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The European Commission and Germany are trying to convince the population that the gas threat from Russia does not exist
Material posted: Publication date: 05-08-2014

Russia will not increase gas prices or restriction of deliveries of blue fuel to Europe in retaliation for sanctions, reasons for concern. So I assure the European Commission and the German government, naming three reasons allegedly confirming this thesis. Why Europe, 30% dependent on Russian gas, is nervous, versed newspaper VIEW.

After the announced sectoral sanctions against Russia on July 30 on the official website of the Russian foreign Ministry reported that the sanctions are not only inconsistent with WTO rules, but "this is a thoughtless, irresponsible step. It will inevitably result in higher prices on the European energy market". Europe immediately sounded the alarm. German media the next day came out with screaming headlines about the fact that Russia threatens the EU the increase in gas prices in retaliation for sanctions. The German government was forced to make soothing statements.

"These statements do not currently contain reasons for concern", – stated in the Federal Ministry of economy, reports Deutsche Welle. There is no reason to expect that the supply of oil and gas from Russia to Germany and the EU will be limited, because the supply of gas in Germany is regulated long-term contracts, some of which are designed by 2035. In addition, "the price increase is only possible if a new contract", stated in the message of the German Department.

The European Commissioner for energy Gunther Oettinger also sees no cause for concern and calls two reasons for this. First, the Russians themselves are interested in supplying gas to the EU. "They need daily receipts in the state budget," he said. Secondly, Brussels has prepared a strategy, which will help you in the short and medium term to European consumers will be "indifferent to what Russia is doing" in the field of energy. According to Oettinger, the EU has alternative sources of gas supplies, plus the European storage of blue fuel are well filled. "We have a lot of days to live without gas imports", – he stressed.

"Yes, from the point of view of the right to increase unilaterally gas prices we can't, as there is a contractual arrangements. We have always advocated their stability and longevity. So you can accept that unilaterally increase energy prices for the EU will be difficult. The same and to limit the supply. Certain amounts under the contract we have to deliver. In this respect Europe is also protected," agrees with one of the arguments of Europe Director of the national energy security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

However, there are nuances that are in the EU you know. "That is why Europe is nervous, and the Oettinger have to make such statements. First, alternative to Russian gas in Europe. All alternatives – mythical or semi-mythical. And some real alternatives will become not earlier than in 15 years. By the end of this decade the real gas the EU can only get from Azerbaijan in the amount of 10 billion cubic meters. There are no other options", – says the interlocutor of the newspaper VIEW.

Hopes for shale gas in the U.S. is also illusory. "It is doubtful alternative for the price and the volume, and certainly not quick," adds Simon. For starters, both the US and Europe need to spend tens of billions of dollars to build the infrastructure and fleet for LNG exports to Europe, and Europe itself – to build the infrastructure for receiving LNG tankers and liquefied gas. And even if the U.S. and EU will decide to spend so seriously, the price of U.S. gas will be at least comparable to the cost of Russian raw materials, and most likely higher.

Hope own shale gas in Europe is also destroyed. Literally in early July, the Commissioner himself admitted that shale gas will not save Europe from dependence on Russian fuel. Because shale gas will provide only 10% needs Europe, and the only thing it will bring, – will not fall own production on traditional fields, said Oettinger.

Norwegian gas count too. The Minister of petroleum and energy of Norway Tord lien finally dispelled the hopes of the leaders of the European countries, denying plans to significantly increase its gas supplies to the European Union in case of reduction of purchases of gas in Russia. "In the short term, we will be able to increase gas production, but not very much", he said yesterday in an interview with Handelsblatt. According to him, only by 2020, gas production in the country will be increased, and then slightly: from 110 billion cubic meters in 2013 to 130 billion cubic meters. What Europe can not be indifferent to what Russia is doing in the energy field, confirmed by European experts.

The European Union, despite the desire of leaders of its member States, in the near future will not be able to reduce energy dependence on Russia, says the Director of the European centre for energy and resource security (EUCERS) Fridbert Pfluger in a published article in the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

According to him, when discussing this topic tend to remain silent "about one significant moment." "All possibilities for diversification of gas supplies (to Europe) will be available only towards the end of the decade. In addition, due to depleting reserves of blue fuel in Europe for energy resources from Russia will be in great demand in 2030," says Pfluger.

Deliveries of liquefied gas from the United States, produced by the method of hydraulic fracturing (freking), have a number of problems. First, such exports will target Asia where it can sell more and make more profit. Second, its value due to considerable cost of production and transportation will certainly be not as low as we would like the Europeans, indicates the European expert. Brussels analytical center "Bruegel" recently decided that transoceanic deliveries of blue fuel will increase gas prices in the EU in half to two times.

"Whether we like it or not, but the dependence on Russia in fact will be saved for a long time, even if it can manage to reduce it," says the German expert. Therefore, Pfluger encourages more careful to apply the EU strategy aimed at the diversification of energy imports, "avoiding populist decisions in haste and taking note of the importance of Russian supplies to European businesses and consumers that will continue for a long time".

Analysts of the investment Bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch also warned that the EU in the short to medium term is unlikely to abandon Russian gas. Europe in 2013, has bought 165 billion cubic meters of gas from Gazprom, its share in the EU market – 30%.

Moreover, the EU is now more risk of losing the existing gas suppliers than opportunities to receive new ones.

So, the EU could lose the gas from Algeria, which now gets. "This will happen if Libya is collapsing and the Islamic revolution to spread to Algeria. What prevents revolution to seize the pipeline that carries gas from Algeria is in Spain, Italy and other countries of Europe?" – says Simonov.

Moreover, Europe is silent about one detail – about the threat to the energy security of Ukraine. "Come winter, Ukraine will start to steal gas from the transit pipeline. And we shut off the supply of transit gas. The EU will scream that the Russians are obliged to supply him with gas, however, we will refer to force majeure. As to supply gas through the country, where Russian gas is lost and where, moreover, there is a war? A country that steals our gas and the EU themselves have brought up? So how can there be complaints to us, if we shut off the supply? No," – said Simonov.

In the end, Russia could go the way of violation of the legal field, as it has done for Europe itself, when she it was profitable. "Ettinger and EC say about the logic of the legal world, saying that Russia must fulfill contracts. However, they do not live in this world. When the spot gas prices have gone down, Europe began to demand lower prices for Gazprom's gas, shout, let's rewrite contracts with Gazprom, this useless scrap of paper. When the EU is unprofitable to live in the legal field, he readily forgets about it," says Simonov.

The same legal selectivity and in the history of the "South stream". Russia has signed with European countries, which will host the pipeline, an intergovernmental agreement. "And then BAM, Europe yells that the intergovernmental agreement violates the Third energy package of the EU, cancel these agreements. But in European law intergovernmental agreement is a priority in relation to European legislation," says CEO NESF. Europe itself destroys the legal world, when it is profitable, and she teaches the partners to such a situation.

"So if it comes to economic war, we have no choice. If the EU will not stop this madness, I don't know what the consequences might be. We can't always be good when push against us more and more unreasonable sanctions. First, sanctions are imposed for Crimea, but against the companies that have no relation to Crimea do not have. Then the sanctions immediately after the crash "Boeing", for the support of the rebels, when there is no evidence that this insurgents shot down the plane. Is already finished examination of the black boxes, aren't presented any facts proving the guilt of the rebels? But sanctions are already being applied," says Konstantin Simonov.

In his opinion, the situation is reminiscent of collective madness in the EU and the US. "In history this has happened 100 years ago, when Germany was drawn into collective madness and the rest of the First world war," says Simonov.

He does not exclude that Europe with its actions can now drag us into this collective madness. And then Russia might respond by restricting the supply of gas to the EU to the detriment of their budget revenues. "Of course, we wouldn't want that. But to avoid this, Europe needs to think hard about what she's doing," – said the head of the Fund of national energy independence.

Olga Samofalova


Tags: Russia , Europe , gaz

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