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Russian Gas in Europe
March 22, 2011 16:08

Germany's Wintershall, a unit of BASF joins Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project, which will transport Russian gas under the Black Sea to Europe. All the energy policy events happen in a difficult period, when the leaders and ministers of the energy industry of the European Union are trying to think up the Europe's energy strategy until 2050 year.

Natural gas is very important in the issue of energy supplying as it has an enormous potential in helping to reduce the problem of reducing carbon dioxide emissions emissions into the atmosphere. The use of it is based on a proven technology and it is sufficiently available at competitive prices. The guarantee of reliable and sufficient supplies is a fundamental problem of European energy security, according to the Italian "Il Sole 24 Ore" magazine.

Thus, the construction of new pipelines is welcomed. In 2011 an important progress will take place in this direction — the Nord Stream pipeline, that connects Russia and northern Europe through the Baltic Sea, will start working. This will increase gas supplies to Europe by 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. But a close study of this issue shows us that only those projects that contribute to diversification of both routes and sources of supply will be able to get the status of a priority project. "Il Sole 24 Ore" also talks about the distance of the present energy partners, including Russia and Norway, that excludes any formal support for the construction of gas pipelines from the side of EU.

"Il Sole 24 Ore" points, that it would be incorrect to think that an aim to obtain ways for new gas supply is incompatible with the need to expand the transportation routes to the old suppliers. After Ukraine's crisis, the EU has started a new policy that requires some preparation for the possible termination of gas supplies through the most important gas pipelines. Meanwhile, dozens energy companies of European countries have accelerated the South Stream pipeline planning, that will guarantee the Southern Europe direct access to Russian gas fields. According to Ruvr, "from the Russian port of Novorossiysk the pipeline will run under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, with one arm extending to Greece and Italy, and another to Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria". According to Itar-tass, "the estimated capacity of South Stream is 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The estimated project cost is 8.6 billion euros". It is expected that the South Stream will be completed in 2015. It will increase gas supplies to Europe and reduce the vulnerability to any disruptions in supplies. The project corresponds the principle of N-1 and certainly deserves the full support of Europenian Union.

The italian magazine points, that there is no need to exclude Russia from the plans of Europe's energy future. Gazprom is a stable source of gas supply in Europe for over forty years. Russia owns a quarter of the world's gas reserves, it's pretty enough to guarantee gas supplies to Europe for at least hundred years more. In addition, the author notes, that instead of making profit and creating jobs, the South Stream project will improve energy security and the funcioning of the European gas market.

According to "The Wall Street Journal", "Russia has assumed an unusually cooperative role in Japan's nuclear crisis, presenting itself as eager to ease strains on global natural gas markets". It was said, that "Gazprom could pipe more natural gas into the European Union to allow EU-bound cargoes of liquefied natural gas to be diverted to Japan, which was forced to shut down a big chunk of its nuclear power capacity after the March 11 earthquake".

Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Italian oil company ENI SpA, points, that Japan's crisis and riots in Libya, that caused reduction in oil and gas export will strenghten Russia's position on European markets.


Tags: Russian oil Russian gas    

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