Voices from Russia

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Ukrainian Blackmail: A Serious Argument for Accelerating the Diversification of Delivery Routes for Russian Natural Gas Shipments to Europe


President Medvedev sees the Ukrainian attempt at gas blackmail as a major argument in favour of accelerating the development of alternative routes for the transportation of Russian natural gas to Europe. On Friday, Mr Medvedev talked to Aleksei Miller, the CEO of the natural gas-producing company Gazprom. He said freezing Europeans were held hostage by Ukrainian blackmail and suggested that Gazprom reach out to new customers and expand its operations into new areas. A growing market will increase Gazprom’s profits and better meet the interests of Russia. On the whole, it shall answer the questions surrounding a guarantee of global energy security.

The gas crisis prompted stepped-up efforts in search of new routes for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe. New transportation pipelines had best bypass the unpredictable Ukrainian state. Stepped-up efforts under the North Stream pipeline venture would be a good solution to the gas delivery problem. Once the North Stream pipeline is laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, Russia will be able to pump gas directly to Western Europe. Mr Miller, the Gazprom CEO, is sure that the availability of alternative routes will reduce the role of transit countries in the delivery of Russian natural gas to Europe.

According to Mr Miller, “The strategy developed by Gazprom centres on the diversification of its transportation routes. Today, we are concentrating on two big ventures, the North Stream and the South Stream, which will enable us to pipe our natural gas across the Black Sea directly to Bulgaria. By the way, the Balkan countries have been hit worst by the current crisis. Therefore, we have all the more reason for stepped-up action under the South Stream project. If our western partners ask Gazprom to increase the capacities of the South Stream and Nord Stream gas pipelines and speed up their construction, then, it is certain that we will eagerly accept that proposal”.

Europe is the largest consumer of Russian energy resources. However, at the same time, Gazprom is also studying a number of major projects to transport gas to Asia and constructing gas liquefying plants. This will make it possible to be able to deliver gas to practically all regions of the world, including South America and South-Eastern Asia, where an increased demand for energy is noted today. This diversification of natural gas markets shall be one of the most important factors in laying a firm foundation for global energy security.

That is why Russia aims to carry out a more flexible energy policy, amidst the attempts of some of the consuming countries to politicise gas cooperation with Moscow. In this connection, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned some countries in Europe against impeding the construction of the North Stream pipeline; otherwise, Russia would reconsider the scheme of its deliveries from the Schtockman deposit in the Barents Sea. In particular, Russia could focus more on liquefying gas for markets in the USA and Asia.

10 January 2009

lada-korotunLada Korotun

Voice of Russia World Service



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