me, I think Nabucco and CCS shouldn't be a priority. So, I don't see a reason why this isn't a good plan. Well, besides that Eastern Europe again gets a very small part of it. Just notice how Eastern countries get with 10 millions more, while Western countries get with 100 millions on project more.

MEP: Parliament will stop Barroso's stimulus plan

13 March 2009

The European Parliament will mobilise a majority against Commission President José Manuel Barroso's five billion euro stimulus plan, Claude Turmes, vice-president of the Green / European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament, told EurActiv in an interview.

Turmes made clear that he is against the Commission's recent proposal to reallocate five billion euro of unspent EU money, mostly to support energy projects.

He attacked it on two grounds: that it will not be able to play the role of a recovery package, as the projects foreseen will take a long time to be put in place, and that in fact the initial plan has been "twisted" by Germany and the UK, so that countries with weak economies, especially in Eastern Europe, will only get "peanuts".

The MEP believes that the European Parliament, which is due to co-decide on the stimulus plan after the spring summit of EU heads of state and government on 19-20 March, will "stop Mr Barroso and his ideas about the recovery plan". source

My comment: No comment, really. Check the source for the whole article where you can find an interesting comment for the EIB.

Nabucco removed from EU energy project list

17 March 2009

Mention of the Nabucco gas pipeline has been deleted from a list of projects to be financed by a five-billion euro EU stimulus plan, it emerged after a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers yesterday (16 March).

EU officials confirmed yesterday that the pipeline, once considered a flagship EU venture, had disappeared from the list of energy projects to be financed under the plan.

The move was apparently made at the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who insists that no public money should be spent on a project in which Berlin has little interest.

Under a revised version of the plan, Nabucco has been diluted under a wider common heading, the 'Southern gas corridor', which also includes an offshore pipeline, ITGI, to be built between the Greek Ionian coast and Italy, and other projects in the southern region. source

My comment: Don't be quick to celebrate, Nabucco hasn't disappear yet as:

Poland defies Germany over Nabucco pipe

18 March 2009

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Central and Eastern European countries will push for the Nabucco gas pipeline project during an EU summit on 19-20 March in Brussels.

The Polish request was supported by Romania, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.

Asked to comment on the news coming from Brussels, Turkey's Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said his country is determined to build and even finance Nabucco. source

My comment: I told you. By the way, I understand why they are doing it-South Stream wouldn't help their countries, it's fair to provide an alternative for them. But shoud it be Nabucco? Anyway, here's the end:

EU leaders clinch deal on five billion stimulus plan

20 March 2009

European Union leaders approved a plan today (20 March) to spend five billion euro on energy and broadband Internet infrastructure, after weeks of squabbling over which projects should receive funding.

"It's all agreed," Polish EU Affairs minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz told journalists before the end of the summit.

Germany has finally agreed to include the Nabucco gas pipeline in the list of projects, earmarking as much as 200 million euro for a risk-sharing facility, intended to help secure loans from banks at better conditions than those offered on the market.

Merkel apparently gave in to pressure, requesting in exchange that sums be spent quickly to help Europe's economic recovery in the short term. Indeed, the adopted document envisages spending two billion euro on energy projects in 2009, and another 1.975bn in 2010. A total of 3.975 is to be spent on energy projects.

This may however mean that the funding for Nabucco and other projects, favoured by Eastern European countries, could be lost. "East European countries are usually slow in absorbing EU funding," a diplomat told EurActiv.

As the overall sum is capped at five billion, almost half a billion euro were taken from a project to develop broadband in rural areas and from projects on tackling agricultural challenges.

A comparison with previous versions of the EU executive's proposal shows that two East European countries badly hit by the recent gas crisis have received modest increases to their sums – Slovakia will share 30m euro with its neighbour (instead of 25m) for a gas interconnector with Hungary, and Bulgaria will get 45m instead of 40m for another interconnector with Greece. Infrastructure to permit reverse gas flows between a number of Central and Eastern European countries will be allocated 80 million instead of 75.

In what looks like compensation, Germany gets 50m euro more for a single project: an offshore wind project in the North Sea.

To make up for the increased sums for gas and offshore wind projects, a number of Western countries agreed that five carbon storage projects be downscaled to 180 million euros instead of 200m, again in comparision to the previous draft.

But doubts still remain regarding the financing secured for the plan.

The ball will fall now in the European Parliament's court to approve the plan and its financing scheme. One group of MEPs has already signalled that they will not let the plan go ahead unchecked, and may well seek to amend it. source

My comment: So, surprise surprise, everybody got what they wanted, but some got even more. And more or less, Eastern Europe was screwed big time, but in the end, we really contribute way too little to the common budget. I think. Then, I might be wrong, since the new members doubled the size of the EU. In any case, they took from the important projects, like broadband internet and gave to the energy ones-usually supported by the local mafia. Let's hope that in the least, the pan-European gas network will be closer to reality now.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd. Thought you'd wish to know. This is a great write-up nevertheless, did not mess that up.

- David

Denitsa said...

Hey David! Thanks for the info, but the blog is optimized for Mozilla FF. If you use other browser (or small phone screen) it may indeed appear weird.

Anonymous said...

Conseils tres interessants. A quand la suite?

Anonymous said...

I just added this webpage to my google reader, excellent stuff. Can not get enough!

Anonymous said...

keep up the great work on the site. I love it. Could use some more frequent updates, but i am sure you have got more or better stuff to do like we all have to do unfortunately. ;)

 

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