Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War
In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being. The first challenge came from the May 2015 Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia, which thankfully
was repulsed by the country’s patriotic citizenry. Next up on the destabilization agenda was the political turmoil that threatened to take hold of Greece in the run-up and aftermath of the austerity referendum, the idea being that if Tsipras were deposed, then Balkan Stream would be replaced with the US-friendly Eastring project. Once more, the Balkans proved resilient and the American plot was defeated, but it was the third and most directly antagonist maneuver that snipped the project in the bud and placed it on indefinite standby. (…)
Beijing Is The Balkans’ Last Hope It’s thus far been established that the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership intended to revolutionize the
European continent with an infusion of multipolar influence along the Balkan Corridor, which was supposed to support Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road. Regretfully, however, the US has temporarily succeeded in putting the brakes on Balkan Stream, thus meaning that the Balkan Silk Road is the only presently viable multipolar megaproject envisioned to run through the region. On that account, it’s China, not Russia, which is
carrying the torch of multipolarity through the Balkans, although Beijing is of course partially depending on Russia’s established influence there to help secure their shared geostrategic objective and assist in making it
a reality. At any rate, the Balkan Silk Road is arguably more important than the Balkan Stream for the time being, and as such, it’s worthy to pay extra attention to its strategic details in order to better grasp why it
represents the Balkans’ last multipolar hope. (…)
See the full text as PDF: KORYBKO A Hybrid War to break the Balkans_12-05-2015
SPIEF — St. Petersburg in the heart of the action
BY PEPE ESCOBAR on JUNE 20, 2015
The dogs of western fear and sanctions bark, while the Eurasian caravan passes.
And no caravanserai could possibly compete with the 19th edition of the St. Peters-burg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Thousands of global business leaders – including Europeans, but not Americans; after all, President Putin is “the new Hitler” – representing over 1,000 international companies/corporations, including the CEOs of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, hit town in style.
Fascinating panels all around – including discussions on the BRICs; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the New Silk Road(s); the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU); and of course the theme of all themes, “The Making of the Asia-Pacific Century: Rebalancing East,” with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Predictably, there’s been plenty of anticipation regarding the BRICs New Development Bank, with big news coming next month at the BRICs summit in Ufa. Brazilian Paulo Nogueira Batista, the new vice-president of the bank, looks forward to the first meeting of the governors.
And on another key theme — bypassing the US dollar — it was up to Anatoliy Aksa-kov, chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship, to cut to the chase; “We need to transition to conducting mutual settlements in national currencies, and we believe that all the conditions are already in place for this.”
The action was not only rhetorical. Here’s just a fraction of the deals clinched at SPIEF. Predictably, it’s been a Pipelineistan show all around.
– The pipes for the Turkish Stream pipeline under the Black Sea will start to be laid down this month, or at latest by July, according to Russian Energy Minister Alexan-der Novak.
– Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller and Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis practically clinched the extension of Turkish Stream to Greece. They are “preparing an appropriate intergovernmental memorandum,” according to Gazprom.
– Gazprom also announced it will build a new double pipeline from Russia to Germany, across the Baltic Sea, in partnership with Germany’s E.ON, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Austria’s OMV.
In another crucial Eurasian front, India signed a framework agreement to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. Indian Minister of Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman was euphoric: “The two regions are big, anything done together should naturally lead to bigger outcomes.” (…)
— full text attached —
Nach Aussagen des russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin werde die Pipeline Nord Stream „die Leistung von elf Atomkraftwerken“ haben. Diese Worte fallen zu einem Zeitpunkt, an dem Deutschland den Ausstieg aus der Kernenergie wagt.
Für Putin hat die 1224 Kilometer lange Leitung große geostrategische Bedeutung: Sie macht die Rohstoffmacht unabhängig von Transitländern wie Weißrussland oder der nach Westen strebenden Ukraine. Als der Kremlchef und der damalige Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder 2005 eine Absichtserklärung zum Bau der Pipeline unterzeichneten, war das Projekt alles andere als unumstritten. (…)
Russische Bosse lauschen Rebellen aus Athen. TP 20.06.2015
Russische Bosse lauschen Rebellen aus Athen
Eine multipolare Welt müsse sich “von den Sünden der alten Welt” befreien, bläute Alexis Tsipras den Gästen . . .
Neue Planung: http://ria.ru/infografika/20150617/1074456782.html
Griechenland und Ungarn haben gemeinsam mit Mazedonien, der Türkei und Serbien eine Absichtserklärung für die Unterstützung des russischen Pipeline-Projekts Turkish Stream unterzeichnet. Russland will seine Position als Energieversorger der EU ausbauen. Die EU will dagegen enger mit den USA kooperieren.
Putin’s New Gas Strategy Actually Makes Sense
JAN 22, 2015 11:41 AM EST
By Marc Champion
When Russia canceled a planned pipeline to deliver natural gas to Europe across the Black Sea last month and said it would redirect the project to Turkey, some thought it was a bluff, others a sign of financial weakness and still others a rebuke to the West over Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin turned elsewhere to look for new partners.
In reality, the change made good commercial sense and should have happened years ago, according to a new report (1) by some of the most knowledgeable people on Russia’s gas industry.
The shift also means that Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas company, won’t be able to completely cut Ukraine out of the transit business, as the original South Stream pipeline had sought to do, for years to come. And, the authors might have added, the new arrangement is healthier for Europe, too.
The cancellation of South Stream is part of a broader change of strategy for Gazprom that plays to the company’s strengths, say Jonathan Stern, Simon Pirani and Katja Yafimava at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
The previous strategy to acquire distribution networks deep in EU markets. And while the report’s authors are more cautious, this was also in part politically motivated. It was meant to exert Russian political power as much as to make profits for Gazprom, which is one reason the European Union drew up regulations to obstruct it.
South Stream was expensive — conservatively priced at about $20 billion and by some estimates as much as $65 billion. It never made commercial sense, even when EU demand for gas was projected to soar and Gazprom controlled prices by negotiating separate long-term contracts with individual buyers.
Today, Gazprom faces new price competition from spot markets at gas hubs around the EU. Plus, new EU rules — some still being written — would force Gazprom to open up its European pipelines to other suppliers and distributors.
The Ukraine crisis prompted EU officials to move aggressively against South Stream for not complying with the new rules. And collapsing oil prices (to which long-term gas contracts are tied) made the economics of South Stream look even worse. Eventually, Gazprom pulled the plug.
The company then proposed redirecting the pipeline project to Turkey, its second-largest customer in Europe and the only European market projected to grow strongly. The gas Turkey now gets via Ukraine would come direct from Russia. And any additional amounts could be taken to a hub at Turkey’s EU border and sold.
Nevertheless, Gazprom would still need to send substantial amounts of gas to Europe through Ukraine until at the very least 2020, according to the Oxford report.
It’s by now clear that Gazprom’s pivot to Turkey was not a bluff, even if negotiations on price and the pipeline’s route continue. Gazprom has already allocated resources to the Turkish project.
Nor was the South Stream decision based only on cost. That couldn’t explain why Gazprom hired two barges and 200 personnel to start laying pipes on the seabed, Stern and his team said.
Other decisions taken at about the same time suggest a bigger shift at play:
Gazprom abandoned efforts to buy 100 percent of the Opal gas pipeline, which lies entirely within Germany. It also walked away (2) from advanced talks on an asset swap that would have given more extraction assets in Western Siberia to the Wintershall unit of BASF Group, in exchange for Gazprom’s full ownership of the German company’s interest in a domestic storage and trading business in Germany.
Not long before, Gazprom had finally agreed on terms to supply piped gas to China and iced its plans to develop terminals to export liquid natural gas. Putin sold that move as punishment for the EU and proof he could find alternative markets. But in essence, Gazprom is returning to the business it knows better than anyone else and the one it can more easily afford: extracting and delivering natural gas through pipelines.
Russia’s gas giant no longer has ambitions to own the whole extraction-to-European-consumer chain, or to invest in expensive LNG technologies. Instead, it will have a simpler, transactional relationship with the EU in the sale and purchase of gas. And that is exactly as it should be.
To contact the author on this story:
Marc Champion at email@example.com
(1) The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, January 2015: „Does the cancellation of South Stream signal a fundamental reorientation of Russian gas export policy?“ By Jonathan Stern, Simon Pirami, Katja Yafimava;
URL: http://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Does-cancellation-of-South-Stream-signal-a-fundamental-reorientation-of-Russian-gas-export-policy-GPC-5.pdf — see attachment —
Apparently, it *really* did happen
then these other sources:
Here is a useful graphic from RT article above:
- EU’s obstruction of South Stream blew black in its face
- Russia gets more gas infrastructure regardless
- Turkey won’t pass a chance to benefit from Eurasian ties
Asia Times / Greater China, May 19, 2014
China pivot fuels Eurasian century
By Pepe Escobar
A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.
And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.
This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region. Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth US$1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be signed off on as well. In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s gas exports to all of Europe. China’s present daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption.
Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to “isolate” Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis – and in defiance of the Obama administration – look no further than Pipelineistan.
Exit the Petrodollar, enter the Gas-o-Yuan
And then, talking about anxiety in Washington, there’s the fate of the petrodollar to consider, or rather the “thermonuclear” possibility that Moscow and Beijing will agree on payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal not in petrodollars but in Chinese yuan.
One can hardly imagine a more tectonic shift, with Pipelineistan intersecting with a growing Sino-Russian political-economic-energy partnership. Along with it goes the future possibility of a push, led again by China and Russia, toward a new international reserve currency – actually a basket of currencies – that would supersede the dollar (at least in the optimistic dreams of BRICS members).
Right after the potentially game-changing Sino-Russian summit comes a BRICS summit in Brazil in July. That’s when a $100 billion BRICS development bank, announced in 2012, will officially be born as a potential alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as a source of project financing for the developing world.
More BRICS cooperation meant to bypass the dollar is reflected in the “Gas-o-yuan”, as in natural gas bought and paid for in Chinese currency. Gazprom is even considering marketing bonds in yuan as part of the financial planning for its expansion. Yuan-backed bonds are already trading in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and most recently Frankfurt. (…)