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USA-Russia Gas War

Hat tip to John Helmer

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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.

Pepe Escobar


Introduction

The USA proxy gas war with Russia is directly on limiting economic ties between EU and Russia and  uses Ukraine as cannon fodder. Today Ukraine is much like Spain in 1936. Split nation, civil war, the arena of collision of interests of foreign powers (with old players known from Spain war -- the USA, GB, Germany and Russia, but this time USA and GB are on German side of the conflict; Poland is playing the role of Italy), betrayal of national elite, spies, foreign volunteers, mercenaries ... But there is one important difference -- all this events are happening on the background of the US gas war with Russia. The strategic goal in this war is to isolate Russia from EU, and first of all Germany.

A starting point, kind of 101 for the topic might be nakedcapitalism.com Ukraine: The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June, BBC report Ukraine-Russia gas row: Red bills and red rags by Alix Kroeger and Russell Hotten, and The Russian Gas Carousel: Who Wants Off, and Who Wants On (May 21, 2014)

BBC report is pretty biased (as it should be in government controlled MSM) but it provides some discussion of key problems with the exception of one -- chronic, systemic inability of Ukraine to pay for Russia gas due to low competitiveness of the industries which are major consumers or it. For that nakedcapitalism.com article is a better source information. Here is the map of EU countries dependence of Russian supplies:

The nightmare of having a "partner" that is insolvent and steals the gas

For Russia Ukraine is a huge chronic pain, the partner that they iether need to subsidize or to cut the flow of gas. Ukraine is insolvent and can't pay market price for Russian gas. So it simply steals it. This nightmare of subsiding Ukraine lasted since the independence.

“We cannot deliver gas for free, so they need to pay off the debt,” said Aleksey Miller, Gazprom chief executive has said. The fact that junta came to power in Kiev in February, 2014 was the last drop that broke the camel back.

Russia understands that junta enjoys full support of the US government and that further complicates the situation, probably to the great delight of the USA energy companies brass:

Russia has threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine because of the dispute over prices. That could also affect EU countries, as much Russian gas is delivered to the West through Ukraine.

We examine what's behind the row, and its potential impact on Europe and its gas supplies.

What is the row about?

The immediate dispute is about Ukraine's very large unpaid gas bill: $2.2bn (£1.2bn; 1.4bn Euros), according to the Russian state-controlled utility Gazprom.

If Ukraine does not settle its bill, Gazprom will in effect install the world's largest pre-pay meter, and Ukraine will be obliged to pay for its gas in advance. If it fails to pay, Gazprom says it will restrict or suspend delivery.

But lurking behind this is the power struggle between the interim Ukrainian government, which leans towards the EU, and Russia, which wants to keep Ukraine firmly within its sphere of influence.

In February, months of street protests culminated in the removal from power of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich. He had decided not to sign an association agreement with the EU, opting instead to join Russia's customs union.

But the interim government has reversed course. In return, the EU is providing development assistance, a loan of 1.6bn Euros (£1.3bn; $2.2bn), the temporary removal of customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU, and a programme to lessen Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia.

That has angered the Kremlin. Gazprom has raised the price Ukraine will have to pay for its gas in future by 81%: up to $485.50 (£293; 354 Euros) from $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres.

Previously, Ukraine's gas imports were subsidised in return for Russia's lease of the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet. But since Russia annexed Crimea last month, that agreement is no longer valid.

Will anyone outside Ukraine be affected?

Quite possibly - the EU gets about a third of its gas from Russia, with some 50% of this flowing through Ukraine.

Outside Ukraine, two other pipelines link Russia to the EU: the North Stream (under the Baltic) and the Yamal, which flows through Belarus and Poland.

Germany and Italy are the two biggest customers for Russian gas. However, Germany is building more coal-fired power plants and renewable energy installations, including offshore wind farms.

Countries most reliant on Russian gas flows via Ukraine (cubic metres, billion)
Source: Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
2013 2012
Italy 25.33 15.08
Turkey 13 14.02
Germany 11.71 21
Czech Republic 7.32 7.28
Hungary 6 5.29
Slovakia 5.42 4.19

Another pipeline, the South Stream, is under construction, running from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then splitting into two branches, north through Hungary to Austria, and south to Italy.

The project website says the South Stream is scheduled to begin supplying gas late next year and be completed in 2018-19.

However, the EU could decide to freeze construction as part of a further round of sanctions on Russia.

Interconnectors between different pipelines could also help. South-eastern EU countries such as Austria and the Czech Republic receive their supplies via Ukraine and are most at risk if Russia turns off the taps. However, they could receive relief supplies via the interconnectors flowing down from Germany.

Other countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, are looking to diversify their energy supplies, for example by bringing in more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from non-European countries, such as Qatar, or shale gas from North America.

One factor working in the favor of EU consumers is the weather: energy use falls in summer, reducing dependence on imports.

Looks like Ukrainian events are used by the USA and its proxies and clients in Europe as a pretext for launched a campaign directed on undermining Russia’s strategic economic position in energy exports through a variety of means.

Geopolitical games about Ukrainian pipeline and Southern Stream project

From derailing negotiations over pipeline construction to using puppet governments as a wedge between Moscow and Europe, the US and its allies want to weaken Russia strategic position vis-à-vis gas delivery infrastructure, while simultaneously strengthening their own.

See also IEA Publication Energy Policies beyond IEA Countries - Ukraine 2012 - Ukrainian Version

Ukraine’s energy sector faces unprecedented challenges, from a heavy reliance on expensive fossil-fuel imports to inefficient infrastructure and markets. Yet there is also potential for Ukraine to experience an energy revolution, one that could boost employment, lift economic growth and enhance energy security. Modernisation of Ukraine’s energy-supply sectors has only begun and will require investment on a huge scale, complemented by a fundamental reform of the business environment.

A strong dependency on oil and gas imports and often-inefficient energy production, transportation and supply sectors means that reducing energy demand must be a greater priority. The potential for energy efficiency gains in the residential, district heating and industrial sectors is large. Endowed with large conventional energy reserves, alongside sizeable renewable potential, Ukraine can build the capacity to significantly increase its resource production.

Releasing this potential will require deep regulatory reform and full implementation of international treaty provisions. Effective competition, alongside a progressive move towards market prices, will also help Ukraine attract investment to develop the sector. A draft energy strategy, which sets out a series of supply-side measures, was published in 2012. Broadening and implementing a comprehensive energy strategy, one that takes greater account of demand-side policies, could significantly improve progress in the medium term.

This review analyses the large energy-policy challenges facing Ukraine and provides recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide policy makers in the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.

Related link:

Putin's failed "Turkish Gambit"

As EU blocked Putin's attempt to bypass Ukraine via Back Sea route to Bulgaria, Putin decided to solve the problem via Turkey, despite the fact htat it more legthy path and turkey is not among Russia friends and is a member of NATO.

This "Turkish Gambit" was a very dangerous play. This idea of "sacrificing" the "South stream" to induce some sense of reality into EU and get some leverage is both very bold and very risky play. At the end it failed. But it instantly demonstrated astonished EU brass that Russia can search and find other markets for its gas. And no less profitable then German market. That raises for EU the spectre of redirection of Russia energy flows away from Europe, the last thing the EU wants as alternatives are more expensive and need additional infrastructure to be built. .

Southern European countries, especially Serbia and Bulgaria, which also were keen to blackmail Russian over this project, but which were already counting rent from running the pipeline, now look like a bride for which the groom left just before the wedding.

Of cause the perspective of subsidizing Ukraine which will steal gar from the pipeline in any case is even worse then running pipeline via Turkey which is on its way of transformation from secular into moderate Islamist state and as such is a threat to Russia (if this is a real plan; that is just the first move; Putin might have in mind something else) but here dangers are also clearly visible. Among them alienation of Greece and Armenia, as well as additional costs of running the pipeline for a longer distance.

One think is clear -- EU bureaucrats and Angela Merkel did shoot itself in the foot.

The greatest winner in this Turkish gambit play is the USA. For them this is a real and huge diplomatic victory. and it opens the path of supplying US LNG to Europe, if (big if) they can pay the price. While this is called energy diversification by US politicians in reality this is a power play to capture new markets.

Turkey politicians were not too exited with this perspective. They viewed it as mainly a good possibility to extract huge concession from Russia as for price  of the gas sold to turkey. Here is Turkish view on the problem from Batı’ya karşı Rusya kozunu kullanmak (Dec 4, 2014):

The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey caused serious debate not only about energy, but also about policy in energy shere.

The issues on which the parties have significant differences of opinion (especially Syria and Ukraine), were not mentioned at all during the visit. Instead, priority in these discussions (and, in my opinion, somewhat exaggerated form) was given to Russia's decision to cancel the project pipeline in Europe and lay it in Turkey.

As in the case of accidents in coal mines, one can observe that the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz (Taner Yıldız) demonstrates good communication skills. One of the first order, award-active discussion, it was Putin's statement about a 6% discount on natural gas, which Moscow supplies to Turkey. According to unofficial sources, the ministry has requested to reduce the price by 15%, while in the energy department requested the exact figure is not announced prices. Therefore, it is likely that once the discount exceeds 6%, to be made a statement saying that "this is the desired amount." But other countries Russia really sells gas is cheaper, so reducing the price of gas supplied to Turkey, was widely anticipated move.

The main surprise, in my view, was the statement of Vladimir Putin's rejection of the project "South Stream" and a willingness to build a pipeline to Turkey. In our country, the news is presented as a success for Turkey, however much it would be better to consider it as part of the game Putin against the West. In other words, we use Russia, and Russia uses us in your game.

This new project Russia is quite complicated to implement. First of all, we should recognize that in this form it is not profitable for either Turkey or Russia. Russia is seeking to sell gas directly to Europe. Over the past few years Russia invested large sums in Europe, wanting to fully capture the western energy market. But Russia is unlikely to increase their bets in this market through Turkey, despite the position of the EU and the failure of Bulgaria. Moreover, if Turkey by giving permission for the use of its territory and will only receive payment for transit, then it's better not to build this pipeline at all. But if Turkey will buy gas from Russia, mix it with the gas purchased in other countries, and sell it to yourself to Europe, then the project will be really beneficial for Turkey. But in this case, the question arises: "Why Russia to invest that amount of money if it will not be aboee to determine the price of the resold gas "

So, Russia is choking under pressure from the West, trying to find some way out. Initiating a similar project, Russia is trying to use it as a bargaining chip against Europe. However, anyone who has jurisdiction in this matter, understand that to realize these plans will not be easy.

It is in the interests of Turkey to pursue the gas deal from Northern Iraq.

A further increase Turkey's dependence on Russia - is, from all points of view, the risk. It is important to remember that for the last two years, Turkey has been successful in politics in Northern Iraq. Drawing their attention to the region and getting a direct license to extract gas Ankara actually can get a profitable business. Furthermore, Turkey does not need to turn away from this path in the future, for example, to conclude an agreement with the Northern Iraq like those that have been signed with Iran. Turkey should get gas from Southern Mediterranean thanks to the center created in Ceyhan. In this case Turkey, on the one hand, acquire a strategic force, on the other - guarantee the security of supplies and price advantages.

If we decide to go this path, it becomes obvious that buying the old volumes of gas in Russia in not rational. Of course, Russia is great player in energy sphere, but there are too many unknowns in this game. If Turkey agrees to this game, knowing that it is contrary to its interests, it can be explained only one reason - the desire to set the tone in the resistance to the West because of the growing contradictions with it.

Obviously, due to pressure from the West, Russia is left without countervailing forces on which it rely in pursuing its policy. And this sense Turkey rude "demonstration of power ansd independence" is just playing into another dangerous game.


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[Jun 05, 2018] The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

Notable quotes:
"... Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders. ..."
"... The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 5, 2018 at 7:42 am GMT

Antony C. Sutton, ´Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution', 1974 New Rochelle, N.Y. describes how Wall Street supported bolshevism in order to prevent that German, suppose also Dutch and other, trade, with Russia was resumed.

WWII and the aftermath created the Atlantic alliance.

Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders.

The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

[May 27, 2018] Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On Southern Stream Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington Zero Hedge

May 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On "Southern Stream" Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/27/2018 - 11:00 26 SHARES

One and a half years after Russia and Turkey signed a deal to build the strategic "Turkish Stream" gas pipeline in October 2016 , putting an end to a highly contentious period in Russia-Turkish relation which in late 2015 hit rock bottom after the NATO-member state shot down a Russian jet over Syria, on Saturday Russian state energy giant Gazprom and the Turkish government reached a deal on the construction of the land-based part of the Turkish Stream branch that will bring Russian gas to European consumers.

According to Reuters , the two counterparts signed a protocol that would allow the construction, which was stalled by a legal rift over gas prices, to go forward. Gazprom and Turkey's state-owned BOTAS agreed on the terms and conditions of the project, Gazprom said in a statement , adding that the deal "allows to move to practical steps for the implementation of the project." The actual construction would be carried out by a joint venture called TurkAkim Gaz Tasima which will be owned by Gazprom and BOTAS in equal shares, Gazprom said.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkish president Erdogan said that Gazprom and BOTAS resolved a long-running legal dispute over import prices in 2015-2016, and as a result Turkey would gain $1 billion as part of the gas-price settlement reached with Gazprom, in which Turkey and the Russian natgas giant agreed on a 10.25% price discount for gas supplied by Russia in 2015 and 2016.

"We agreed on a 10.25% reduction in the price of natural gas in 2015-2016," Erdogan announced while speaking at a rally on Saturday. "We got our discount. We get about $ 1 billion worth of our rights before the election," the Turkish President said, as cited by Anadolu Agency.

BOTAS had refused to approve the building of the land-based part of the pipeline until the import price issue was resolved. Until now, it only permitted Gazprom to construct the undersea part of the line. The construction is currently underway.

Russia and Turkey officially agreed on the project, which consists of two branches, in October 2016. The first branch will deliver gas to Turkish consumers, while the second one will bring it to the countries in southern and south-western Europe. The European leg is expected to decrease Russia's dependence on transit through Ukraine. Each of the lines has a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters a year.

Gazprom finished the construction of the deep-water part of the first line of the Turkish Stream in April. The first Russian gas could start flowing through both legs of the Turkish Stream by December 2019.

The greenlighting of the Turkish Stream project is sure to infuriate the US which previously announced it was considering sanctions of European firms that would participate in the Nothern Stream Russian gas pipeline.

President Trump went as far as to threaten Angela Merkel two weeks ago , telling her to either drop the Russian gas pipeline or the trade war with the US was set to begin.

How Europe reacts to US threats involving the Northern Stream and, soon, the Turkish Stream, will determine whether Europe will once again find itself a subservient vassal state to US military and energy lobbying powers, or if Brussels will side with Putin in this growing conflict, resulting in an unprecedented breach within the so-called " democratic west. "

[May 27, 2018] Turning on Russia by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Notable quotes:
"... By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould ..."
"... Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History. ..."
"... Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia ..."
"... * Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com ..."
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Turning on Russia 11/05/2018

In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
April 29.2018

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.

As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.

As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.

Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.

As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."

Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."

If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."

Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.

If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.

Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.

From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.

Pentagon Capitalism

Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.

"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.

From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet Washington's more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight.

Peter Steinfels' 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America's politics begins with these fateful words. "THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First, that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy."

But long before Steinfels' 1979 account, the neoconservative's agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America's was well underway, attenuating U.S. democracy, undermining détente and angering America's NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces ( led by Senator "Scoop" Jackson ) from its inception. But America's ownership of that policy underwent a shift following U.S. intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation , "To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much."

In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, "The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity."

In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel's "politically significant supporters" in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all.

Garthoff writes, "The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez Thus they [Israel's politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem."

Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History.

Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia

* Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com

Published at consortiumnews.com

[May 23, 2018] the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US-Saudi axis of evil

May 23, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil globinfo freexchange
T he role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East chaos is quite well known . Recall that in a letter of the Podesta email series, John Podesta admitted that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia we re helping ISIS. Podesta also mentioned that the US should exercise pressure to these countries in order to stop doing it: " ... we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. "
Of course Hillary Clinton wouldn't do anything about this problem too, as in another letter of the Podesta email series, it was revealed that Bill Clinton was receiving "expensive gifts" from the Qataris!
As reported by Antimedia , in 2009 Qatar proposed a pipeline to run through Syria and Turkey to export Saudi gas. Assad rejected the proposal and instead formed an agreement with Iran and Iraq to construct a pipeline to the European market that would cut Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar out of the route entirely. Since, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have been staunch backers of the opposition seeking to topple Assad. Collectively, they have invested billions of dollars, lent weapons, encouraged the spread of fanatical ideology, and helped smuggle fighters across their borders.
The Iran-Iraq pipeline will strengthen Iranian influence in the region and undermine their rival, Saudi Arabia -- the other main OPEC producer. Given the ability to transport gas to Europe without going through Washington's allies, Iran will hold the upper-hand and will be able to negotiate agreements that exclude the U.S. dollar completely.
Yet, less than a year ago, a crisis erupted between 'unholy' allies, apparently because Qatar has chosen to change camp and proceed into a deeper approach with Iran.
As reported by Guardian , Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf's worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran , remove Turkish troops from Qatar's soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qj7RXa9bXPM


Then, apparently, Rex Tillerson tried to persuade Qatar to stay in the unholy alliance and move away from Iran a day after wrapping up discussions with the king of Saudi Arabia and other officials from Arab countries lined up against Qatar.
We can tell now that Qatar has not changed stance and chosen to continue its approach with the winning alliance in the Syrian battlefield. We have the first signs showing that the US empire and its allies in the Middle East will move against Qatar, beginning with a typical first step: propaganda war.
A Pentagon "propagandist," who previously headed a company that was paid half a billion dollars to produce fake terrorist videos in Iraq, was hired by a Dubai based company to create a film accusing Qatar of links to terrorism , the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed.
Charles Andreae, the CEO of Andreae & Associates which was contracted to produce the film, used to work for PR firm Bell Pottinger, the UK PR firm that was payed $540 million dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq.
The firm was employed to produce the anti-Qatari film amidst a diplomatic row in which the Saudi and UAE governments cut ties with Doha, which it accused of supporting terrorism. Qatar has strongly denied the accusation and accused its neighbours of fabricating stories. US intelligence agencies have since confirmed that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites to justify its unprecedented attack against Qatar.
According to the Bureau, Andreae was given over $500,000 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism. The film, entitled "Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance," features a number of neo-conservative pundits making the UAE and Saudi case against Qatar in a 37-minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UeUMmpYZJtQ


Washington's double standards and hypocrisy are quite evident in this case too. After this crisis between allies erupted, a number of US officials immediately launched a series of statements through which they depicted Qatar as the sole supporter of terrorist groups in the Middle East. Again, Saudi Arabia, the most authoritarian regime in the region and probably the biggest supporter of jihadist extremists, was miraculously vanished from their radar and, naturally, the radar of the Western corporate media.
In case Qatar will not compromise and keep walking the path towards decoupling itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil, the next steps will be a new series of upgraded, Iranian-type sanctions, or even a military invasion as the last option. The only thing that can save Qatar for now is the fact that it hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East .

[May 20, 2018] Germany responds to USA's ultimatum about Nord Stream 2 project

May 20, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com

https://us-u.openx.net/w/1.0/pd?plm=6&ph=2857f3e0-a998-4d70-b5c1-b19a3d6766a1

"The US is looking for sales markets. We can understand this, and we are prepared to take effort to ensure this gas reaches Germany easier. Presently, however, it remains much more expensive than the gas delivered via the pipeline," the minister told ARD.

In addition, if the US does not change its tactics of behaviour and continues thinking only of its economic interests, then Europe will act similarly, the minister added.

Earlier, Us officials said that the United Stats may impose sanctions on the companies involved in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project. US Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk said that Washington could consider retaliatory measures within the framework of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. She explained the US position as follows: the construction of the gas pipeline will strengthen Europe's dependence on the Russian natural gas.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany regards the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a safe economic project for Europe.

Nord Stream is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany that is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The project includes two parallel lines. The first line was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011. The second line was laid in 2011-2012 and was inaugurated on 8 October 2012. At 1,222 kilometres (759 mi) in length, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline. It has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.

Source: Pravda Report

[May 20, 2018] Brussels Rises in Revolt Against Washington a Turning Point in the US-European Relationship

May 20, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Sandra Oudkirk, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, has just threatened to sanction the Europeans if they continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring gas in from Russia across the Baltic Sea. That country is also seen by the US as an adversary and its approach is by and large the same – to issue orders for Europe to adopt a confrontational policy, doing as it is told without asking too many questions.

Iran and Nord Stream 2 unite Moscow and Brussels in their opposition to this diktat. On May 17, Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with a Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) that seeks to increase the current levels of trade valued at $2.7 billion. The deal lowers or abolishes customs duties. It also establishes a three-year process for reaching a permanent trade agreement. If Iran becomes a member of the group, it would expand its economic horizons beyond the Middle Eastern region. So, Europe and Russia are in the same boat, both holding talks with Iran on economic cooperation.

[May 04, 2018] In their March 15 letter, 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe.

May 04, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

In their March 15 letter , 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe. On March 29, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told Russia's RBK TV that he cannot rule out the possibility that Russian assets in America could be seized over the Skripal case. If Washington goes that far, it will be pure highway robbery. And the response will not be long in coming. That interview took place right after the British parliament had announced an investigation into some money-laundering schemes allegedly associated with Russia. The UK government has unveiled its "Fusion Doctrine" to counter what it's calling Russian propaganda.

The US policy of making Europeans bow to pressure has been largely successful. The leading European powers -- the UK, Germany and France – -- are pushing to force the EU to impose new sanctions on Iran, in order to persuade the US not to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last-minute attempt to keep the agreement in effect, as it is widely expected that President Trump will not certify it in May. Europeans may bow to American pressure in a bid to appease Washington, but Russia is also a party to the agreement, which cannot be scuttled without Moscow's consent. Adding additional conditions will violate the terms of the deal. It won't be supported internationally. If new Iran sanctions are introduced unilaterally by the West, the issue will become a bone of contention that will further worsen relations with Moscow.

[Apr 20, 2018] How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies.

Notable quotes:
"... How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies. Don't believe me read the Doha agreement where the west recognised the Syrian rebels, this pipeline was a pre requisite for that recognition. ..."
"... And why would Assad who is winning the war do the one thing that would give America and other western countries the chance to get involved because of outrageous moral indignation. Assad and Outing really aren't that stupid. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

dumbwaiter -> Kevin Watson , 13 Apr 2018 15:31

How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies. Don't believe me read the Doha agreement where the west recognised the Syrian rebels, this pipeline was a pre requisite for that recognition.

Israel? which is not happy with Iran and Lebanon having a presence in Syria, worried that America was withdrawing.

AlQaeda or the Syrian Rebels, many are both who are losing the war and this is a last desperate attempt to drag in America and the west?

You've also got Turkey and the Kurds (the Kurds were abandoned by the West after they had fulfilled their useful purpose), both also players in the region but I can't see a motive here.

And why would Assad who is winning the war do the one thing that would give America and other western countries the chance to get involved because of outrageous moral indignation. Assad and Outing really aren't that stupid.

Any or all of the above could be the true motivation. I am no fan of Assad, Putin, or Trump or May (or the Blair clone Macron) but the question you have to ask yourself is who gains from this? And is. this in the interests of a resolution to a conflict, to your safety or is it something else?

[Apr 16, 2018] I suggest that Russia act as marginal producer and refuse to sell oil, gas or raw petroleum products for less than double the price of other suppliers.

Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

honestann Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

I suggest that Russia act as "marginal producer" and refuse to sell oil, gas or raw petroleum products for less than double the price of other suppliers.

All of a sudden... thing will change.

After the treatment Russia has gotten for the past year or more, they are more than justified to adopt this policy.

[Apr 16, 2018] In late March, the U.S. State Department warned European corporations that they will likely face penalties if they participate in the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, on the grounds that the project undermines energy security in Europe

Apr 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

spyware-free -> Pernicious Gol Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

What's going on?
Read this:
"In late March, the U.S. State Department warned European corporations that they will likely face penalties if they participate in the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, on the grounds that "the project undermines energy security in Europe"

The Nord Stream 2 project and the denial of pipelines through Syria territory is what's eating at the zio-cons. This is power politics and Russia / China are too much of a threat.

Chupacabra-322 -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:43 Permalink

@ spy,

March, 14, 2017:

The Russian central bank opened its first overseas office in Beijing on March 14, marking a step forward in forging a Beijing-Moscow alliance to bypass the US dollar in the global monetary system, and to phase-in a gold-backed standard of trade.

Apr 3 2017 - Europe approves Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany

April 6 2017 - need to attack Syria.

Coincidentally, with a new government a gas pipelin can be run from Qatar to Europe and cut-off Russian gas revenue.

Nord Stream 2 Project Gets Green Light From EU

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201704031052232006-nord-stream-eu-gas-pip ...

*Three Mediterranean EU countries and Israel agreed on Monday to continue pursuing the development of a gas pipeline ... EU countries and Israel ... April 3, 2017 ...*

EU, Israel agree to develop Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline

https://www.rt.com/business/383410-eu-israel-mediterranean-gas-pipeline/

The Optics of the Inter National Geo Political Crises would suggest that The Criminal Oligarch Cabal Bankster Intelligence Deep State Crime Syndicate are going "All In."

Brace YourSelves.....

spyware-free -> Chupacabra-322 Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

The petroyuan project is the key. It will smash the petrodollar zio-world. Saddam Hussien thought of doing that in the 80's by consolidating Arab oil into a basket of currencies backed by gold. The problem for him was he was a disposable puppet and not able to defend that project. China and Russia are a different matter. It's driving the zios batty.

Chupacabra-322 -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:43 Permalink

And, the Yuan is now in the IMF basket of SDR's. Ultimately, the Petro Dollar will meet its demise & it will be decided by which is the cleanest, dirtiest shirt to put on among the SDR's.

[Apr 15, 2018] Russia gas for Europe as a political tool of the USA to pressure Russia via its EU vassals

Notable quotes:
"... I think the only that would really cause the Russians serious economic hardship at this point would be a total EU embargo on Russian oil/natgas. That, of course, would cause the rest of Europe a fair amount of hardship, too, as they would then have to pay 3 or 4 times as much for frack-gas from the US. ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

RaisingMac , 9 hours ago

I think the only that would really cause the Russians serious economic hardship at this point would be a total EU embargo on Russian oil/natgas. That, of course, would cause the rest of Europe a fair amount of hardship, too, as they would then have to pay 3 or 4 times as much for frack-gas from the US.
Tony -> RaisingMac , 7 hours ago
Of course, oil/gas being fungible, the EU in such an eventuality would buy higher priced gas/oil from us or someone and the Russians would just end up selling to other entities. Whatever we sell to Europe is fuel we can't sell to others and it's not like our export market is infinitely expandable. The EU has a huge need for natural gas which it mostly gets from Russia via pipeline. Even if the US had that much surplus capacity, it would take years to come up with the means to export that much LNG..

[Apr 11, 2018] I think that the read target of attack in Syria is the Nord Stream II pipeline.

Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hagios | Apr 11, 2018 8:50:17 AM | 58 I think that the read target here is the Nord Stream II pipeline. They're currently unwilling to cancel it out of economic considerations, but they think that they could get away with cancelling it if NATO attacks Syria and Russia responds with "unprovoked aggression." NATO's attack IMO will be just large enough that Russia has to respond, then Trump and co. will cease further military action and continue with economic warfare.

Posted by: Timothy

[Apr 04, 2018] Russian Gas Transit Via Ukraine Set For Major Slump

Apr 04, 2018 | oilprice.com

Transit of Russian natural gas via Ukraine will be reduced to just about 10-12 billion cubic meters annually after the completion of two new pipelines -- Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2. That's what Gazprom's chief executive Alexei Miller told a Russian TV channel yesterday, confirming Kiev's fears that Nord Stream 2 will deprive it of a lot of income in the form of transit fees.

The significance of the new figure can easily be seen when compared with the transit quantities for last month: Gazprom sent 8.1 billion cubic meters of gas via Russia's eastern neighbor in March, a 21.3-percent increase on the year. In other words, when Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 are ready, Ukraine will receive something like a 12th of its current annual gas transit revenues from Gazprom.

This is reason enough for Kiev to be so vocally against Nord Steam 2, but unfortunately for Ukraine, Germany is just as vocally supportive of the project, of which it will be the biggest beneficiary. The expanded Nord Stream pipeline will have a capacity of 110 billion cubic meters annually.

Still, Miller said, not all transit via Ukraine will be suspended. "We are not saying we will stop entire transit via Ukraine, since there are neighboring countries that border Ukraine on the side of Europe. Naturally, supplies to these European countries will continue via Ukraine."

While the news is bad for Ukraine, it makes sense for Russia as European countries eagerly seek alternatives to Russian gas, including the "neighboring countries that border Ukraine," notably Poland. Yet Germany is by far Gazprom's biggest client in Europe and Russian gas is the cheapest for Europe's largest economy, hence the support for a project seen as controversial by the European Commission.

Turkish Stream, for its part, will send Russian gas to the European part of Turkey up to the border with Greece, to supply gas to southeastern Europe. Its capacity is much smaller than Nord Stream's, but still larger than the future transit via Ukraine, at 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

[Mar 31, 2018] British elite started to worry about possible toxic fall out from Skripal

Russian elite already views May's government as bandits, who staged this despicable provocation. So stakes for British elite are very high.
And the way May government tried to capitalize on this "poisoning" is really like going "all in". May clearly went what French call "va bank". Reckless statement of Johnson, who is a very weak diplomat, but no fool, if a clear testament that they expect to prevail with pretty weak cards. With ultimate reliance on power of the USA to secure favorable outcome.
Looks more and more that this is a part of Russiagate, or color revolution against Trump, however you want to call the effort: the collusion between the intelligence heads of the Obama administration with British intelligence to oust President Trump.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is now openly pointing the possibility of a UK intelligence involvement. That sheds a very bad light on EU vassals who without any questioning and with any proof immediately fell into line behind Theresa May.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry even said this was a tool used by the Europeans and the United States to try to get unity at a point when they were completely disunified. And this is the old geopolitical game, that in order to create unity you create a war, and then everybody has to fall into line before attacking Iran.
Compare with Ron Paul views on this incident: www.youtube.com
Notable quotes:
"... The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in a speech late on Wednesday waxed lyrical about how the Skripal episode represented a turning point in the west's approach to Russia, but his officials are aware that this mood can easily dissipate as other considerations, such as commerce, energy security or the Middle East come into play. ..."
"... The UK will try to push for further measures against Russia at the June meeting of the EU heads of state. If it is ambitious, it may may challenge German support for Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia that could put European energy demand at the mercy of Moscow. ..."
Mar 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

That does not mean the crisis will necessarily end there, or that the crisis is contained.

Russia, whose standing among the international community is badly damaged, is determined to do go further to clear its name, or at least throw up enough chaff so that a chunk of western public opinion doubts the British intelligence service's account of Skripal's poisoning. Moscow has already suggested a meeting on Monday of the executive of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to have "an honest conversation" about the poisoning.

The OPCW is studying samples – provided by the UK – of the novichok nerve agent allegedly used, but does not have the ability to judge the identity of the person that placed the agent by the door of Skripal's house . But the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is determined to put the UK on the defensive and has already claimed that "if our western partners dodge the meeting then it will be further evidence that every thing that is happened is a provocation".

Russia has also responded to the apparent recovery of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned alongside her father. She may be able to provide insights into how the poisoning occurred, or even reveal whether she knows of some other motive by some other non-state actor.

The British intelligence services will be debriefing her as soon as her health permits. It would clearly be a huge embarrassment for the UK government if it emerged she believed the Russian state was not involved.

As it is, the UK government is aware that some allied leaders, despite the public show of solidarity, face skeptical voters at home who are either against a confrontation with Vladimir Putin, or expect more convincing proof to be provided.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in a speech late on Wednesday waxed lyrical about how the Skripal episode represented a turning point in the west's approach to Russia, but his officials are aware that this mood can easily dissipate as other considerations, such as commerce, energy security or the Middle East come into play.

The UK will try to push for further measures against Russia at the June meeting of the EU heads of state. If it is ambitious, it may may challenge German support for Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia that could put European energy demand at the mercy of Moscow.

... ... ...

[Mar 22, 2018] If Europe continues to buy Russian gas -- that will be bad news for US. The US, however, may yet succeed in sabotaging Nord Stream II and thus, in a long run, kill European industrial competitiveness thus opening European market for US products.

Mar 22, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

SmoothieX12 -> JPB ... 22 March 2018 at 09:02 AM

... ... ...

I am not a fan of LNG. If I was a Euro there is no way I would allow LNG in, whether from Sabetta in Russia or from Sabine Pass in the US.

Being fan or no fan of specific type of energy hardly factors into economic reality of Europe and coercing it into buying American LNG. If Europe continues to buy Russian gas -- that will be bad news for US. The US, however, may yet succeed in sabotaging Nord Stream II and thus, in a long run, kill European industrial competitiveness thus opening European market for US products. At least that is the plan. Here is a small taste of what is at stake.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-russo-chinese-alliance-revisited/

Since this article publication two major things happened:

1. China released White Paper on North Sea Route calling it a strategic interest of PRC;
2. Putin gave his March 1st speech.

[Mar 22, 2018] Russian gas supplies to Europe must be verboten, in US mind, or at least pushed back.

Mar 22, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

JPB , 21 March 2018 at 11:15 AM

Turkish press is reporting that 'TurkStream' , the pipeline to bring natural gas from Russia to Turkey, is now 80% complete and to be in operation by later this year. It is expected to deliver close to 16 billion cubic meters per year from Gazprom to Turkish gas distribution networks. A second phase scheduled for next year will reportedly deliver an equal amount to Greece and other points in southern Europe.

This is in addition to the existing 'BlueStream' pipeline from Russia to Turkey, operational since 2005, that also has a 16 billion cubic meter per year throughput.

Why the Western concern about NordStream pipeline but none about TurkStream? Are there no sanction problems for the Swiss company working with GazProm? Plus I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Russia has lately become paranoid regarding US Navy FON operations in the Black Sea?

SmoothieX12 -> JPB... , 21 March 2018 at 03:57 PM
Why the Western concern about NordStream pipeline but none about TurkStream? Are there no sanction problems for the Swiss company working with GazProm? Plus I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Russia has lately become paranoid regarding US Navy FON operations in the Black Sea?

The main concern has the name Sabetta--it is the port and a hub to a largest Liquid Natural Gas operation, which also happened to be (in relative terms) next to Europe's LNG ports. I usually don't do this but I apologize, here is a link to my blog's piece on that:

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-rather-gassy-business.html

LNG is precisely a commodity which is counted by US as a major component in possibly (and most likely not very probable) US re-industrialization. For that, the US has to sell her LNG to Europe. This implies removing Russian LNG from the EU market which dwarfs that of Turkey and some South European nations. Germany, France, UK, Holland among others are the prize here. Russian LNG must be verboten, in US mind, or at least pushed back. As per FON--it has nothing to do with FON but has everything to do with:

1. Flag demonstration--that is presence and Fleet In Being.
2. Signals collection from Sevastopol, Novorossyisk and, in general, all Russia's Southern Military District emitters.

[Mar 21, 2018] Germany's Pivot From Russian Gas Will Be Costly

Pure propaganda. Comments are interesting, though
Notable quotes:
"... When I read: "As X becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically," frankly Russia was not the first country that came to mind. ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I trust readers will be able to filter out the new Cold War assumptions in the piece to focus on the price of Germany's plans. Does anyone have an informed take on how significant the broader economic impact might be?

By Tim Daiss, an oil markets analyst, journalist and author working out of the Asia-Pacific region for 12 years who has covered oil, energy markets and geopolitics for Forbes, Platts, Interfax, NewsBase, Rigzone, and the UK-based Independent (newspaper) as well as providing energy markets analysis for subscription newsletters. Originally published at OilPrice

More problems are mounting for Russia's oil and gas sector. This time it's coming from Germany, which until recently usually gave Russia's energy sector more lead way than the U.S. or other allies.

But now it seems that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also had enough. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Merkel's government is seeking to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Germany basically from scratch to reduce the nation's dependence on supplies arriving by pipeline from Russia and Norway.

Merkel backs "all initiatives supporting further diversification of gas supply -- whether from different regions or means of transporting gas," said German Economy and Energy Ministry spokeswoman Beate Baron.

The move comes as natural gas resources from the UK and the Netherlands are depleting, and Germany is forced to rely more on Russian gas. Merkel's newly formed coalition has a "coalition contract" that among other policies sets out energy agenda including LNG for the next four years, the Bloomberg reported added.

Germany, for its part, is Europe's largest gas consumer. In 2015, the country consumed 7.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. According to the German energy research group, AG Energiebilanzen, imports account for about 90 percent of Germany's total natural gas supply, while most imports come from three countries: Russia (40 percent of total imports in 2015), Norway (21 percent) and the Netherlands (29 percent).

Moreover, German companies are participating in Russia's controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an expansion of an existing route for gas to flow from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea. The U.S., Poland and others have recently condemned the pipeline as a threat to European security.

As Russia becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically, the security threat to not only the EU but to Germany is apparent, causing the country of some 83 million people to do an abrupt energy policy about face.

Germany's LNG pivot also comes as a geopolitical storm between the U.K. and Russia intensifies over an alleged Moscow-orchestrated nerve-agent attack on British soil against what the BBC called a double spy and his daughter.

British Prime Minister Theresa May retaliated last week by expelling Russian diplomats and seeking alternatives to Russian gas, including LNG produced at its new Arctic plant, the Yamal LNG export project. Addressing the UN Security Council last week, the U.K.'s deputy UN ambassador, Jonathan Allen, accused Russia of breaking its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The U.S. for its part also condemned the nerve agent attack. U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said that Washington stood in "absolute solidarity" with Britain, citing the "special relationship" between the two countries and saying that Washington would "always be there" for the UK.

Germany's Abrupt LNG Pivot

However, until recently many in Germany accused the U.S., notably President Trump, of using U.S.-sourced LNG as a geopolitical weapon to challenge Russia's decades' old dominance of European gas markets -- an accusation that played perfectly into the hands of Russian energy companies and even Vladimir Putin.

When Trump singed fresh sanctions against Russia's energy sector in August, Uniper -- a German utility and one of Europe's largest energy firms -- said the new sanctions were an American economic move as much as a political one.

"The core reason (for the sanctions) is strategic economic interests, meaning the targeted dominance of the US in energy markets," Uniper CEO Klaus Schaefer told journalists shortly after Trump signed the sanctions bill. Uniper is one of five companies that have invested in Nord Stream 2.

Brigitte Zypries, Germany's economy minister, claimed last year that the sanctions violated international law and said that the EU should take action against the U.S. "Of course we don't want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures," she said. "The Americans can't punish German companies because they have business interests in another country."

Cost Factors Could Impede Pivot

However, any Germany pivot to LNG away from Russian gas will come at a cost. Shipping LNG by one of several suppliers, including Qatar, the U.S. or Angola to name a few, is simply more expensive than Russian piped gas. While Russia already has an extensive pipeline network in place, LNG is more expensive when transportation, liquefaction and regasification costs are added.

Using a Henry Hub gas price of $2.85/MMBtu as a base, Russian energy giant Gazprom recently estimated that adding processing and transportation costs, the price in Europe would reach $6/MMBtu -- a steep markup.

Henry Hub gas prices are currently trading at $2.657/MMBtu. Over the last 52-week period U.S. gas has traded between $2.64/MMBtu and $3.82/MMBtu.

Russian gas sells for around $5/MMBtu in European markets. Moreover, Russian gas exporter Gazprom is also moving away from oil-indexation for gas prices to a European gas hub indexation, which will allow additional price savings and unfortunately for Germany -- an incentive to stick with Russian gas, even if it's geopolitically distasteful.

Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said yesterday that Russia is Europe's most flexibly and reliable source of energy that is needed.



Self Affine , , March 21, 2018 at 10:13 am

Its a long long way from a political announcement to an industrial reality. Also, the quote:

Merkel backs "all initiatives supporting further diversification of gas supply" is telling.

Germany does not want to be caught out in a Russia/US energy squeeze while its pursuing an alternative energy path. Nor does Merkel want to overtly pick sides.

Plus if you will note, given the momentum of current German/Russian energy initiatives, I rather doubt that this "announcement" will have a lot of traction in the near future.

The Oilprice site, although very informative is somewhat shrill from day to day (everything is a BIG DEAL).

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:22 am

Yes, its a telling quote -- it can basically be paraphrased as 'if someone is willing to pay for these facilities, we would be happy to hear that'. There are quite a few stalled projects for LNG terminals in Europe -- but they are expensive and even the promise of cheap US LNG won't unlock them so long as Russia can supply relatively cheap gas. If European governments want more LNG terminals for security reasons then they'll have to pay for them. Thats not likely to happen, there are far more pressing infrastructural needs.

third time lucky , , March 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

Nimby too. Locating an LNG terminal will be a neat trick to pull off in current fractured political environment.

Watt4Bob , , March 21, 2018 at 10:24 am

Where to begin?

Is anyone considering the possibility that the US's ability to deliver LNG may not exist for long enough to pay the cost of building the infrastructure necessary to use it?

Is anyone factoring in the damage to our environment, including our fresh water when calculating the cost of poking Russia in the eye?

At first glance, this whole play appears short-sighted, at least, probably foolish.

Of course the big oil companies have never gone unrewarded for their fealty to the whims of the MIC, even when any objective analysis finds massive foolishness.

Harry , , March 21, 2018 at 11:23 am

Dont worry, Novatek already delivered a shipment of LNG from the Yamal peninsular to the UK.

I would bet that Nord Stream will not eliminate the need to export across the Ukraine. Undersea pipelines dont have great capacity. But additional marginal pipeline capacity does reduce the bargaining power of the Ukraine. Im sure LNG capacity does the same.

Synoia , , March 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Undersea pipelines have as much capacity as the diameter of the pipe.

They have a big enemy.. Anchors.

Scott , , March 21, 2018 at 1:16 pm

And some of that LNG was later exported to Boston.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060076897

jsn , , March 21, 2018 at 12:24 pm

We're deep into our malinvestment phase where uneconomic industries are being sustained with monetary policy to prop up an unsustainable status quo.

The question is whether the left can coordinate collective action before the right can start WW3. It will be real events somewhere that cause real change: financialized capitalism with its own hand on the money spigot of fiat money is, with reference to itself, a perpetual motion machine.

It will either be a force of life, or thermodynamics that finally overthrow this machine. The stresses for dramatic external political events are building everywhere.

Watt4Bob , , March 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

You see what I see.

Nathanael , , March 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm

You're correct about the malinvestment phase.

However, this is where market capitalism excels. As long as there is enough money in the hands of the average person (a major issue), the average person will install solar panels and batteries and heat pumps and buy an EV and say "to hell with you" to the oil, gas, and coal industries.

jsn , , March 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Less money is going to those average folks, but local EV is hopeful. Tons of money goes to supporting facking, which in the absence of QE and the spigot of free money for (mal)investors, would not be economical.

LNG ports to receive a fuel with what is approaching negative EROEI are pure mal-investment.

MMT was used to incentivize net positive public goods by Mariner Eccles making the US the richest nation in the world. We're now seeing the global financial cabal use the same tool to despoil real wealth, monetizing it along with trust wherever it can find either. It is an epic of short-termism that will ultimately destroy the money itself by liquidating the real productive social and economic constellations that support it.

Jeff , , March 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

I read the statement as that Germany is looking for a replacement of its Dutch and Norwegian gas sources. As Germany does not want to depend for 100% of its gas from Russia, they do need to look for alternatives.
It is just smart policy not to depend from a single source, for whatever purpose.

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

Dutch and Norwegian gas reserves are in long term decline , so its likely that Russian gas will become a higher proportion of supply in the medium to longer term.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

Two keys for natural gas markets:

i) the cost of transport is very high and there is a linear relationship between distance and transport costs

ii) both the client and the supplier would like stable long-term contracts to secure investments and supply.

There is always interdependence if you want durable supply.

Constructing some LNG facilities, besides the cost factors mentioned above won't reduce such interdependence by much given that Russia provides 40% of current consumption. Also, Russia migth seek providing NG to fast growing asian markets. I think that Germany is trying to diversify just because Norway, Netherlands, and its own production are declining. I also think that this means that fracking gas in Europe is not seen as an alternative.

I wouldn't say that Germany will "pivot" from russian gas, that is giving too much weigth to potential LNG supplies.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 10:58 am

I forgot to mention the second pipeline through the baltics. I think Merkel announcement didn't say anything about it. That is also telling

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:29 am

Another point is that if the issue is security, it would most likely be more cost effective to build up a buffer in underground storage facilities than building new LNG terminals.

The Rev Kev , , March 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

I could be that Germany is buckling under the pressure of attacks as the US is threatening to sanction European firms involved in the Russian/EU Nord Stream 2 project ( https://www.rt.com/business/421900-us-sanctions-nord-stream-companies/ ) which if true, would mean that the EU would have to ask the permission of Washington in dealings with any countries not to Washington's liking.
The Poles have already built a LNG gas delivery terminal so you would think that Germany would just pipe it in from there unless Germany wanted to build their own terminal so that they would not have to pay Poland any fees as Poland is one of the counties opposing Nord Stream 2.

Poland has already received at least one LNP shipment from the US but the price of the delivery is a state secret apparently.

The Russians could always turn around and sell their cheaper gas to China so no big loss to them. Thing is, it will take a decade to build a fleet of tankers to carry the gas that Germany needs annually as these ships would just be going back and forth like clockwork. Who pays for that? Germany would also need years just to build the LNP port facility to receive these shipments. I believe too that the US export terminal is in the Gulf so tough luck if a hurricane shut down that terminal at any time. Remember, this winter the Russians had to ship two tankers of gas to the US because of shortages so how reliable could a US supply be?

Add up the costs of building the port facility, a fleet of tankers and the infrastructure to deal with it all, then top up with the gas not only being more expensive than the Russian gas but also less reliable and the Germans will have to take a knife to their budget to pay for it all. Trump would have a fit if it was their defense budget so that means the social budget. Good luck with that. One last factor of which I have even less knowledge of is the US gas supply. I believe that it comes from shale deposits aka fracking but I know that these wells deplete rapidly so if true, would suggest that US gas as a supply source may be self limiting over time. I don't think that the economics work out here for Germany somehow.

Julia Versau , , March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

When I read: "As X becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically," frankly Russia was not the first country that came to mind.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 11:02 am

I thought exactly the same. What is the author talking about?

kgw , , March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

Pure propaganda likely written by the Christians-In-Action. Germany , kill itself? Not likely. Astronomical costs.

nervos belli , , March 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

It's not a pivot. The only important thing is North Stream 2: if the US or the transatlantic lobby manages to kill that, then there is a pivot. Otherwise, it's business as usual.

North sea gas is drying up, however we get 40-50% of our gas from there https://www.wingas.com/fileadmin/Wingas/content/05_Rohstoff_Erdgas/woher-bezieht-europa-erdgas-aufkommen_infografik.png

So unless one wants to be ~90% dependent on russian gas, there has to be some alternatives to keep the russians honest. Only realistic way is LNG. So Germany has to build the infrastructure for it to have a credible bargaining position. The marketshare of russian gas will increase over the next few years in any way.

Self Affine , , March 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

Also, I would like to add that the German Press isn't treating this like some sort of revelation.

As everywhere else, if a politician wants to get a little patriotic push on their side, they hold a speech touting "energy independence". Germany is no different in that regard and Merkel needs to appear a bit more nationalistic right now.

Current headlines are all about social issues like immigration, Facebook data breaches, internal politics, etc. No one is obsessing about LNG facilities or things like Brexit.

rd , , March 21, 2018 at 11:14 am

LNG ports on the Mediterranean also make sense as ships could traverse the Suez Canal or the the Atlantic to get there.

visitor , , March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

There are major offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean -- on the coast of Cyprus and all the way offshore from Syria to Egypt. Their exploitation is still largely pending resolution of local crises (Turkey vs EU re Cyprus, Israel vs Palestine and Lebanon, in Syria because of war). Once those fields come on line, the need for special-purpose ports to bring in LNG from afar to Europe no longer makes much economic sense.

Besides, Algeria continues to provide gas (and oil) to the EU.

Louis Fyne , , March 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

nuclear fission. germany already buys a lot of french nuke electricity. might as well cut out the middleman.

not holding my breath. never going to happen though. as even bringing up nuclear fission is third rail of environmentalism

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Germany is a major shareholder in the EPR reactor, but isn't building any because its proven far too expensive, much more expensive than domestic renewables.

Its untrue to say that Germany buys a lot of French nuclear energy, imports from France are minor at a net of around 4 terawatt hours a year, similar to the amount of wind energy Germany buys from Denmark. Its dwarfed by the huge renewable sector in Germany which produces over 200 TWh per annum . Germany is actually a net exporter of energy to France in most summers as the inland nuclear plants often go off-line due to water shortages.

James McFadden , , March 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm

"Germany's LNG pivot also comes as a geopolitical storm between the U.K. and Russia intensifies over an alleged Moscow-orchestrated nerve-agent attack on British soil against what the BBC called a double spy and his daughter."

When one thinks about the geopolitical repercussions of this nerve gas attack on $$ for USA LNG, the control of energy supplies to the EU by the USA and its middle east puppets, the quickly identified fingerprint and emotionally charged finger pointing, a complex technical topic to which the general public has general knowledge and therefore must rely on "authorities", the high level of media attention for a relatively minor character, and the ongoing attempts to vilify and isolate Russia -- one has to wonder if this is just another CIA false flag event similar to Iraq WMDs and the Syrian chemical weapons attacks -- another false flag that will eventually fall apart after it has served its purpose. Examined in the light of past and ongoing CIA atrocities (Renditions and torture in Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, droning, MKULTRA, Operation Mongoose, Phoenix Program, Iran-Contra, numerous assassinations and coups -- just to name a few), it seems quite in line with what I would expect from this criminal organization. Not that we can really know the truth at this time, but those who dutifully believe the corporate media on this topic might want to open a skeptical eye. There are likely cover stories within cover stories -- much like cover stories one finds in the Wormwood documentary.

Tobin Paz , , March 21, 2018 at 2:24 pm

This news along with Trudeau's support for Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain oil/tar sands pipeline expansion should make it clear that the Paris Accords were a cruel joke on humanity. We will keep extracting every single last drop of recoverable oil until we run out of energy to continue or we nuke ourselves.

Nathanael , , March 21, 2018 at 2:45 pm

So, it's easy enough for Germany to pivot away from gas *if* they switch to heating with electricity. However, Merkel refuses to push this. Because Merkel.

[Mar 19, 2018] It might well be that Nordstream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Europe is the target

Mar 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment March 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm GMT

@for-the-record

More likely that Nordstream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Europe is the target.

Senators Push to Stop Russia's Nord Stream II Natural Gas Pipeline .

The Senators' argument is that dependence on Russian gas undermines European security.

Whereas to the Russians, it is obvious that the Americans wish to replace cheap Rusian piped gas with expensive liquefied American gas, which is a bi-product of fracking for oil and currently in surplus. Some frackers in Canada are even having to pay someone to take their gas.

Surprisingly, no one has yet pointed out that Russia could deliver Novichok to the whole of Europe via Nordstream 2.

[Mar 18, 2018] The Skripal anti-Russia hysteria effort is just another step in the US/CIA campaign to interfere with North Streat II

Notable quotes:
"... This is a European energy issue. From the start. The US either wants to be the middle-man or cut Russia off from it entirely. No other options have been tabled or would be acceptable to Washington. Remember the Trump quote "Why don't we just take their oil and gas?" ..."
"... Look at the opposition gaining speed against Nord Stream II. And also look, the UK and all of Europe may be in for some cold summers and winters now, it's a trend they cannot ignore as it gets colder for longer periods, this trend isn't relaxing with the stratosphere doing some flips and turns and sending "The Beast From The East" towards the once Great Britain. ..."
Mar 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

chet380 | Mar 17, 2018 4:14:40 PM | 6

The Skripal anti-Russia hysteria effort is just another step in the US/CIA campaign to interfere with the Russian hosting of the World Cup -- the next step will be to attempt to have the qualifying European countries boycott the event ... remember, to them, every Russian loss is an American win.

However, I will go on record to predict that the US will have its Ukrainian neo-Nazi vassals mount a major attack on the Donbass within week of the beginning of the World Cup tournament.

Gravatomic | Mar 17, 2018 4:28:35 PM | 12

@chet380 | Mar 17, 2018 4:14:40 PM | 6

I agree the World Cup is on the agenda, but this effort is multi-pronged, like Octi-putin, they will want to boycott it and you will see all sorts of FIFA related articles in the coming months, corruption and so on. It's all predictable.

This is a European energy issue. From the start. The US either wants to be the middle-man or cut Russia off from it entirely. No other options have been tabled or would be acceptable to Washington. Remember the Trump quote "Why don't we just take their oil and gas?"

Look at the opposition gaining speed against Nord Stream II. And also look, the UK and all of Europe may be in for some cold summers and winters now, it's a trend they cannot ignore as it gets colder for longer periods, this trend isn't relaxing with the stratosphere doing some flips and turns and sending "The Beast From The East" towards the once Great Britain.

[Mar 16, 2018] Skripal murder also is about bankrupting Russia and trying to get European nations to turn the Russian gas tap off

Mar 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com


FBaggins -> Bud Dry Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

It is about bankrupting Russia and also trying to get European nations to turn the Russian gas tap off, and so Europe will have to resort to buying gas through Western controlled natural gas resources, liquid gas shipments, and a proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline through Syria. Once most Western people discover the actual history of our wars and what ruthless, unconscionable bastards our Western power brokers actually are, they will automatically want to support Russia.

FoggyWorld -> 7thGenMO Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:02 Permalink

This is the May-Johnson excuse for not going through with Brexit. Now they will say they need their partner in the EU to protect them. Good luck with that one.

Savvy -> 7thGenMO Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:52 Permalink

I wouldn't write NATO off just yet. Rothschild bought Naftogaz which has an office in Egypt. Igor Kolomoisky has some interesting ties also the temporary occupation of Crimea by Russia. And who is Genie Energy?

[Mar 15, 2018] Another aspect of the British Operation Skripal provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany

Notable quotes:
"... Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2. ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Tom 15 March 2018 at 06:51 AM

...The British noise about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons´s hand to increase hostility towards Russia.

Interestingly enough today Germany´s defense minister who is a close confident of Merkel echoed the outrage about the alleged nerve gas attack but called for a "UN investigation". That is she didn´t endorse the British claim.

Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2.


[Mar 13, 2018] China replaced the USA in russianenergy market

Mar 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

likklemore | Mar 13, 2018 7:48:34 PM | 69

@ Ian 64.

Sanctions on Russia are being ignored. China is investing its US Trillions. Under US imposed sanctions, ExxonMobil withdrew and China said "Thank You" and took the partnership.

Chinese state-controlled Huarong Asset Management has bought a 36.2 percent stake in the unit of CEFC China Energy through which CEFC is acquiring a $9.1 billion stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

According to CEFC filings seen by Reuters, Huarong has bought the stake in CEFC in two tranches, one in December and one in February. Huarong is controlled by China's Ministry of Finance.

In September, CEFC Energy announced plans to acquire 14.16 percent of Rosneft shares from Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

"The final structure of Rosneft's shareholders has been formed," Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told Rossiya 24 television.

As part of a long-term agreement, Rosneft and CEFC Energy inked a deal on crude oil deliveries in 2017. According to the agreement, the Russian oil major will supply CEFC with 60.8 million tons of oil annually until 2023.

The agreement covers the development of exploration and production projects in Siberia. The two companies plan to cooperate in refining, petrochemicals and crude trading.

https://www.rt.com/business/421021-china-cefc-rosneft-purchase/

Betcha Rex is so so sorry he went to D.C.

[Mar 09, 2018] Ukraine begins seizure of Russian energy giant Gazprom's assets, citing Stockholm court decision -- RT Business News

Notable quotes:
"... "Under the current circumstances, the Ukrainian cabinet initiates action aimed at recovering [a] penalty from Gazprom," ..."
"... "very politically motivated." ..."
Mar 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

The Ukrainian authorities have started the seizure of assets belonging to the Russian gas giant Gazprom, citing its alleged non-compliance with the decision of the Stockholm arbitration court. "Under the current circumstances, the Ukrainian cabinet initiates action aimed at recovering [a] penalty from Gazprom," the Ukrainian government's press service said in a statement published on its official website. It also claimed that the move was conducted in compliance with the decision of the Stockholm court and involves collecting a fine from the Russian company over its alleged violation of Ukrainian anti-monopoly legislation. Read more FILE PHOTO: A man prepares firewood at the village © Konstantin Chernichkin Ukraine is overpaying for European gas & wants Russia to foot the bill

The Swedish arbitration body initially ruled on the three-year dispute between Gazprom and the Ukrainian energy company, Naftogaz, back in December 2017. The policy of the court prevents it from even acknowledging that it's mediating a case, which makes it impossible to obtain its own account of the final ruling. Both energy companies, which have opposing takes on the outcome, initially claimed victory in the case.

In late February, the same court ordered Gazprom to compensate Naftogaz $4.6 billion for what the latter sees as lost profit from the transit of Russian gas to Europe.

The legal battle between the two energy companies in the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce had rumbled on since June 2014. Gazprom's claims related to fines for insufficient withdrawal and use of gas by the Ukrainian side, in accordance with a 'take-or-pay' rule. The Russian gas giant also demanded payment of a debt for gas delivered to Ukraine between May and June 2014.

Naftogaz pushed for a retroactive change in the price of gas, the reimbursement of overpayments and the repeal of a ban on reselling Russian gas. The court eventually satisfied some of the Ukrainian company's demands, in particular by setting a minimum amount of gas that Naftogaz must buy from Gazprom annually (from 2018) at a volume that was 10 times lower than in the original contract. At the same time, it also obliged Gazprom to pay for the transit of the Russian gas through the Ukrainian territory between 2009 and 2017 even though the gas was not, in fact, transited over that period.

The Head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, then called the court's decision "asymmetric" and "very politically motivated." The court justified its decision by referring to a difficult economic situation in Ukraine.

[Mar 04, 2018] Ukraine Freezes After Russia Halts Gas Deliveries

Notable quotes:
"... Bullshit. The Ukrainians have been on a pay before delivery tariff from Russia for years. They have chosen war over trade. They currently prefer to spend what income they get that survives oligarch looting on trying to kill the East Ukrainians (currenly 6.9% of GDP). ..."
Mar 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 21:13 Last week, Russia's state-run gas giant and quasi-monopolist when it comes to European natgas supplies, Gazprom, announced it would not restart shipments of natural gas to Ukraine's Naftogaz starting March 1 after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, Gazprom deputy chairman, Alexander Medvedev, told journalists.

Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine were supposed to restart on Thursday following a foreign court ruling aimed at ending years of disputes between Kiev and Moscow, including two halts to Russian gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. But Gazprom unexpectedly refused to resume deliveries, returning the prepayment for supplies made by Kiev, claiming amendments to a contract had not been completed.

The decision came as the sides reportedly failed to extend a supplemental agreement to the current gas contract, RT reported.

"So far, the supplemental agreement to the operating contract with Naftogaz has not been approved, and that is a compulsory condition for launching the shipments," Medvedev said. "So, we have to recover the amount paid by the company in full. And it is obvious that the shipments in March won't start."

In response, Ukraine's state monopoly said that Gazprom had failed to deliver prepaid gas. Naftogaz is reportedly planning to claim damages for supply failure from the Russian energy major.

And while the long-running dispute may, but likely won't, be resolved in court, Ukraine has suddenly found itself without heat and on Friday urged schools to close and factories to cut production, while residents shivered as the country strained to save on gas supplies.

The decision coincided with freezing temperatures all over Ukraine, and the government called on Friday for measures to reduce consumption.

" Starting today, we recommended ... to stop the work of kindergartens, schools and universities ," Ukraine energy minister Igor Nasalyk told lawmakers , while urging Ukrainian companies to adjust their operations to save gas, while power companies were ordered to switch to fuel oil where possible.

Nasalyk said these savings measures would be in effect until Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to rise.

* * *

Meanwhile, on Friday, Gazprom director Alexei Miller said that the company would immediately turn to the Stockholm arbitration court to break its contract with the Ukrainian operator Naftogaz, Russian news agencies reported. A ruling by the same court last year was meant to halt disputes over gas prices and shipments, which had often been a proxy for political disputes between Moscow and Kiev. The court set a price and ordered Kiev to resume purchases it had cancelled following the breakout in "proxy" violence between the two nations in 2014.

Also on Friday, Naftogaz said that Gazprom had not only refused to resume deliveries meant for it, but lowered the pressure in gas pipelines by 20 percent and minimized sales to other customers. In a statement, Naftogaz said that Gazprom was trying to portray Ukraine in a negative light and suggest that it was willing either to let its own population freeze or make it out to be "an unreliable transit company that takes the gas away" from European countries.

In response, Reuters reported today that Gazprom said there had so far been no impact on supplies through its pipelines to Europe, despite the sharp escalation in tensions with the key transit nation.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak told European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcofic in a phone conversation that gas transit would not be at risk until Gazprom and Naftogaz fully terminated their agreement.

"Minister Novak assured that the gas transit from Russia to Europe is under no threat. The transit remains as reliable as in the past," the ministry said.

* * *

Kiev and Moscow have a history of clashing over prices and obligations under contracts for the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine as well as transit to Europe. The standoff in the winter of 2006 triggered supply disruptions, with Russia accusing Ukraine of stealing gas intended for the European market.

The gas giants are currently involved in a long-standing litigation over the terms of the current delivery contract. Ukraine's lawyers are struggling for annulment of the so-called take-or-pay provision that obliges Kiev to purchase a minimum annual quantity of gas. Earlier this week, Naftogaz claimed it had won a $2.56 billion victory in another round of its legal battle with Gazprom.


philipat -> stizazz Sat, 03/03/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

Karma can be a bitch Ukraine. Still, I'm sure your friends in Washington will immediately provide you with an endless supply of free LNG? Call Vicky.

Incidentally, to the author, your map is incorrect (i'm sure that was just an error like Goolag's deletion of Themtube sites). Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine after 95%+ of its population excercised their right to self-determination after the Maidan coup.

Joe Trader -> IH8OBAMA Sun, 03/04/2018 - 01:43 Permalink

I'm the resident Joe of ZH.

Ukraine's already connected to Poland's LNG port. And by the way, days at sea for a ship with Qatari LNG is the same as a saudi tanker hauling oil to the U.S.

COSMOS -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:09 Permalink

Ukraine is in a total meltdown, forget about Venezuela which at least has energy stores. Ukraine has to import most of its energy. Donbass has all the coal. Putin is a genius, he is starving Ukraine of energy. There will be mass unrest in the country. Expect a government friendly to Russia to come back into play. The only thing that can prevent this is if Europe and the USA are willing to pay for Ukraine's energy needs.

Where otherwise will Ukraine get the hard currency. Well for a while it will get it by selling off its farmland and its women. In ww2 you could buy a woman with a package of pantyhose, an MRE, or a pack of cigarettes. Now you will be able to buy them again the same way and with a lump of coal.

Right now the streets of Kiev are policed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNy8XVuBSDE

Joe Trader -> COSMOS Sun, 03/04/2018 - 04:16 Permalink

It's western countries' loss for not granting asylum to all those hot Ukrainian women

land_of_the_few -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

They already have visa-free travel to the EU and are leaving en masse as fast as they can to the EU and Russia.

Many are perfectly normal working age women, with normal qualifications, they are not all poledancers as you seem to think.

Most do language courses and marry EU citizens so they don't have to go back.

HowdyDoody -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 07:47 Permalink

"Ukraine Freezes After Russia Halts Gas Deliveries"

Bullshit. The Ukrainians have been on a pay before delivery tariff from Russia for years. They have chosen war over trade. They currently prefer to spend what income they get that survives oligarch looting on trying to kill the East Ukrainians (currenly 6.9% of GDP).

On March 1, Ukraine closed all schools, colleges and universities to conserve energy. Following a Stockholm arbitration court decision on March 1, Gazprom has started the process of cancelling the contracts for supply of gas to and through Ukraine. They are at liberty to purchase it at market rates ($600 per 100 cubic metersversus the subsidised $300 from Russia) from the Europeans.

researchfix -> HowdyDoody Sun, 03/04/2018 - 09:04 Permalink

Price doesn´t matter. Important is not to pay the invoices. That´s chapter 1 of UKie business.

Does anybody believe there will be payment to Europe for gas? Of course the EU will lie about that, and sweep it under the rug.

Justin Case -> pluto the dog Sat, 03/03/2018 - 23:12 Permalink

Joe Biden's son, Hunter, was hired by a Ukraine company, Burisma Holdings Limited, promoting energy independence from Moscow. So hows it goin Hunter?? Too busy fooling around with his late brother's widow. No time for Ukraine. Murica can help fund some gas, if they can throw away a couple billion for the coup, c'mon Guys, Porky is yoar Bro.

COSMOS -> Justin Case Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:17 Permalink

Most likely he was fooling around with her before his brother died. Some of his nieces and nephews may be his kids. The Bidens are a microcosm of the perverse behavior in DC.

land_of_the_few -> Justin Case Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:19 Permalink

"Kathleen Biden accused estranged husband Hunter of reckless spending on 'drugs, prostitutes, and an $80,000 diamond' in divorce docs - days before his affair with widowed sister-in-law Hallie was revealed"

" Kathleen claims Hunter spends money on 'drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he had sexual relations' in her new motion "

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4276134/Kathleen-Biden-divorce-

swmnguy -> uhland62 Sat, 03/03/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

I live in Minneapolis. The weather here isn't too different from much of Ukraine. For early March we're having a very warm day, nearly 50 F. But next week we get back to more seasonal highs around freezing, with maybe 6" of slushy snow on Monday.

I really like it when my heat works. I do have a wood-burning fireplace but if I have to use it for heat we've got a lot of problems all at once. Ukraine is a great example of what always happens when Nazis get in charge. Everything goes to hell in a handbasket, quickly.

HenryHall -> litemine Sun, 03/04/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

>> Ukraine may have to declare war.

They already did declare war on Russia. Their problem was that Russia did not believe they were serious, thought they were joking.

BlindMonkey -> robertocarlos Sat, 03/03/2018 - 20:41 Permalink

The fools just might do that to keep the riots out of the government buildings in Kiev. Russia doesn't want the basket case either so who knows what the war would look like. Kiev is totally screwed either way this goes.

keep the basta -> BlindMonkey Sat, 03/03/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

No Russia knows that any dealings with Kiev or ukr companies are disastrous. Russia acts very carefully within the law. Hence immediate return of first gas payement since 2014, so not legally bound. Hence Gasprom requiring a signed contract under mutually agreed conditions which they did not get.

Already Ukraine is say there is a 20 percent drop off in pressure on transit gas thru. ukr. Russia says not, it is gas pressure as usual.

Looks like Ukraine is stealing 20percent of transit gas immediately.

[Feb 19, 2018] Poland opposes Nord Stream 2 - plans to build own pipeline - Fort Russ

Feb 19, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com

The Polish leadership intends to implement a project of its own with the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline - in face of the "Nord Stream - 2". This is reported by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .

The Polish party "Law and Justice" decided to revive the Baltic Pipe project and connect to the Norwegian gas network. According to press releases, at the end of last year the Polish state oil and gas company PGNiG reserved the capacity of the gas pipeline for 15 years, at a cost of two billion dollars. It is assumed that the Polish project with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year will begin to function in 2022, but the final decision on this project will be taken later in 2018.

Poland actively opposes the construction of the Russian "Nord Stream - 2". Earlier, the Polish Prime Minister called on the US leadership to extend American sanctions for the implementation of this project. In addition, he said that European companies involved in the construction of the gas pipeline should be fined.

Germany has rebuffed such statements, stating that the project guarantees energy security for Europe.

Nord Stream -2 is a project worth 9.5 billion euros, which involves the construction of two lines of pipeline across the Baltic Sea from the coast of Russia to Germany. The total capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

[Feb 14, 2018] UKRAINE'S NADRA YUZIVSKA AND SHELL ENTERED INTO SHALE GAS PRODUCTION PSA

Jan 24, 2013 | oilmarket-magazine.com

A production sharing agreement (PSA) between Royal Dutch Shell and Ukraine's Nadra Yuzivska for the development of Yuzivske shale gas deposits located in Ukraine's Kharkiv and Donetsk regions was signed in Davos on 24 January 2013 through the mediation of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte. The agreement was inked by Ukraine's energy and coal industry minister Eduard Stavitsky and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser.

Prior to the signing ceremony Yanukovych told journalists that Ukraine would benefit from the agreement since it would allow attracting investments, which Ukraine could use to increase the domestic natural gas production thus creating jobs, raising the level of the country's economy as well as increasing the budget revenues and providing funds for social needs.

On 23 January Ukraine's cabinet of ministers approved a draft PSA between Shell Exploration and Production Ukraine Investments B.V. and Nadra Yuzivska for Yuzivske shale gas field (7,886m2 acreage) development.

Yuzivske field prognostic resources are estimated at 2-4trln m3 of gas, which can be a viable alternative for costly natural gas volumes Ukraine imports form Russia. In the meanwhile US Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates Ukraine's shale gas potential at 1.2trln m3 in this way making the country's shale gas reserves the 4th largest in Europe after Poland, France and Norway. Totally consuming some 60bn m3 of natural gas annually, Ukraine has to import 40bn m3 of natural gas from Russia priced $430 per 1,000 m3 based on the terms of agreements inked in 2009.

Ukraine's prime minister Mykola Azarov stated earlier that Yuzivske field commercial development over the span of a decade could give Ukraine an additional 8-10bn m3 of gas annually.

As Eduard Stavitsky put it in Davos, Ukraine could possibly meet its domestic natural gas demand in full in about 5 years of shale gas production cooperation with Shell. "According to Shell's optimistic scenario about 20bn m3 of gas could be extracted annually; according to the pessimistic one, at the very least 7-8bn m3. If the top forecasts were fulfilled, we would tackle the gas shortfall problem in Ukraine or might even go into surplus", Stavitsky was quoted as saying. He stated earlier that Shell saw investments under the deal of at least $10bn under the most likely scenario and possibly as much as $50bn.

OILMARKET Info
In May 2012 Shell was chosen the successful bidder for 7,800km2 Yuzivske acreage (Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, Ukraine) development with projected reserves estimated at 4.054trln m3 of gas of various categories. The project calls for raising at least $20mn (UAH1.6bn) in investments for the geological study phase, and $3.75bn (UAH30bn) for the industrial production phase. The agreement envisages stage-by-stage exploration, development and hydrocarbons production. Both companies (Shell and Nadro Yuzivske) will hold a 50% participation stake, with Shell chosen the project operator responsible for carrying out works under the terms of agreement.

According to Shell press service, the mentioned PSA was signed for 50 years period. The initial geological study phase at Yuzivske field implies 2D and 3D seismics as well as 15 well drilling, which is expected to enable effective exploration and assessments of hydrocarbon deposits potential especially that of natural gas trapped in compacted sandstone. Yuzivske field development will be implemented in line with the highest international HSE standards. In this way Shell is to carry out comprehensive possible environmental, social and public health impact assessment of the project prior to launch.

[Jan 28, 2018] The United States sees the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as a threat to Europe's energy security

Notable quotes:
"... "The top American diplomat said his country is ready to help Poland continue to diversify its fuel supplies, including through the sale of U.S. liquefied natural gas, to reduce its dependence on Russia" ..."
Jan 28, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

nonsense factory | Jan 27, 2018 7:24:00 PM | 14

Tillerson apes Hillary Clinton PR lines on Russia:

WARSAW (Reuters) - The United States sees the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as a threat to Europe's energy security, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday.
The rest of the Reuters article is garbage, so I'm not bothering with a link. . . Bloomberg seems to spell out the larger rationale, at least:
"The top American diplomat said his country is ready to help Poland continue to diversify its fuel supplies, including through the sale of U.S. liquefied natural gas, to reduce its dependence on Russia"

Notice also that Secretary of Defense Mattis says that the US military is now focused on "Great Power Conflicts" - so what is this, right back to the Hillary Clinton gameplan? At least, Trump is unlikely to get any international support for reckless military actions, so that's one good thing about him over Clinton.

[Jan 20, 2018] Tanker With Russian Gas for Boston Makes Mid-Atlantic U-Turn by Elena Mazneva & Anna Shiryaevskaya

Jan 19, 2016 | www.bloomberg.com

LNG tanker Gaselys was scheduled to arrive in Boston Saturday. Vessel reversed course to Spain after almost 21 days en route

... ... ...

While unusual, it's not unheard of for LNG cargoes that aren't tied into a contract with fixed destination to change course en route as cargo owners seek the highest price and the best market. Companies with access to wide global supplies can also swap shipments between regions. What's more, the tanker may still make it to Boston with a delay, as was the case with deliveries earlier this month, according to Kpler SAS, a cargo-tracking company.

"We have still not canceled the Everett port call for Gaselys," Madeleine Overgaard, an LNG market analyst at Kpler, said by email. "Her course is currently not very different from the average delivery at Everett in 2017, she is probably just diverting to delay arrival."

Engie SA's North American unit bought the spot cargo for delivery to the U.S. from Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. to supplement its contracted volumes from Trinidad and Tobago into its Everett terminal near Boston, it said last week. Engie declined to comment on the tanker's movement on Friday.

The Yamal LNG project, co-owned by Russia's Novatek PJSC, Total SA, China Natural Petroleum Corp. and China's Silk Road Fund, started production in December despite U.S. financial sanctions imposed in 2014 because of Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. It plans to deliver 14 spot cargoes by April, when long-term contracts kick in.

[Jan 13, 2018] Surging Russian-Chinese Trade Pressures Petrodollar

Jan 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the opening of the new ESPO oil pipeline connecting Siberia to China doubling the amount of oil China can import to 600,000 barrels per day we'll see those numbers continue to accelerate.

And that's the key. Remember, the massive $400 billion gas deal China made with Gazprom in 2014 hasn't begun delivering gas. The first Power of Siberia pipeline isn't due to be completed until 2019. The second Power of Siberia pipeline is on the table after this one.

And the two countries just agreed to a third pipeline to bring gas in from Russia's far east last month.

So, despite back-biting from western media about the profitability of these projects, they are going forward and the two countries continue to strengthen fundamental ties to one another.

... ... ...

The important takeaway is that China has created the first unassailable and above-ground challenge to the petro-dollar oil trade. To break the world's use of the dollar as the sole settlement currency for oil required the right contract issued by a country the U.S. can't immediately invade and conduct a regime change operation in – like in Iraq and Libya.

Russia wins here because now there is a path for its Urals grade to become an international benchmark like WTI and Brent. And since Gazprom prefers to price its long-term gas contracts based on underlying oil prices rather than the more volatile natural gas price, this is also a win in the long run for them.

Gold convertibility is a means to deepen China's sovereign debt markets by making it less risky to hold Chinese bonds. The lack of true yuan convertibility is the big impediment to people holding them. So, gold convertibility creates a viable exit route.

WTFUD -> BobEore Jan 13, 2018 7:53 PM Permalink

Bob, when you control 40% of the World's Oil & Gas Reserves and can turn the tap on and off then you can hardly be considered POOR, especially when you make up 20% of the world's Land Mass ( am also thinking Fresh Water ).

Vichy DC's Sanctions on Russia are in Essence, Sanctions on Exxon & the Majors (who soon won't be Majors at this rate ) and the EUROPEAN UNION.

However, i understand your thought processes.

coast1 Jan 13, 2018 7:43 PM Permalink

get real zerohedge...archaic news..you are so far behind the times...

http://www.thedailyeconomist.com/2018/01/all-eyes-may-be-fixed-on-jan-1

messystateofaffairs Jan 13, 2018 7:59 PM Permalink

The vice tightens inexorably and US foreign policy thrashes about in response to the pressure. What will the parasitic Jewish overlords do to save their declining host?

[Jan 03, 2018] Is fracking gas production in the USA is sustainable, or this is yet another "subprime" bubble?

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Are companies which produce it profitable or they survive by generating a parallel stream of junk bonds and evergreen loans?

Most of them are also shale oil producers and might well depend on revenue from shale oil to produce gas. Shale oil proved to unsustainable at prices below, say $65-$75 per barrel or even higher, excluding few "sweet spots". Also a lot of liquids the shale well produce are "subprime oil" that refiners shun.

They are not only much lighter but also they have fewer hydrocarbons necessary for producing kerosene and diesel fuel. Mixing it with heavy oil proved to be double edged sword and still inferior to "natural" oil. So right now the USA imports "quality" oil and sells its own" subprime oil" at discount to refineries that are capable of dealing with such a mix. Say, buying a barrel for $60 and selling a barrel of "subprime oil" at $30.

And without revenue from oil and liquids it can well be that natural gas production might be uneconomical.

I wonder what percentage of the total US oil production now is subprime oil.

Modern multistage shale well now cost around $7-10 million. And that's only beginning as its exploitation also costs money (fuel, maintenance, pumping back highly salinated and often toxic water the well produces, etc). So neither oil nor gas from such wells can be very cheap.

Generally such a well is highly productive only the first couple of years. After that you need to drill more.

Also there is a damage to environment including such dangerous thing as pollution of drinking water in the area,

[Jan 03, 2018] I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PlutoniumKun , January 3, 2018 at 9:39 am

From what I can tell, in Europe there was a policy of encouraging LNG terminals in order to provide leverage against Russian supply. But there seems to have been a significant slowdown in construction – quite simply, LNG is too expensive relative to Russian and domestic (Norwegian, Dutch, UK, Mediteranean) supplies. It makes much more sense for Europe to broaden out its pipeline network. So I think the only appetite for US LNG comes from the more anti-Russian eastern European countries such as Poland, which hates dependency on Russian gas.

likbez , January 3, 2018 at 5:19 pm
Poland would suffer without revenue from pipelines that transport Russian natural gas to Western Europe. That's why they adamantly oppose North Stream II.

Not as much as Ukraine, for which it might mean the economic collapse, but still.

[Jan 03, 2018] Momentous Change in US Natural Gas, with Global Impact

Notable quotes:
"... By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street ..."
"... Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico. ..."
"... This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar. ..."
"... According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day): ..."
"... US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country. ..."
"... This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials. ..."
"... Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed. ..."
"... Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians? ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street

Even China is Buying U.S. LNG

In 2017, the US became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time. It started small in February, when the US exported 1 billion cubic feet more than it imported. By October, the last month for which data from the Energy Department's EIA is available, net exports surged to 45 billion cubic feet. For the first 10 months of 2017, the US exported 86 billion cubic feet more than it imported. And this is just the beginning.

Exports to Mexico via pipeline have been rising for years as more pipelines have entered service and as Mexican power generators are switching from burning oil that could be sold in the global markets to burning cheap US natural gas. The US imports no natural gas from Mexico.

Imports from and exports to Canada have both declined since 2007, with the US continuing to import more natural gas from Canada than it exports to Canada.

What is new is the surging export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by sea to other parts of the world.

This chart shows net imports (imports minus exports) of US natural gas. Negative "net imports" (red) mean that the US exports more than it imports:

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 – Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana – began commercial deliveries in early 2016 when the liquefaction unit "Train 1" entered service. Trains 2 and 3 followed. The three trains have a capacity of just over 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). In October 2017, the company announced that Train 4, with a capacity of 0.7 Bcf/d, was substantially completed and is likely to begin commercial deliveries in March 2018. Train 5 is under construction and is expected to be completed in August 2019. The company is now lining up contracts and financing for Train 6. All six trains combined will have a capacity of 4.2 Bcf/d.

This is just the Sabine Pass export terminal. In addition, there are five other LNG export terminals under construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), with a combined capacity of 7.5 Bcf/d. This brings total LNG export capacity to over 11 Bcf/d over the next few years and will make the US the third largest LNG exporter globally, behind Australia and Qatar.

In addition, there are several other export terminals that FERC has approved but construction has not yet started. And other projects are in the works but have not yet been approved.

According to the Institute of Energy Research, global LNG demand is currently around 37 Bcf per day. This is expected to grow substantially as China is shifting part of its power generation capacity from coal to natural gas. And US LNG exports to China have surged from nothing two years ago to 25.6 billion cubic feet in October (for the month, not per day):

US natural gas production has been booming since 2009 as fracking in prolific shale plays took off, and the price has collapsed – it currently is below $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the NYMEX, despite tthe majestic cold wave that is gripping a big part of the country.

Exporting large quantities of LNG is a momentous shift for the US because it connects previously landlocked US production to the rest of the world. Unlike oil, the US natural gas market has largely been isolated from global pricing.

This caused some immense price differences between the US market -- where a gas "glut" crushed prices, pushing them from time to time even below $2/mmBtu -- and, for example, the Japanese LNG import market, with prices that were in the $16-$17/mmBtu range in 2013 and 2014. Even the average spot price contracted in November 2017, the most recent data made available by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry , was $9/mmBtu. US LNG exporters hope to arbitrage these price differentials.

Meanwhile, US producers are hoping that this overseas demand will mop up the glut in the US and allow them to finally boost prices, including the prices LNG exporters pay. But funding continues pouring into the oil and gas sector to pump up production, and prices have remained low, and drillers continue to bleed.

And there are already global consequences – including in Europe, where large regions, including Germany, increasingly depend on natural gas from Russia as production in Europe is declining. The new competition from the US – though it really hasn't started in earnest yet since most of US LNG goes to places other than Europe at the moment – is already reverberating through the Europe-Russia natural gas trade.

Read Russia's grip on European gas markets is tightening

The Rev Kev , January 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

The first major LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 began commercial deliveries in early 2016

Hmmm, is this a case of build it and they will come? Somebody has to sink the capital in to build a fleet of LNG containers which will take a decade to come online. Somebody also has the build the LNG terminals as well as the infrastructure to go along with it.

Poland may have one built but think about this – the Ukraine may be happy to pay for American coal which is twice as expensive as what they could buy from the Donbass regions but will Europe be happy to pay double or more for LNG from the US just to spite the Russians?

Consider this as well. That LNG terminal is in Louisiana. Which is in the Gulf. Which has all those annual hurricanes. Which is getting worse through climate change. Would the Europeans want to risk depending on American deliveries under these conditions? I will reword that.

Will the Europeans want to risk their economies over this? Last year they shut down the place for a month for repairs. What if Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the place. How will the Europeans be able to trust that a future Trump doesn't shut down LNG deliveries in winter time to get them to commit to some American policy? Too many variables with no net gain and all loss – on their part.

rjs , January 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

they started a buildout of the container ship fleet a half dozen years ago..

[Dec 30, 2017] The Gas Fight Between Ukraine and Russia is Finally Settled - Who Really Won

The key here is whether Russia will stop transit of gas via Ukraine or not.
Notable quotes:
"... A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. ..."
"... In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair. ..."
"... the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. ..."
"... The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | russia-insider.com

After 2014, Ukraine claimed that it was being overcharged, and therefore Naftogaz refused to pay Gazprom their contracted price for gas. Instead, it paid unilaterally a different amount that it subjectively considered "fair."

Gazprom, in keeping with mutually contracted terms and conditions, could only issue an invoice for the resulting underpayment, and after Naftogaz still refused to pay (a debt of approx. $2 billion), made any further deliveries of gas contingent on prepayment.

The arbitration additionally upheld Gazprom's position and denied Naftogaz any right to a refund for gas priced between May 2011 and April 2014 or collect any of the claimed "overcharged gas" totaling approximately $14 billion for that period. In sum, the price Kiev claimed was "inflated" was judged as in Stockholm as baseless.

Therefore, the question of who is accountable and responsible for settling debt has been clarified in Stockholm. Naftogaz must pay Gazprom $2 billion plus a fine calculated at 0.03% per day for each day this debt remains unpaid. This fine has already reached $3 million since the court decision on December 22nd, and if it not paid can reach an annualized figure of $216 million and still keep growing daily.

Like any political and economic story, there is quite a bit that does not make the flashy headlines, but plays a role in contributing to the noise surrounding an issue. Naftogaz takes satisfaction in that the settlement allowed that the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 was to be reduced from $485 to $352 per 1000 cubic meters, or 27%, thereby "saving" Ukraine about $ 1.8 billion for 2014-2015. The price of $485 was in fact fixed for that one quarter, and it was higher than the market price. The reason was that the March referendum and subsequent reunification of Crimea within the Russian Federation happened then. Up until that time, Russia had given Ukraine a discount of $100 per one thousand cubic meters of gas as payment for renting the Crimean base for the Black Sea fleet. The Kharkov treaty with Ukraine which dealt with the naval base was therefore canceled, as Crimea was once again Russia. Without this discount, the price increased by that same discounted $100 in the contracted quarterly price fix.

Key is Stockholm's recognition that the Russian gas price for Ukraine in 2011-2014 was fair, which is much more important than the price fixed in that second quarter in question. It is worth noting in the next third quarter of 2014 Gazprom was prepared to provide Ukraine with a market price for gas again. However, as we all know today, since June 2014 Naftogaz has refused to buy gas from Russia for political reasons and calling it an "aggressor nation."

A more far-reaching result from the Stockholm proceedings was the intention to void the traditional (Gazprom) formula for gas prices which is based on a linkage to the price of oil. Instead, the price of gas will be tied directly to the spot gas market such as the European hub. Should this occur, then the future gas price for Ukraine will be linked to the cost of fuel in the European hub. This would be a major departure from the traditional pricing Gazprom has used for decades, and might set a precedent for other buyers of Russian gas, who might also want to change their price formulation. In traditional Gazprom contracts, the price of gas depends on the price of oil, and only up to 15% of the price is a spot gas component. For decades, this contractual linkage of the price of gas to oil was largely accepted as being open and fair.

Since 2014, Ukraine has been buying reverse gas from Europe at such European spot hub prices, and it has so far been more expensive than the traditional Gazprom contract. It is also worth noting that spot prices are far more volatile, are seasonally demand-affected, and as winter is a peak consumption season the prices can and do increase dramatically.

Why did Gazprom take their initial large claims to court knowing beforehand that it would be impossible to get the tens of billions of dollars from Naftogaz or Ukraine without ruining both through default? The first reason is that a "take or pay" clause was a key and mutually agreed covenant of the contractual relationship, not a point to be discarded unilaterally by any single party. The second reason was as a response to Naftogaz multi-billion lawsuit on the transit of gas from Russia through Ukraine to Europe. The Ukrainian side believes that Gazprom should pay them extra for not sending 110 billion cubic meters of gas through pipelines annually across Ukraine. In the transit contract, there is no obligation for any such volumes to be transited through Ukraine's pipelines.

To sum up this drama, the Stockholm arbitration declared that Naftogaz must honor their contract, and buy from Gazprom 5 billion cubic meters of gas annually. As it turns out the "take or pay" clause remains in force, but the volume has been significantly reduced. How this volume of 5 billion cubic meters was arrived at remains a mystery, but one which will surely become clear over time. The political spin, however, will be interesting to observe since Ukraine must now buy (and pay for) this Russian gas. How will Kiev explain now having to buy Russian gas when since 2014 it stridently proclaimed it shall never buy fuel from "that aggressor nation."

The irony is that while this is a loss of face for Kiev politically, economically it benefits the Ukrainian consumer. To date, Ukraine's purchases of "reverse gas" from Europe has been far more expensive than that which was contracted reliably over the years by Gazprom. Now Kiev will have to find the funds to pay for Gazprom's gas, settle their debt and ever-growing fines, plus meet the rest of their energy needs by purchasing expensive reverse gas from Europe. It will take spin that is a lot more imaginative from Kiev to package this settlement into a believable political victory, and very creative accounting to get the money to pay for it.

[Dec 25, 2017] Ukraine loses gas dispute to Russia; ordered to pay $2 billion to Gazprom by by Alexander Mercouris

Notable quotes:
"... By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period. ..."
"... Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt. ..."
"... Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia? ..."
Dec 25, 2017 | theduran.com

On Friday 21st December 2017 the Stockholm Arbitration Court made a ruling in the legal dispute between Ukraine's state owned gas monopoly Naftogaz and Russia's largely state owned gas monopoly Gazprom.

In the hours after the decision – which like all decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court – is not published, Naftogaz claimed victory in a short statement. However over the course of the hours which followed Gazprom provided details of the decision which suggests that the truth is the diametric opposite.

The Duran recommends using WP Engine >>

Here is how the Financial Times reports the competing claims

Both Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom both on Friday claimed victory as a Stockholm arbitration tribunal issued the final award ruling in the first of two cases in a three-year legal battle between the state-controlled energy companies, where total claims stand at some $80bn.

An emailed statement from the Ukrainian company was titled:

"Naftogaz wins the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute."

Start your own website here >>

The Stockholm arbitration tribunal -- in its final award ruling in a dispute over gas supplies from prior years -- had, according to Naftogaz, struck down Gazprom's claim to receive $56bn for gas contracted but not supplied through controversial "take-or-pay" clauses. They were included in a supply contract Ukraine signed in 2009 after Gazprom dented supplies to the EU by cutting all flow amid a price dispute -- including transit through the country's vast pipeline systems. In a tweet Ukraine's foreign minister

Pavlo Klimkin wrote: "The victory of Naftogaz in the Stockholm arbitration: It's not a knockout, but three knockdowns with obvious advantage."

But later Gazprom countered that arbitors "acknowledged the main points of the contract were in effect and upheld the majority of Gazprom's demands for payment for gas supplies", worth over $2bn. A Naftogaz official responded that the company never refused to pay for gas supplied, but challenged price and conditions.

Given the tribunal does not make its decisions public, doubt loomed over which side was the ultimate winner. Anticipation also grew over the second and final tribunal award expected early next year over disputes both have concerning past gas transit obligations.

Friday's final Stockholm arbitration ruling follows a preliminary decision from last May after which both sides were given time to settle monetary claims outside of the tribunal but failed to reach agreement.

Here is the full Naftogaz statement:

"Today, the Tribunal at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has completely rejected Gazprom take-or-pay claims to Naftogaz amounting to USD 56 billion for 2009-2017.

Gazprom said that in a separate decision on May 31 of this year, the tribunal denied Naftogaz's application to review prices from May 2011 to April 2014, ordered it to pay $14bn for gas supplies during that period, and said that the take-or-pay conditions applied for the duration of the contract. Gazprom claimed that Naftogaz would have to pay it $2.18bn plus interest of 0.03 per cent for every day the payments were late, and then pay for 5bn cm of gas annually starting next year.

When the different sides give opposite accounts of the same decision it obviously becomes difficult to say what the real decision actually is. However Gazprom says that the court upheld (1) the main provisions of the contract; (2) the contract's take-or-pay provisions, these being a particularly contentious issue in the contract; and (3) that Naftogaz has been ordered to pay Gazprom $2 billion, presumably immediately, with interest for every day the amount is unpaid.

By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period.

The key point here is that Russia agreed to reduce the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by an agreement Russia's President Putin reached with Ukraine's President Yanukovich in December 2013. After the Maidan coup the new Ukrainian government went back on the agreement causing the Russians to demand payment of the original price. However over the course of 2014, as energy prices began first to slide and then crashed, and as it became clear that Ukraine was simply not paying for its gas, Russia again reduced the price of the gas Ukraine had to pay.

What seems to have happened is that the Stockholm Arbitration Court decided to smooth out the price of gas payable by Ukraine throughout 2014, which is the sort of thing arbitration tribunals are regularly known to do, whilst leaving the essentials of the contract unchanged.

If so then this is not a victory by Ukraine but a clearcut defeat, which Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government have tried to spin into a victory by citing the reduction in the gas price in the second quarter of 2014 and the reduction in future gas import volumes, neither of which were contentious issues. By contrast it is clear that Ukraine and Naftogaz must pay the full contractual price and abide by the contract's take-or-pay provisions for the whole of the period of the contract prior to the second quarter of 2014.

What this means in terms of hard cash is that Ukraine must now pay Russia a further $2 billion on top of the $3 billion it was recently ordered to pay by the High Court in London. Just as it is holding back on paying the $3 billion it was ordered to pay by the High Court until the appeal process in London is finished, so it will try to hold off paying the $2 billion it has just been ordered to pay to Gazprom until the final decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court (thus the brave talk of Naftogaz's claims of "up to $16 billion transit contract arbitration against Gazprom") but thereafter payment of the $2 billion will fall due. I say this because the claim Gazprom owes Naftogaz "up to" $16 billion in transit fees looks like it has been plucked out of the air.

What this means is that over the course of 2018 Ukraine will have to pay Russia $5 billion ($3 billion awarded by the High Court in London and $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court). Since the $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court is technically an arbitration award, Gazprom will need to convert it into a court Judgment before it can enforce it, but that is merely a formality. At that point this debt will become not merely due but legally enforceable as well.

Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt.

Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia?

Naftogaz brags that Ukraine has saved up to $75 billion because it is no longer buying gas from Russia. However this begs the question of whether the gas Ukraine is now importing from Europe really is significantly cheaper than the gas Ukraine was buying from Russia? This is debatable and with energy prices rising it is likely to become even less likely over time.

[Dec 23, 2017] IMF demands that the price of gas be raised for Ukrainians

Dec 23, 2017 | rusnewstoday24.ru

As reported by the permanent representative of the International Monetary Fund in the Ukraine, Jost Longman, the Kiev authorities should increase Ukrainian gas tariffs to the level of import parity. Longman argues that an increase in gas prices will have a positive effect on the development of the free market and will teach the Ukrainians to use natural gas economically. "In the end, the final goal is the implementation of a free gas market. On the way to this, it is important to continue to adjust the price of gas in accordance with the price of imports", said Longman. "One price for all types of consumer also eliminates the space for corruptio," he added.

[Dec 23, 2017] Court stopped supply of gas from Slovakia to Ukraine

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile , December 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Court stopped supply of gas from Slovakia to Ukraine
22 Dec 2017, 00:56

On 20 Dec., a court in Slovakia stopped gas supplies to "Naftogaz of Ukraine". The decision was made pursuant to the decision of the Stockholm arbitration over a claim made by the Italian company IUGas that its Ukrainian consumer owed it money.

The total amount of the claim, including interest and penalties, is approximately $21 million. An arbitration ruling was accepted on 19 December 2012 and relates to unpaid 2007 transactions .

Under international law, if the defendant has not fulfilled the resolution of the arbitration, the plaintiff may apply to the courts of other states with a request that the ruling be executed.

"Naftogaz of Ukraine" is analyzing the situation to determine its next steps, according to the Ukrainian edition "Mirror of the Week".

For 11 months of 2017, "Naftogaz of Ukraine" had bought in Eastern Europe 20.9 billion cubic metres of gas. Most of the supplies -- more than 8 billion cubic metres -- are in Slovakia.

As written in iz.ru, arbitration is under consideration in Stockholm as regards the lawsuit made by "Gazprom" against "Naftogaz", the decision on which will be issued by the court no later than February next year. The adjusted amount of the claims made by the Russian company was more than $ 37 billion.

All this is the Aggressor State's doing!

For the sake of freedom and democracy, the Ukraine must be supported!

[Dec 23, 2017] Gazprom has responded to Naftogaz's statements about victory in court

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5a3d01ed9a79471d28355203

Gazprom has responded to Naftogaz's statements about victory in court

The Stockholm arbitration has satisfied most of Gazprom's claims made against Naftogaz Ukraine regarding payment for supplied gas, the company has said in a statement. In Moscow. They stressed that the main demands of the Ukrainian side by the court had been rejected.

The court did not recognize the right of Naftogaz to review the price of gas, the deliveries of which were carried out from May 2011 to April 2014. Also, the Ukrainian side was denied recovery of overpayment. Gazprom noted that the court found it necessary to apply the "take or pay" principle (annual payment of a minimum amount of gas) before the expiry of the contract.

"Naftogaz" has to pay back $2 billion in arrears and interest for late payment to Gazprom. The Ukrainian side is also obliged from next year to take 5 billion cubic metres from Russia annually.

Earlier on Friday, Naftogaz said that the court had awarded the victory to the Ukrainian side. In Kiev, they stressed that Gazprom's "take-or-pay" requirements had been "completely" rejected by the court, and the gas price for the second quarter of 2014 had been lowered to $ 352 per thousand cubic metres.

The court considered contracts for the supply of gas from Russia to the Ukraine, as well as gas transit through the Ukraine. They were signed back in 2009. The Ukraine, insisted "Gazprom", did not get any gas 2012-2014, and also in individual quarters of 2015 and 2016. "Naftogaz" asked the court to review the gas prices, and that overpayment be reimbursed and that the ban on further resale of gas be cancelled.

Kremlin propaganda from a "Kremlin controlled" newspaper?

Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 7:30 am Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 7:35 am
Reuters reports the Ukrainian "victory", of course:

Ukraine's Naftogaz: court win over Gazprom worth over $75 bln

Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 7:43 am
Reuters:

Both Ukraine and Russia claim victory in gas dispute

"Naftogaz won the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute," Naftogaz said in an emailed statement.

It said the ruling was worth around $75 billion to Naftogaz in the long term, but did not give a breakdown on how it reached the estimate. [My stress -- ME]

Meanwhile Gazprom said the court had satisfied most of Gazprom's claims and ruled that the main terms of the contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom were valid.

Gazprom said the Stockholm court had ordered Naftogaz to pay more than $2 billion to Gazprom for gas supply arrears and that it had also ordered Naftogaz to buy 5 bcm of gas from Gazprom annually from 2018.

Estimated $75 billion in the "long term"?

Have to pay $2 billion to Gazprom in arrears now (not mention interest).

From 2018 (i.e. in just over a week's time) have to buy annually 5 bcm of gas off the "aggressor state".

Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 11:23 am
Western media, e.g. Deutsche Welle, is now all singing of a Naftogaz victory.
marknesop , December 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm
Of course; that's what Klimkin told them. Why should they check? Klimkin is always reliable, and I'm sure he tweeted a press statement directly to them. Let them hold a Naftogaz victory party if that's what they feel like doing. Just don't spend Russia's money on it. Because I notice Ukraine has to pay Russia. I did not see anything in there about Russia having to pay Ukraine. And so Ukraine can have all of that kind of victories it wants.
Cortes , December 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm
Is the 5 bcm a year for the domestic market? Asking because I thought the cutoff for transit for gas to Europe was 2019.
Moscow Exile , December 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Ultimately, the court greatly reduced the amount of gas that Ukraine is contractually obligated to buy from Russia. From 2018, "Naftogaz" should annually take and pay for up to 5 billion cubic metres instead of the original 52 billion cubic metres in any case it means the resumption of gas purchases in Russia, which stopped in 2015, since when "Naftogaz" has been buying all its fuel through reverse flow from Europe.

... ... ...

[Dec 23, 2017] Russia pipeline is investment risk, EU commissioner warns

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , December 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

EUObserver.com: Interview: Russia pipeline is investment risk, EU commissioner warns https://euobserver.com/energy/140404

Investors should "think twice" about putting money into Nord Stream 2 due to "uncertainties" around the Russian pipeline, the EU energy commissioner told EUobserver.

"I would really think twice, or many more times, simply because there are a lot of uncertainties," Maros Sefcovic said in an interview.

"It's the decision of the project promoters if they want to proceed in this atmosphere which might lead to legal disputes down the line," he said

"Nord Stream 2 is supported by five major western European energy companies that have each committed up to almost €1 billion to the implementation of the pipeline," the consortium's Sebastian Sass said.

"It shows that there is both market demand and great confidence in Nord Stream 2," he added.

Stefan Meister, an expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank in Berlin, also said Russia had little to worry about from the EU.

"In Germany the overall impression is, that the project will come Merkel is not against it. That means she supports it," he said.

Meister said the fact Gazprom was prepared to dig into its own pockets meant "the investment risks are limited". He added that energy companies were used to working "in an even more risky environment" in other parts of the world.

"Except the US sanctions, there are no real risks to stop the project," he said
####

Plenty more of Sefcovic blowing hot air out of every orifice at the link. Did someone slip him some cocaine instead of sugar in his coffee before the interview? All mouth and no trousers.

[Dec 08, 2017] Putin opens Russia's $27bn Arctic LNG plant

The US sanctions were partially anticompetitive move to block Russia selling its hydrocarbons to lucrative EU market. Now Russia is becoming a major player in LNG and things might become more complex for the USA as all US efforts to built LNG infrastructure int he USA in order to export the US LNG to Europe now are can backfire.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia plans to build 15 tankers as big as the 'Christophe de Margerie'. ..."
"... "Russia must accelerate work on development capacity to produce liquefied natural gas," Putin said at the ceremony. ..."
"... Costing $27 billion, the plant will have three production lines and a total capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year. ..."
"... Shareholders of the Novatek project - Total and CNPC - will purchase LNG on a long-term basis. ..."
"... The ceremony was also attended by a member of Saudi Aramco's board of directors. The kingdom is considering taking part in Novatek's new project, Arctic LNG 2, according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | www.rt.com

Russia has opened a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the country's northern region of Yamal. The first tanker with LNG was launched on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ice-breaking tanker is named after the former CEO of Total Christophe de Margerie who died in a plane crash in Russia. The tanker can carry up to 173,000 cubic meters of LNG. Russia plans to build 15 tankers as big as the 'Christophe de Margerie'.

"Russia must accelerate work on development capacity to produce liquefied natural gas," Putin said at the ceremony.

The controlling stake in the enterprise belongs to Russian energy major Novatek. Twenty percent each is owned by Total, and China's CNPC, and the remaining 9.9 percent belongs to the China-based Silk Road Fund. Costing $27 billion, the plant will have three production lines and a total capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year.

Almost 96 percent of the Yamal LNG plant's production has already been contracted. The main customers will be the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Novatek reported. Shareholders of the Novatek project - Total and CNPC - will purchase LNG on a long-term basis.

The ceremony was also attended by a member of Saudi Aramco's board of directors. The kingdom is considering taking part in Novatek's new project, Arctic LNG 2, according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

Read more Russian LNG unfazed by US sanctions

[Nov 28, 2017] Trump Wants Peace With Erdogan - The Military Wants To Sabotage It

Notable quotes:
"... "President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call. ..."
"... The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment. ..."
"... The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council." ..."
"... The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change": ..."
"... When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa. ..."
"... A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham. ..."
"... Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once! ..."
"... Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support ..."
"... But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed. ..."
"... Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear. ..."
"... Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .) ..."
Nov 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump is attempting to calm down the U.S. conflict with Turkey . The military junta in the White House has different plans. It now attempts to circumvent the decision the president communicated to his Turkish counterpart. The result will be more Turkish-U.S. acrimony.

Yesterday the Turkish foreign minister surprisingly announced a phone call President Trump had held with President Erdogan of Turkey.

United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on Nov. 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria, with Ankara saying that Washington has pledged not to send weapons to the People's Protection Units (YPG) any more .

"President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call.

Trump had announced the call:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
12:04 PM - 24 Nov 2017

During the phone call Trump must have escaped his minders for a moment and promptly tried to make, as announced, peace with Erdogan. The issue of arming the YPG is really difficult for Turkey to swallow. Ending that would probably make up for the recent NATO blunder of presenting the founder of modern Turkey Kemal Atatürk and Erdogan himself as enemies.

The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment.

The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council."

The White House finally released what the Associated Press called :

a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria."

Neither a read-out of the call nor the statement AP refers to are currently available on the White House website.

The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change":

U.S. officials have said they plan to keep American troops in northern Syria -- and continue working with Kurdish fighters -- to pressure Assad to make concessions during peace talks brokered by the United Nations in Geneva, stalemated for three years now. "We're not going to just walk away right now," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.

To solidify its position the U.S. needs to further build up and strengthen its YPG mercenary forces.

When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa.

The YPG had been unwilling to fight for the Arab city unless the U.S. would provide it with more money, military supplies and support. All were provided. The U.S. special forces, who control the YPG fighters, directed an immense amount of aerial and artillery ammunition against the city. Any potential enemy position was destroyed by large ammunition and intense bombing before the YPG infantry proceeded. In the end few YPG fighters died in the fight. The Islamic State was let go or eliminated from the city but so was the city of Raqqa . The intensity of the bombardment of the medium size city was at times ten times greater than the bombing in all of Afghanistan. Airwars reported :

Since June, an estimated 20,000 munitions were fired in support of Coalition operations at Raqqa . Images captured by journalists in the final days of the assault show a city in ruins

Several thousand civilians were killed in the indiscriminate onslaught.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is defeated. It no longer holds any ground. There is no longer any justification to further arm and supply the YPG or the dummy organization SDF.

But the generals want to continue to do so to further their larger plans. They are laying grounds to circumvent their president's promise. The Wall Street Journal seems to be the only outlet to pick up on the subterfuge:

President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to stop sending weapons directly to Kurdish militants battling Islamic State in Syria, dealing a political blow to the U.S.'s most reliable ally in the civil war, officials said Friday.

...

The Turkish announcement came as a surprise in Washington, where military and political officials in Mr. Trump's administration appeared to be caught off-guard. U.S. military officials said they had received no new guidance about supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces. But they said there were no immediate plans to deliver any new weapons to the group. And the U.S. can continue to provide the Kurdish forces with arms via the umbrella Syrian militant coalition

The "military officials" talking to the WSJ have found a way to negate Trump's promise. A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham.

But the U.S. needs the YPG to keep control of north-east Syria. It has to continue to provide whatever the YPG demands, or it will have to give up its larger scheme against Syria.

The Turkish government will soon find out that the U.S. again tried to pull wool over its eyes. Erdogan will be furious when he discovers that the U.S. continues to supply war material to the YPG, even when those deliveries are covered up as supplies for the SDF.

The Turkish government released a photograph showing Erdogan and five of his aids taking Trump's phonecall. Such a release and the announcement of the call by the Turkish foreign minister are very unusual. Erdogan is taking prestige from the call and the public announcement is to make sure that Trump sticks to his promise.

This wide publication will also increase Erdogan's wrath when he finds out that he was again deceived.

Posted by b on November 25, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

WorldBLee | Nov 25, 2017 12:48:12 PM | 1

Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once!
Red Ryder | Nov 25, 2017 12:49:33 PM | 2
Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support

Some interpret this act on Election eve as a pecuniary fulfillment by Flynn of a lobbying contract (which existed).

But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed.

Flynn understood the crucial need for US and NATO to hold Turkey and prevent the Russians from getting Erdogan as an ally for Syria and the Black Sea, the Balkans and Mediterranean as well as Iran, Qatar and Eurasia. Look at what has transpired between Turkey and Russia since. Gas will be flowing through the Turkish Stream and Erdogan conforms to Putin's wishes.

Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear.

Flynn was on it for Trump. And the IC and State want him prosecuted for defying their efforts to replace Erdogan with a stooge like Gulen. It looks like Mueller is pursuing that against the General.

Harry | Nov 25, 2017 1:18:07 PM | 3
Its not a problem for US to drop Kurds if they are no longer needed, BUT for now they are essential for US/Israel/Saudi goals, therefore you can bet 100% Kurds support will continue. Trump's order (he hasn't made it official either) will be easily circumvented.

The real question is, what Resistance will do with the backstabbing Kurds? It wont be easy to make a deal while Kurds maintain absurd demands and as long as they have full Axis of Terror support.

Go Iraq's way like they reclaimed Kirkuk? US might have sitten out that one, I doubt they'll allow this to happen in Syria as well, unless they get something in return.

alabaster | Nov 25, 2017 1:19:42 PM | 4
While America's standard duplicity of saying one thing while doing the opposite has been known for decades, they have been able to play games mainly because of the weakness of the other actors in the region.
The tables have turned now, but America still thinks it holds top dog position.
Wordplay, semantics and legal loopholes wont be tolerated for very long, and when hundreds of US boots return home in body bags a choice will have to be made - escalate, or run away.
Previous behavior dictates run away, but times have changed.
A cornered enemy is the most dangerous, and the USA has painted itself into a very small corner...
Jean | Nov 25, 2017 1:35:55 PM | 5
Gee. While reading B's article what got to my mind is: "Turkey is testing the ground". Whatever Trump said to Erdogan on the phone, it seems to me that the Turks are playing a card to see how the different actors in the US that seems to follow different agendas will react. If Turkey concludes that the US will continue to back YPG, it's split from the US and will be definitive.

Erdogan is shifting away from US/NATO. He even hinted today that he might talk to Assad. That's huge! I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey leaves NATO sooner than later. And if it's the case, it will be a major move of a tectonic amplitude.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 25, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 6
Trump.. "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!"

General Wesley Clark - seven countries in five years with Iran last on the list = "Get it all done"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 7
Surely by now Erdogan must realise that whatever the US President says and promises will be circumvented by the State Department, the Pentagon, the 17 US intel agencies (including the CIA and the NSA) and rogue individuals in these and other US government departments and agencies, and in Congress as well (Insane McCain comes to mind)? Not to mention the fact that the Israeli government and the pro-Israeli lobby on Capitol Hill exercise huge influence over sections of the US government.

If Erdogan hasn't figured out the schizoid behaviour of the US from past Turkish experience and the recent experience of Turkey's neighbours (and the Ukraine is one such neighbour), he must not be receiving good information.

Though as Jean says, perhaps Erdogan is giving the US one last chance to demonstrate that it has a coherent and reliable policy towards the Middle East.

Hausmeister | Nov 25, 2017 3:37:06 PM | 8
Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 6

Well, the US policy has been coherent and reliable in the last years. It enhanced local conflicts, supported both sides at the same time but with different intensities. Whoever wins would be "our man". Old stuff since the Byzantine period. It always takes a lot of time to prove the single actions that were done. In most cases we learn about it years later. The delay is so big and unpleasant that quite a number of folks escapes to stupid narratives that explain everything in one step, and therefore nothing. By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?

stonebird | Nov 25, 2017 3:44:32 PM | 9
How can Trump have his cake and eat it?

The Kurds (PKK basically) are only necessary to give a "face" to the force the US is trying to align in E. Syria. The "fighting" against ISIS (if there really was any) is coming to a close. The Chiefs of ISIS have been airlifted to somewhere nearby, and the foreign mercenary forces sent elsewhere by convoy. ALL the valuable personnel have now become "HTS2" with reversible vests. These, plus the US special forces are the basis of a new armed anti-Syrian force. (Note that one general let slip that there are 5'000 US forces in E-Syria - not the 500 spoken of in the MSM).
So Trump may well be correct in saying that the Kurds (specifically) will not get any more arms - because they have other demands and might make peace with the Syrian Government, to keep at least some part of their territorial gains. The ISIS "bretheren" and foreign mercenaries do not want any peaceful solution because it would mean their elimination.. So The CIA and Pentagon will probably continue arms supplies to "HTS2" - but not the Kurds.

(ex-ISIS members; Some are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar - the EU and the US, as well as parts of Russia and China. They are not farming types but will find themselves with some of the best arable land in Syria. Which belonged to Syrian-arabs-christians-Druzes-Yadzis etc. Who wil want their properties back.)

Note that the US forces at Tanf are deliberately not letting humanitarian help reach the nearby refugee camp. Starvation and deprivation will force many of the younger members to become US paid terrorists.

james | Nov 25, 2017 4:00:51 PM | 10
thanks b.. i tend to agree with @4 jean and @5 jen... the way i see it, there is either a real disconnect inside the usa where the president gets to say one thing, but another part of the establishment can do another, or trump has made his last lie to turkey here and turkey is going to say good bye to it's involvement with the usa in any way that can be trusted.. seems like some kind of internal usa conflict to me at this point, but maybe it is all smoke and mirrors to continue on with the same charade.. i mostly think internal usa conflict at this point..
A P | Nov 25, 2017 4:34:19 PM | 11
Odd that no one has mentioned the fact the US was behind the attempted coup, where Erdogan was on a plane with two rogue Syrian jets that stood down rather than execute the kill shot. I have read opinion that the fighter pilots were "lit up" by Russian missile batteries and informed by radio they would not survive unless they shut down their weapons targeting immediately. This is probably a favour Putin reminds Erdogan of on a regular basis, whenever Erdo tries to play Sultan. The attempted coup/asassination also shows Erdogan exactly how much he can trust the US/Zionists at any level.

And Edrogan must also know Syria was once at least partly in the US-orbit, as Syria was the destination for many well-documented US-ordered rendition/torture cases. It is probable Mossad (or their proxy thugs) killed Assad's father and older brother, so Erdo knows he's better relying on Putin than Trumpty Dumbdy.

Virgile | Nov 25, 2017 5:09:38 PM | 12
Erdogan is about to make a u-turn toward Syria. He is furious at Saudi Arabia for boycotting its ally Qatar, for talking about owning Sunni Islam and by the continuous support of Islamists and Sunni Kurds in Syria.
Erdogan is preparing the turkish public opinion to a shift away from the USA-Israeli axis. This may get him many points in the 2019 election if the war in Syria is stopped, most Syrian refugees are back, Turkish companies are involved in the reconstruction and the YPG neutralized. Erdogan has 1 year and half to make this to happen. For that he badly needs Bashar al Assad and his army on his side.

Therefore he is evaluating what is the next move and he needs to know where the USA is standing about Turkey and Syria. Until now the messages from the USA are contradictory yet Erdogan keeps telling his supporters that the USA is plotting against Turkey and against Islam. Erdogan's reputation also is been threatened by the outcome of Reza Zarrab's trial in the US where the corruption of his party may be exposed.

That is why Erdogan is making another check about the US intentions before Erdogan he starts the irreversible shift toward the Iran-Russia (+Qatar and Syria) axis.

dirtyoilandgas | Nov 25, 2017 6:13:37 PM | 13
missing in this analysis is oil gas ... producers, refiners, slavers, middle crooks, and the LNG crowd :Israel, Fracking, LNG and wall street... these are the underlying directing forces that will ultimately dictate when the outsiders have had enough fight against Assad over Assad's oil and Assad's refusal to allow outsiders to install their pipelines. Until then, gangland intelligence agencies will continue the divide, destroy and conquer strategies sufficient to keep the profits flowing. The politicians cannot move until the underlying corruptions resolve..
les7 | Nov 25, 2017 6:59:27 PM | 14
The word 'byzantine' has been used for centuries to describe the intricate and multi-leveled forms of agreement, betrayal, treachery and achievement among the shifting power brokers in the region. The US alone has three major and another three minor players at work - often fighting each other. If however, it thinks it can outplay people whose lives are steeped in such a living tradition, it is sadly deluded and will one day be in for a very rude surprise. Even the Russians have had difficulty navigating that maze.

When confronted with such a 'Gordian knot' of treachery and shifting alliances, Alexander the Great drew his sword and cut through it with a vision informed by the sage Socrates as taught by Aristotle.

Despite claiming to represent such a western heritage, the US has no such Socratic wisdom, no Aristotelian logic, and no visionary leadership that could enable it to do what Alexander did. Lacking this, it is destined to get lost in its' own hubris, and be consumed by our current version of that region's gordian knot.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 15
'Hausmaus' @7 says...
'...By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?..'

...showing that he either knows only the crap spouted by wikipedia...or nothing at all about the Baath party...

...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism...[an obvious oxymoron to be pan-national and 'nationalist' at the same time...]

Of course there is always a 'better way'...right Hausmaus...?

The Baath socialism under Saddam in Iraq was no good for anyone we recall...especially women, students, sick people etc...

A 'better way' has since been installed and it is working beautifully...all can agree...

Same thing in Libya...where the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was no good for anyone...

Of course everyone wanted the 'Better Way'...all those doctoral graduates with free education and guaranteed jobs...a standard of living better than some European countries...etc...

Again...removing the 'socialist' Kadafi has worked out wonderfully...

We now have black African slaves sold in open air markets...where before they did all the broom pushing that was beneath the dignity of the Libyan Arabs...

...and were quite happy to stay there and have a job and paycheck...instead of now flooding the shores of Italy in anything that can float...

Oh yes...why would anyone in Syria want to be governed by the socialist Baath party...?

...especially the Kurds...who just over the border in Turkey are not even recognized as humans...never mind speaking their own language...

Oh yes yes yes...we all want the 'Better Way'...

It's a question of legitimacy you see...

Daniel | Nov 25, 2017 7:55:00 PM | 16
I'd really hoped that Donald Trump® would be the "outsider" that both the MSM and he have been insisting he is for the past couple of years. Other than the Reality TV Show faux conflicts with which the MSM entertains us nightly, I see no such "rogue" Administration.

This say one thing, and do the other has been US foreign policy forever.

Recall, for instance that on February 21, 2014, Obama's State Department issued a statement hailing Ukrainian President Yanukovych for signing an agreement with the "pro-democracy Maidan Protest" leaders in which he acquiesced to all of their demands.

Then, on February 22, 2014, the US State Department cheered the "peaceful and Constitutional" coup after neo-nazis stormed the Parliament.

A few months later, Secretary of State Kerry hailed the Minsk Treaty to end the war in Ukraine. Later that day, Vickie Nuland said there was no way her Ukies would stop shelling civilians, and sure enough they didn't (until they'd been on the retreat for weeks, and came whimpering back to the negotiations table).

A couple years later, Kerry announced that the US and Russia would coordinate aerial assaults in Syria. The next day, "Defense" Secretary Carter said, "no way," and within a week or so, we "accidentally" bombed Syrian forces at Deir ez Zoir for over an hour.

From my perspective, they keep us chasing the next squirrel, while bickering amongst each other about each squirrel. But the wolves are still devouring the lambs, with only the Bear preventing a complete extinction.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 8:16:50 PM | 17
Some good comments here with food for thought...

What we know with at least some level of confidence...

Dump is not the 'decider'...the junta is...he's just a cardboard cutout sitting behind the oval office desk...

And he's got no one to blame but himself...he came in talking a big game about cleaning house and got himself cleaned out of being an actual president...

This was inevitable from the moment he caved on Flynn...the only person he didn't need to vet with the senate...and a position that wields a lot of power...

This was his undoing on many levels...not only because he faced a hostile deep state and even his own party in congress with no one by his side [other than Flynn]...

...but because it showed that he had no balls and would not stand by his man...

This is not the stuff leaders are made of...

The same BS we see with Turkey is playing out with Russia on the Ukraine issue...

Now the junta and their enablers in congress want to start sending offensive arms to Ukraine...Dump and his platitudes to Putin...no matter how much he may mean it...mean nothing...he's not in charge...

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/410942-trump-putin-friendly-words/

Yeah, Right | Nov 25, 2017 9:44:37 PM | 18
I think that Jean @4 has the best take on this: Erdoğan went very public on Trump's "promise" in a classic put-up-or-shut-up challenge to the USA.

Either the word of a POTUS means something or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then Turkey is going to join Russia in concluding that the USA as simply not-agreement-capable.

Erdoğan will then say "enough!!!", give the USA the two-finger-salute, and then take Turkey out of NATO.

And the best thing about it will be that McMaster, Kelly and Mathis will be so obsessed with playing their petty little games that they won't see it coming.

ritzl | Nov 25, 2017 11:08:38 PM | 19
It's hard to tell what Erdoğan is doing or intending other than that he is navigating something - objective TBD. It'll be interesting to see if he constrains the use of Incirlik airbase should the US keep arming the YPG/PKK forces. Airpower is the enabler (sole enabler, IMO) of the/any Kurdish overreach inside Syria. Seems like Erdoğan holds the ace card in this muddle but has yet to play it.
Grieved | Nov 25, 2017 11:32:17 PM | 20
@18 ritzl

Seems like Turkey has more than one card to play. A commenter on another site mentioned recently that the US really doesn't want Erdogan to have that S-400 system from Russia. Got me thinking, could Russia have deliberately loaded Erdogan's hand with that additional card to help him negotiate with the US?

Turkey may well leave NATO and as others have pointed out, this would be a game changer far beyond the matter of the US's illegal presence in NE Syria. This possibility brings immense existential gravitas to Erdogan's position right now. He could ask for many concessions at this point, not to leave. And from the Eurasian point of view, it doesn't matter if he leaves or stays, while from the western view, it matters greatly.

Would the US give up Syria, in order to keep Turkey in NATO? It's a western dichotomy, not one that affects Asia. It would be simple to throw S-400 at that dynamic to watch it squirm.

Jackrabbit | Nov 25, 2017 11:42:26 PM | 21
The plays the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

- Hamlet

As the endgame plays out, Erdogan's conscience may be revealed.

b has made the point that the partition that US-led proxy forces have carved out is unsustainable. But it would be sustainable if Erdogan can be convinced to allow trade via Turkey.

For that reason, I thought Trump's ceasing direct military aid to the Kurds made sense as it provided Erdogan with an excuse to allow land routes for trade/supply. Erdogan can argue that he wants to encourage such good behavior and doesn't want to make US an enemy (Turkey is still a NATO country).

Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .)

Hasn't Erdogan's vehement anti-Kurdish stance done R+6 a disservice? It seems to me that it has helped USA to convince Kurds to fight for them and has also been a convenient excuse for Erdogan to hold onto Idlib where al Queda forces have refuge. If Erdogan was really soooo angry with Washington, and soooo dependent on Moscow, then why not relax his anti-Kurdish stance so as to bring Kurds back into the Syrian orbit?

Seby | Nov 26, 2017 12:25:05 AM | 22
tRump just wants to hide the truth that he is castrated and with a tiny penis, like his hands.

Also just cares about money and soothing his narcissism. So f***'in American, in the worst sense!

Ian | Nov 26, 2017 12:29:05 AM | 23
Jackrabbit @20:
Erdogan may feel that if he relaxed his stance against the Syrian Kurds, it could embolden Turkish Kurds to further pursue their agenda. It would also make him appear weak towards his supporters.
Fernando Arauxo | Nov 26, 2017 1:45:51 AM | 24
Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he? It would be the stupidest chess move ever? He's in the club and they can't kick him out. He can cause all the trouble he wants and hobble that huge machine that is the western alliance. He will not get EU membership, but he has his NATO ID CARD and that ain't bad. Erdo now knows that the poor bastard Trumps is WORTHLESS that he is a toothless executive in name only. This is a wake up call, if I were Erdo, I would be very afraid of the USA and it's Syria, MENA policy. It is being run by LUNATICS and is a slow moving train wreak. So for now, Erdo must be looking at Moscow, admiring Putin for this is a man who has his shit together and truly knows how to run a country. Maybe even a sense of admiration and more respect for Putin is even present. If I were Erdo, I'd double down in my support for Russia's Syria policy.
Hausmeister | Nov 26, 2017 3:46:55 AM | 25
@ flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 14

You do not get it:
„...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism..."
According to this ideology the coherence of a society comes from where? And who is excluded if one applies it?
So your contribution is just a rant using rancidic rhetoric tools. But I will not call you „flunkerbandit". My advice is to move to this area and have a look into such a society from a more close position. Armchair type of vocal leadership does not help.

Anon | Nov 26, 2017 5:11:53 AM | 26
In the Obama years there was a:

Which policy is Trump really up against?

Jen | Nov 26, 2017 6:38:32 AM | 27
Anon @ 25: Tempted to say Trump is up against all of them plus NSA policy, FBI policy, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) policy and the policies of, what, 12 other intel agencies?
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5?r=US&IR=T
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 7:27:43 AM | 28
@23 "Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he?"

I guess one possible reason would be this: as long as Turkey remains in NATO then he is obliged to allow a US military presence in his country, and that's just asking for another attempt at a military coup.

After all, wasn't Incirlik airbase a hotbed of coup-plotters during the last coup attempt?

arbetet | Nov 26, 2017 10:14:56 AM | 29
This came up:

SDF official: Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army ranks!

Harry | Nov 26, 2017 10:33:01 AM | 30
@ arbetet | 29

"when the Syrian settlement is achieved, Syria's democratic forces will join the Syrian army."
"When the Syrian state stabilizes, we can say that the Americans did what they said, then withdraw as they did in Iraq and set a date for their departure and leave."

Nothing new here, nothing good either. Kurds so far are keeping up their demands of de-facto independence under fig-leaf of "we are part of federalised Syria" with weak central government and autonomous Kurds. Thats how US plan to castrate Syria. Russia offered cultural autonomy, Kurds rejected.

As for Americans "withdrawing" willfully, it never happened. Iraq had to kick them out, and then US used ISIS and Kurds to get back in.

As for Syria's stabilization part, US is doing everything in its power to prevent it.

dan of steele | Nov 26, 2017 11:00:06 AM | 31
@Yeah Right #26
Turkey is not obliged to keep foreign troops in their country to remain in NATO. De Gaulle invited the US to leave France in 1967 but is still a member of NATO
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 5:18:37 PM | 32
@31 France actually withdrew from NATO in 1966. It remained "committed" to the collective defence of western Europe, without being, you know, "committed" to it.

So, yeah, France kicked all the foreign troops out of France in 1967, precisely because its withdrawal from NATO's Integrated Military Command meant that the French were no longer under any obligation to allow NATO troops on its soil.

But France had to formally withdraw from that Command first, and the reason that de Gaulle gave for withdrawing were exactly that: remaining meant ceding sovereignty to a supra-national organization i.e. NATO Integrated Military Command.

That France retained "membership" of NATO's political organizations even after that withdrawal was little more than a fig-leaf.

After all, NATO's purpose isn't "political", it is "military".

fast freddy | Nov 26, 2017 6:21:33 PM | 33
"The Decider" is Trump's apparent self image. He can't be enjoying the Presidency and the controls exerted upon him by others among the "Deep State" (whom I suppose have effectively cowed him into behaving via serious threats).

If he already had money and power, as it appears that he had, he gained little by taking the crown. He has less power because he is now controlled by a number of forces (CIA, NSA, Media, MIC and etc.) as he remains under constant assault by his natural opposition.

Big mistake dumping Flynn.

Now you take another kind of asshole in the person of Obama - a guy that had nothing - you have a malleable character who enjoys the pomp and circumstance. Really didn't need any persuading to do anything required of him.

psychohistorian | Nov 26, 2017 11:30:16 PM | 34
Here is a recent report from the Turkish Prime Minister supporting Trump's "lie" about ending support for the Kurds....what will history show occured?

ISTANBUL, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that his country is expecting the United States to end its partnership with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Since the very beginning, we have said that it is wrong for the U.S. to partner with PKK's cousin PYD and YPG in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group," Yildirim told the press in Istanbul prior to his departure for Britain.

Ankara sees the Kurdish groups as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting against the Turkish government for over 30 years, while Washington regards them as a reliable ground force against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone, pledging not to provide weapons to the YPG any more, an irritant that has hurt bilateral ties, according to the Turkish side.

Yildirim noted that Washington has described it as an obligation rather than an option to support the Kurdish groups on the ground. "But since Daesh (IS) is now eliminated then this obligation has disappeared," he added.

Julian | Nov 27, 2017 12:47:45 AM | 35
It would be nice if Erdogan when withdrawing from NATO (Assuming he does this in the next 12-18 months) would say something like.
"We really like President Trump - and we trust his word implicitly. The problem is, although we trust his word, we know he is not in control so his word is useless and best ignored. Though of course - we still trust he means well."

That would be a nice backhander to hear from Erdopig.

Quentin | Nov 27, 2017 8:48:51 AM | 36
Speculation about Turkey leaving NATO seems farfetched. Turkey has NATO over a barrel. It has been a member for decades and what would it gain by leaving? Nothing. By staying it continues to influence and needle at the same time. Turkey will only leave when NATO throws it out, which isn't going to happen.
Willy2 | Nov 27, 2017 11:53:09 AM | 37
- According to Sibel Edmonds there're 2 coups being prepared. One against Trump and one against Erdogan.

[Nov 10, 2017] Massive $43bn US-China gas deal seen as far from reality

That's another big set back for Russia
Notable quotes:
"... Alaska LNG, backed by the state-run Alaska Gasline Development Corp, anticipates a long pipeline carrying the fuel from the North Slope, which has proven gas reserves of over 35 trillion cubic feet. The state governor Bill Walker plans to sign final agreements by the end of next year, with groundbreaking in 2019. ..."
Nov 10, 2017 | www.rt.com

A preliminary gas deal worth over $43 billion sealed between China and the US State of Alaska is far from guaranteed, according to experts. On Thursday, China's biggest state-run energy corporation Sinopec, along with one of the country's top banks and a sovereign wealth fund agreed to go ahead with an export terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Alaska as well as a 1,290-kilometer pipeline to deliver fuel to China. The project is aimed at developing facilities so gas can be piped to the Alaska coast, where it can be liquefied and shipped to China and other Asian countries.

The announcement, which lacked any details about binding agreements or financing, was made during US President Trump's visit to China. However, some analysts are saying the project is not likely to go ahead.

"This is a typical announcement that comes out of these big summits. You really can't build, or get financing for a big project, unless all those pieces are in place," said Jason Feer of energy consultancy Poten & Partners, as quoted by Reuters.

Alaska LNG, backed by the state-run Alaska Gasline Development Corp, anticipates a long pipeline carrying the fuel from the North Slope, which has proven gas reserves of over 35 trillion cubic feet. The state governor Bill Walker plans to sign final agreements by the end of next year, with groundbreaking in 2019.

The lengthy pipeline could cost a billion dollars, according to Larry Persily, former US coordinator for Alaska natural gas projects. Persily added that multinationals such as BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips had been working on the pipeline enterprise, but stepped away.

"If companies don't think this is a good time to put their money into it, why should the state? As the governor has explained, the state has an overriding interest in getting this done -- companies have other places they can invest their money," he said as quoted by AP.

China is trying to fight pollution and get rid of its reliance on coal and is chasing more supplies of natural gas, according to Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan's Energy Institute, as quoted by the agency.

"They have exhibited a long-term interest in having a large and secure gas supply, and I think this is just perhaps the largest -- but by no means the first -- step they've taken to achieve that," he said.

See also

[Nov 07, 2017] Neuters via Euractiv: EU plans big rule change to snag Nord Stream 2

Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , November 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

Neuters via Euractiv: EU plans big rule change to snag Nord Stream 2
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-plans-big-rule-change-to-snag-nord-stream-2/

The EU executive sees Russia's plan to double the gas it could pump under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes via Ukraine, as undercutting EU efforts to reduce dependence on Moscow and its support for Kyiv.

The move dovetails with the Commission's proposal for a mandate from member states to negotiate with Russia over objections to the pipeline.

Even with the changes, EU regulators say they may need to seek talks with Russia as it cannot impose its law on the stretch of the pipeline that is outside its territory.

"This proposal does not solve all the problems and some of those need to be negotiated," an EU official said.

Under the proposed changes to the gas directive, seen by Reuters, all import pipelines would have to comply with EU rules requiring pipelines not be owned directly by gas suppliers, non-discriminatory tariffs, transparent operations and at least 10% of capacity be made available to third parties.

"The Gas Directive in its entirety will become applicable to pipelines to and from third countries, including existing and future pipelines, up to the border of EU jurisdiction," the proposals says .
####

More stupidity at the link, but this looks like the same rubbish leaked to EUObserver a week or so ago that I posted here. I have a question. If this is actually becomes the case, then will Brussels rule that TAP and 'field pipes' which currently have an exemption from EU law then become illegal ?

I don't see how they could keep them as exceptions. Brussels is just trying itself in knots to make is seem relevant where it is actually powerless to do anything. As for the line above ' may need to seek talks with Russia..', WTF?

[Oct 24, 2017] Airheads like Maros Sefcovic seem to have the idea that they can force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine by putting ever more stumbling blocks in its way.

Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , October 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm

You have to give the European Commission credit for grit and persistence; they never give up . So what should be named the Stop Nord Stream II Commission now announces it is contemplating a 'legal tweak' which will allow it to declare the Nord Stream II pipeline subject to the Third Energy Package rules, while the first pipeline was not. That would be quite a feat, and I'm betting it will never happen because too many European states oppose it. But it is significant that only the complainers get to be heard – Poland, the Baltics and Brussels. And ukraine, of course, which always has a voice because I guess it is an honorary member of the EU or something.

Keep that term in mind – 'legal tweak', because it basically means changing the law to allow you to do something it previously would not, without any requirement to show why such a change was broadly necessary. You might want to think about 'legal tweaks' of your own to announce you are arbitrarily raising the speed limit on your route home, because it will allow you to get home faster.

Airheads like Maros Sefcovic seem to have the idea that they can force Russia to continue transiting gas through Ukraine by putting ever more stumbling blocks in its way. But they should be careful. Even in the very unlikely event they achieved success, Russia could simply announce the new delivery point is the Russia/Ukraine border , and that the EU and its new bestest buddy are responsible for transit beyond that point. It could cover itself by insisting on official EU signature at the transit point that x amount had been delivered to the border, so that there could be no accusations that Russia was withholding gas. Then the EU would end up paying to fix Ukraine's rusty-teakettle pipeline network, as well as having to tolerate all its staged outages and extortion tactics to squeeze more money for itself.

kirill , October 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm
Russia should sign a deal with Germany for the latter to build a stub gas pipeline to international waters to connect to the Nord Stream II pipe. The EU has zero jurisdiction over international waters. Germany controls its own EEZ and the EU can't hijack it by definition. Germany would then buy Russian gas and resell it to the other EU members. Let's see these EU legal eagles counteract this.

[Oct 10, 2017] Central-Eastern European pipeline gets go-ahead

Oct 10, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , September 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

Euractiv: Central-Eastern European pipeline gets go-ahead
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/central-eastern-european-pipeline-gets-go-ahead/

An ambitious gas pipeline project connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria received a shot in the arm on Thursday (28 September), when all of the involved parties signed a memorandum of understanding for the project, a vital part of Europe's efforts to wean itself off Russian gas

"We are at a very advanced stage with the BRUA project. We issued the building permit, we are conducting procedures for assigning the construction works, and contracts have already been signed for the design part and for the part concerning equipment for stations," Romanian Energy Minister Toma Petcu revealed.

"In December, the contracts for the execution part are going to be signed and pipe procurement is going to be finalised," Petcu added
####

Plenty more at the link.

Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 8:36 am
BRUA will be able to transport gas from the Black Sea and, when supply comes online at the end of the decade, from the Caspian too.

It is intended to cut Eastern and Central Europe's dependence on Russian gas, an important part of the European Commission's third energy package and the CESEC group's objectives.

Black Sea gas? Where again? Crimea does apparently have significant off-shore deposits of undeveloped gas. It is difficult to find an article via Google on the subject that does not have an anti-Russian slant (you know, something like just facts) but here is something on the topic:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-20/putins-crimea-bonus-vast-oil-and-gas-fields

I don't know if there are other sources of Black Sea gas directly accessible to the EU.

Caspian sea gas seems a looong way off, if ever it were to happen.

Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 10:21 am
Thinking more about the BRUA pipe line, It could be a make work project for the region with PC overtones (e.g. Crimea's little escapade will soon end bringing Black Sea gas back to Europe). The usual graft and corruption will also keep Brussels bureaucrats and local counterparts fat and happy.
et Al , September 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm
It fits in to the Energy Union progapanda that Brussels is spreading. There at least it makes some sense that where ever you are in the EU, member states will have access to energy resources from wherever else in the EU. Of course, the real question is of price and is something completely different. Does anyone else think it is insane to ship LNG to Krk off Croatia to be pipelined to the rest of the Balkans? Is this a bribe to Qatar or something? Or American LNG to say Antwerp or through the Med?

Still, the EU pipeline projects are small change compared to the amount spend on the Common Agricultural Policy and other stuff. I guess its just another 'Do Something' schtick to make Brussels seem relevant to EU citizens like me. Speaking of which, I enjoyed data and telecoms free roaming this summer when I went to the g/f's folk's place this summer. It was.. surreal. And normal. The fact that national EU telecomms operators have been shafting their own customers so hard and for so long and it took f($*ing Brussels to force it through shows which side their own states are on. A sorry state indeed!

marknesop , September 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm
It must be said again – Russia does not intend to sit idle in the LNG business either. And if the planned Kaliningrad terminal comes online by the end of this year as planned , it will not only position Russia attractively in the LNG market (does it cost more to bring European gas cargoes from Kaliningrad, or across the Atlantic?), it will bring increased energy independence to Kaliningrad itself. A cruise terminal is planned as well.
kirill , September 30, 2017 at 11:38 am
These clowns are a combination of corrupt and delusional. The only non-Russian gas coming via the Black Sea would be hypothetical sources via Turkey from Qatar/Iran and the Caspian basin. There is no source of natural gas in the Black Sea that, for example, Bulgaria could develop to feed this pipe.
marknesop , September 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Europe is forever bragging about weaning itself off of Russian gas, when what it is mostly doing is taking Russian gas and moving it around through connectors, and then reselling it to each other. A prime example – although not European – is Ukraine, which claims to have taken no Russian gas throughout 2015 and 2016 during which time it sourced most of its gas from Slovakia, supplied at 90% and above levels by Russia.

Ukraine claims to be getting gas from Yurrup at cheaper prices than Gazprom offered for direct supplies. If that's true, Slovakia is selling gas to Ukraine for less than it paid for it. And there's a word for people like that.

[Oct 04, 2017] The Logical (and Coming) End to the US Empire by Robert Abele

No so fast... Five years later (the article was written in 2013) the US empire is still going strong. meanwhile from 2013 to 2017 it managed to counterattack resource nationalists (killing Kaddafi) and and win in Libya, making the country a colony again. I think Venezuela is the next. Oil prices dropped more then 50% in 2014 (from over $100 to less then $50 per barrel ) and did not yet recovered...
Notable quotes:
"... For an example of the ethical problems of empire, think about the completely unjustifiable attacks on civilians done by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and most prominently in Pakistan and Yemen, especially done by drones. Or consider U.S. use of torture, from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. As everyone knows by now, ethical and humanitarian appeals have been completely and categorically rejected by U.S. leaders, not beginning with 9-11, certainly rejected with greater vigor since then. ..."
"... But there is another, often overlooked, analysis of U.S. actions, that is the logical result of engaging in the actions of Empire, and that concerns the logical consequence of using massive amounts of resources to attempt to control the resources being used (the second use of the term resources here includes citizens; the people of a city or nation). As the economic, logistic, and humanitarian costs all rise in direct proportion to Empire's actions, the sustaining of the Empire becomes impossible, on the basis of its own internal logic. ..."
"... When the issue of blowback is added "i.e. that other nations and peoples are unlikely to cooperate willingly in having their resources, humanity, and very lives removed from them "the end result, Empire's fall, could be hastened, and is certainly assured. We can now predict not only how it will happen, but also its imminent coming. ..."
"... First, the heaviest resource consumers of fossil fuels, in order, are the U.S. military, U.S. citizens, China, and India. The Department of Defense per capita energy consumption is 10 times more than per capita energy consumption in China, or 30 times more than that of Africa. ..."
"... Oil accounts for more than three-fourths of DoD’s total energy consumption. The Post Carbon Institute estimates that abroad alone, the U.S. military consumes about 150,000 barrels per day. In 2006, for example, the Air Force consumed 2.6 billion gallons of jet-fuel, which is the same amount of fuel U.S. airplanes consumed during all of WWII (between December 1941 and August 1945) (from The Resilience Group of the Post Carbon Institute, www.resilience.org ). ..."
"... This essays suggests that these two solid arguments should now be combined with an institutional-logical analysis to demonstrate not only the intrinsic, natural limits to empire, but to show reasons how and why empire must and will ultimately disintegrate due to the hubris of ignoring natural limitations of unbridled consumption coupled with attempts at singular control over others' resources and peoples. ..."
Jul 29, 2013 | www.counterpunch.org

There are numerous legal and ethical arguments that can and have been made in opposition to U.S. foreign policy of raw aggression. For an example of the illegalities of U.S. Empire, examine the Geneva Conventions, all four of which directly proscribe what they each call outrages to human dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment (I, 1, 3). The outrages are named specifically as torture, mutilation, cruel treatment, taking hostages, murder, biological experimentation, and passing sentences on prisoners without benefit of a regularly constituted court.

Additionally, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 both underscore the Geneva Conventions and expand the traditional ethical concerns to rights and duties of neutral states by banning the use of poison gases or arms, destroying or seizing enemy private property, attacking towns and cities that are undefended, pillaging, collective punishment, servility of enemy citizens, and bullets made to wreak havoc once inside the human body. Prescriptions to limit the conduct of war include the requirements to warn towns of impending attacks, to protect cultural, religious, and health institutions, and to insure public order and safety.

For an example of the ethical problems of empire, think about the completely unjustifiable attacks on civilians done by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and most prominently in Pakistan and Yemen, especially done by drones. Or consider U.S. use of torture, from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. As everyone knows by now, ethical and humanitarian appeals have been completely and categorically rejected by U.S. leaders, not beginning with 9-11, certainly rejected with greater vigor since then.

But there is another, often overlooked, analysis of U.S. actions, that is the logical result of engaging in the actions of Empire, and that concerns the logical consequence of using massive amounts of resources to attempt to control the resources being used (the second use of the term resources here includes citizens; the people of a city or nation). As the economic, logistic, and humanitarian costs all rise in direct proportion to Empire's actions, the sustaining of the Empire becomes impossible, on the basis of its own internal logic.

In whatever historical epoch you choose, if you take your compass and draw a circle around any given tribe, you can see the desired extent of their territorial claims for resource control. One thus can see that particular group's

  1. resource consumption; and
  2. circle of desired resource control. But when two further historical developments are added, such as
  3. technologically-driven consumption (e.g. fossil-fuel guzzling appliances and cars, etc.); and
  4. now necessary desires for global resources needed to feed that group's consumption habits "then the situation expands sufficiently to become one of using extensive amounts of the very resources one is attempting to control (in the U.S. case, oil and money) for the sake of controlling the resources over which one needs to exert control! This circular logic cannot be maintained when it meets
  5. a scarcity of resources; and
  6. the natural-institutional-logical antinomy of using resources in massive amounts to control the resources you are using for control. In other words, the empire based on this pattern must end when it runs headlong into resource scarcity, and/or natural-logical contradictions involving its own internal (economic and resource) limitations.

This argument against U.S. Empire is not based on ethical or legal grounds (although those remain the best arguments in favor of voluntarily ending empire and regaining our citizenship [civil rights] and humanness) "since those arguments have been put asunder by the U.S. administrators of empire. Rather, the institutional-logical analysis argues that an empire such as the U.S. has constructed exhausts itself by being unable to expand fast enough to control everything it seeks in order to continue its dominance.

When the issue of blowback is added "i.e. that other nations and peoples are unlikely to cooperate willingly in having their resources, humanity, and very lives removed from them "the end result, Empire's fall, could be hastened, and is certainly assured. We can now predict not only how it will happen, but also its imminent coming. Here's how.

First, the heaviest resource consumers of fossil fuels, in order, are the U.S. military, U.S. citizens, China, and India. The Department of Defense per capita energy consumption is 10 times more than per capita energy consumption in China, or 30 times more than that of Africa.

Oil accounts for more than three-fourths of DoD’s total energy consumption. The Post Carbon Institute estimates that abroad alone, the U.S. military consumes about 150,000 barrels per day. In 2006, for example, the Air Force consumed 2.6 billion gallons of jet-fuel, which is the same amount of fuel U.S. airplanes consumed during all of WWII (between December 1941 and August 1945) (from The Resilience Group of the Post Carbon Institute, www.resilience.org ).

Second, concerning the global dimension of resource control, one needs only to understand the preferred method that U.S. Empire acolytes use to justify their actions abroad: the state of emergency that was declared after 9/11 has continued unabated since then, due to the ongoing threat of terrorism (see Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield , for the latest detailed instances of this process.). The domestic equivalent to his war has been well underway since 9-11. (For detail on the domestic front, see also Trevor Aaronson, Terror Factory , regarding FBI domestic use of the ongoing threat of terrorism to deny basic civil rights to citizens).

This allows U.S. government administrators to maintain a state of exception to the rule of law. Georgio Agamben, in his book States of Exception , defines this phrase as extraordinary governmental actions resulting from distinctively political crises. As such, the actions of such administrators are in-between normal political operations and legal ones. This no man's land of government policy is not only difficult to define, but brings in its wake a suspension of the entire existing juridical order. Thus, states of exception are those in which a government in fact suspends the rule of law for itself, while attempting to maintain some semblance of legal order, for the purpose of consolidating its power and control (see Georgio Agamben, States of Exception , Chapter Two).

Regarding the scarcity of resources issue, none other than the World Bank produced a detailed study of demand and supply projections for the immediate future. The study projects that, on the basis of current consumption and immediately precedent rises in it, the demand for food will rise by 50% by 2030, for meat by 85%, for oil by 20 million barrels a day, and for water by 32%, all by the same year.

This is met by alarming statistics and predictions from the supply side. In their report, they state that global food growth rates fell by 1.1% over the past decade, and are continuing to fall, while global food consumption outstripped production in seven of the eight years between 2000 and 2008. Further, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the UN Environment Program estimate that 16% of the arable land used now is degraded. Intensifying competition between different land uses is likely to emerge in future, including food crops, livestock, etc., and the world's expanding cities. Current rates of water extraction from rivers, groundwater and other sources are already unsustainable in many parts of the world.

Over one billion people live in water basins in which the physical scarcity of water is absolute; by 2025, the figure is projected to rise two billion, with up to two thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed conditions (mainly in non-OECD countries).

On oil , the International Energy Agency has warned consistently that there is a significant risk of a new supply crunch as the global economy recovers. Additionally, the IEA's chief economist argues that peak production could take place by 2020 (from the World Development Report 2011, Background Paper: Resource Scarcity, Climate Change and the Risk of Violent Conflict, www.worldbank.org ).

The conclusion from all of these points is nearly obvious: if resources are even relatively scarce, and the habits of and desires for consumption continue to rise among nations, and especially among the citizens of Empire (as has been documented in part above), and if control over those resources is the goal of Empire, but if the Empire consumes more resources than it can logistically or economically control due to natural limitations of those resources themselves, and/or to the consumption of more resources than is either available to it or that it needs to survive, then the power of the Empire will naturally-logically end in a sharp decline, and soon (For applicable details on this, see Richard Heinberg, The Brief, Tragic Reign of Consumerism "and the Birth of a Happy Alternative, www.postcarbon.org ).

With all indicators predicting that the contradictions of Empire's resource consumption, circle of desired resource control, scarcity of resources, and contradiction in resource use and control, are all about to collide in a few years, not decades, it is time to start planning for a post-Empire future. To that end, any psychologist reading this analysis will recognize themes of realistic conflict theory, which is a theory which explains how intergroup hostility can arise as a result of conflicting goals and competition over limited resources

The key point in bringing this psychological theory into the discussion is that in this theory, it is concluded that friction between groups can be reduced only in the presence of superordinate goals that promote united, cooperative action (see Wikipedia on Realistic Conflict Theory for a good overview, summarized here. https://en.wikipedia.org ). Note the agreement of the ethical, legal, and psychological analyses of Empire's oppression: the most effective resolution to oppression, (empire) dominance, and conflict is united, cooperative action, not the attempt to control or destroy people and nations who stand in the way of our control.

We have seen that progressives have had available to them a standard two-pronged argument against empire "American or any other". Progressives have for good reason appealed consistently to the ethical and the legal arguments available to help stem the desires for world and resource domination.

This essays suggests that these two solid arguments should now be combined with an institutional-logical analysis to demonstrate not only the intrinsic, natural limits to empire, but to show reasons how and why empire must and will ultimately disintegrate due to the hubris of ignoring natural limitations of unbridled consumption coupled with attempts at singular control over others' resources and peoples.

Dr. Robert P. Abele holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University He is the author of three books: A User’s Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act (2005); The Anatomy of a Deception: A Logical and Ethical Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq (2009); Democracy Gone: A Chronicle of the Last Chapters of the Great American Democratic Experiment (2009). He contributed eleven chapters to the Encyclopedia of Global Justice, from The Hague: Springer Press (October, 2011). Dr. Abele is a professor of philosophy at Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California in the San Francisco Bay area.

[Sep 25, 2017] The EU is again taking the position that transit of Russian gas through Ukraine after 2020 is a priority.

Notable quotes:
"... I know it's an analogy I have used before – as Lucy in the Peanuts ..."
"... Washington is the big brother Poroshenko turns to when he wants help to stymie Russia's efforts to build circumferential commercial links around Ukraine, and instead for Ukraine to have an important linking role in Russia's energy business with Europe – in short, for Russia to continue using Ukraine to transit its gas to Europe. ..."
"... In Ukraine's current condition, it is at serious risk of collapse. And a country that sends its gas across Ukraine is a country that cannot afford to let Ukraine turn into a failed state, at any cost. Just to put a cherry on top of this splendiferous vision, complications actually can be introduced, at a whim, into Europe's energy supply, should they get uppity. ..."
"... This is no time for Russia to weaken in its resolve. But it is also no time for Germany to allow itself to be rolled. Somebody is going to be a major gas hub for Europe, and in the current climate it is going to be Germany or Ukraine. Germany should ask itself what Ukraine has done for it which would merit such sacrifice. ..."
Sep 25, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Originally from: The West is as Thick as the Earth's Mantle

First, I ran across an hilarious post on Interfax Ukraine, which I was just going to offer for everyone's amusement. It featured the 17-year-old CEO of Naftogaz, Andriy (it's very important to Ukrainians that they spell their names differently from the Russian spelling, because they are not ignorant Slavs like the Russians, but the descendants of billion-year-old-carbon extraterrestrials) Kobolev, blubbering about how Siemens had caved in to pressure from the Russians, and stopped the sale of compressors to Naftogaz that it needed to modernize its Gas Transit System (GTS). He's not really 17, of course; he just has that Richie Cunningham kind of face that makes him look perennially pubescent, complete with red hair. That's part of what makes the article funny. There's more, but we'll get to that, in a bit.

Then it occurred to me that I've seen a loose series of pieces lately which mention Ukraine and gas transit, such as Ken Rapoza's piece for Forbes (which I mentioned already, in the comments to the previous post), where he unaccountably suggests that Russia has discovered it still needs Ukraine. As I argued on that occasion, Ukraine's soulful big-eyed caricature of trustworthiness is unlikely to fool anyone in Russia, and merely underscores how important it is for Russia's continuing progress and uncoupling from the west that it circumvent Ukraine, and not rely on it for anything.

But then I ran across this . The EU is again taking the position, or at least it appears so from the gobbling of the human turkey Maros Sefcovic, that transit of Russian gas through Ukraine after 2020 is a priority. And I thought, holy shit. Are we really going to go through all this all over again? And then I thought, what's a word for people who are incapable of learning? It's plain that western bureaucrats see themselves – and I know it's an analogy I have used before – as Lucy in the Peanuts comic strips , holding the football for Charlie Brown (Russia), only to snatch it away at the last second so that Charlie Brown/Russia falls ignominiously on his ass, to great amusement. What's a word for people who are so stupid that they believe everyone else is too stupid to see through their self-interested mendacity?

So I searched "What do you call people who are incapable of learning?" This site – somewhat unkindly – suggested "thick". Fair enough, I thought.

... ... ...

But that wasn't the part that made me laugh. No, what I found funny was Kobolev's pouty insistence that Nord Stream II be opposed as a 'politically-motivated project'. Just as if leaning on the jellyfish President of the European Commission to force Russia to continue transiting Europe's gas through the slow-motion collapse that is Ukraine had nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Nope, that just stands out as a solid business decision in every way, doesn't it?

Let's get something up-front and on deck right now, so that there is no ambiguity to confuse the issue. Washington was behind the Maidan turning into a violent insurrection, and the USA remains behind the scenes pulling the strings at the SBU . A very frank phone conversation between State Department neoconservative cookie-distributor Victoria Nuland and United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which the eventual composition of the coup government was planned in unambiguous detail should be all the evidence anyone needs that the entire process was manipulated and micromanaged. Lest anyone forget, Nuland's choice, 'Yats' – Arseniy Yatsenyuk – was such a political dung-magnet that he lasted only 26 months in the job. To be fair to him, he was tasked with implementing the IMF's favourite reform (because it's the only one the IMF really knows); austerity, in the poorest country in Europe. And it is the United States of America which continues to have its arm up the back of Kiev's shirt, making its mouth move. Washington is the big brother Poroshenko turns to when he wants help to stymie Russia's efforts to build circumferential commercial links around Ukraine, and instead for Ukraine to have an important linking role in Russia's energy business with Europe – in short, for Russia to continue using Ukraine to transit its gas to Europe.

Why is that, do you suppose? What's in it for Washington?

Dragging Ukraine into the west's orbit has long been a goal for Washington, dating back to the late and mostly-unlamented Zbigniew Brzezinski's 'grand chessboard' strategy – a geostrategic imperative, he said, to ensure American primacy in the world. Russia without Ukraine, quoth the pushing-up-daisies Pole, would never attain great-power status. And America has sort of gotten to like the feeling of being the only great power in the world.

The strategic value of Ukraine, then, is manifold. It can be stirred at any time to whip up global ire against Russia. NATO military exercises in Ukraine can be used to parade western might across Russia's doorstep. But its real value lies in continued gas transit by Russia between the source and Russia.

For one thing, it's the money – more than $ 2 Billion a year out of Russia's pocket and into Ukraine's, in transit fees. Once Russia is committed to continuing to use Ukraine as a transit country, transit fees can always be used as leverage to negotiate sweet energy deals for Ukraine, against the threat of interrupting Europe's gas supply. Europe would play its part by acting hysterically terrified and victimized. But that's still pretty small potatoes.

In Ukraine's current condition, it is at serious risk of collapse. And a country that sends its gas across Ukraine is a country that cannot afford to let Ukraine turn into a failed state, at any cost. Just to put a cherry on top of this splendiferous vision, complications actually can be introduced, at a whim, into Europe's energy supply, should they get uppity.

There is no room in this sugarplum daydream for an independent Germany which is a gas hub for Europe, perhaps not even with Mutti Merkel at the helm.

Perhaps some sort of medal could be struck for Sefcovic, for his relentless determination to herd Russia into a horrible bargain which would see it constantly bargaining and negotiating with greedy and lawless Ukraine for the expensive privilege of transiting its gas through Ukraine's whistling, creaking pipelines. In other circumstances, such dedication might be admirable. But I'm pretty confident that nobody in Russia is buying it. Europe has made an increasingly half-hearted attempt to stop Nord Stream II, and has learned instead that if it wanted to make a sensible legal argument, it should never have allowed the first pipeline; that's what, in the legal business, is known as 'precedent'.

All of which leads us to suspect that the real remaining antagonist to the Nord Stream II pipeline is somebody whom it should not by rights concern at all, since that entity is neither part of the supply chain nor the end user of the product – Uncle Sam.

This is no time for Russia to weaken in its resolve. But it is also no time for Germany to allow itself to be rolled. Somebody is going to be a major gas hub for Europe, and in the current climate it is going to be Germany or Ukraine. Germany should ask itself what Ukraine has done for it which would merit such sacrifice.

[Sep 17, 2017] Absence of common sense articles on the gas wars issue is really alaming by Nikos Tsafos

Notable quotes:
"... The critics allege that Nord Stream 2 is a political project. So what? When the Obama Administration authorised liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States, did it have politics in mind? Sure. When the Lithuanians turned to LNG to lessen their reliance on Russia, were they pursuing a political project? Well, the importing vessel is called "Independence." Saying that Nord Stream 2 is a political project does not get you very far ..."
"... I can't believe it has taken this long for Euractiv to post a normal article on NordStream II. Sure, it is not the Russophobic shitrag that EUObserver carrying bs opinions from self-acclaimed 'apolitical' energy expert Srijben de Jong, but absence of common sense articles on the issue are few and far between. I'll give this a '1 Hurrah!'. Let see if if it spreads. ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , July 12, 2017 at 11:23 am

Euractiv: Nord Stream 2 doesn't matter
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/opinion/nord-stream-2-doesnt-matter/

By Nikos Tsafos | enalytica

Nord Stream 2 continues to divide Europe. That's a pity. For all the noise, Nord Stream 2 is just a distraction – it doesn't really matter. Here's why, writes Nikos Tsafos.

Nikos Tsafos is president of enalytica, an energy consulting firm, and an adjunct lecturer at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

The critics allege that Nord Stream 2 is a political project. So what? When the Obama Administration authorised liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States, did it have politics in mind? Sure. When the Lithuanians turned to LNG to lessen their reliance on Russia, were they pursuing a political project? Well, the importing vessel is called "Independence." Saying that Nord Stream 2 is a political project does not get you very far

####

I can't believe it has taken this long for Euractiv to post a normal article on NordStream II. Sure, it is not the Russophobic shitrag that EUObserver carrying bs opinions from self-acclaimed 'apolitical' energy expert Srijben de Jong, but absence of common sense articles on the issue are few and far between. I'll give this a '1 Hurrah!'. Let see if if it spreads.

[Aug 26, 2017] First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , August 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Al Beeb s'Allah GONAD (God's Own News Agency Direct): First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41037071

The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to tanker's Russian owners.

The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea .

The Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier.

The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick. ..
####

Another misleading headline, which is a pity because I wanted to say that the downside would be that it makes for shit Gin & Tonics if there is no ice!

Just as a reminder of FAKE news by the previous President that was met with raptured adulation by the professional media:

Neuters 3 August 2014: Obama: 'Russia Doesn't Make Anything'
http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-russia-doesnt-make-anything-2014-8?IR=T

karl1haushofer , August 25, 2017 at 1:07 am
Are you sure that tanker was built in Russia?
Moscow Exile , August 25, 2017 at 1:19 am
LNG TANKER CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE sails under the Cypriot flag and is registered in Limassol, Cyprus.

The vessel was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering.

As we all know, Russians cannot make anything.

marknesop , August 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm
Was the ASIA VISION built in the USA ?
davidt , August 25, 2017 at 1:24 am
For information only, I think the boat was built by the South Korean firm DSME.

[Aug 26, 2017] Gas princess Tymoshenko might be back on power as Poroshenko lost the trust of Ukranians

Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

karl1haushofer , August 25, 2017 at 12:23 am

I would not call Julia Tymoshenko "pro-Russian". She was part of the Orange revolution leaders in 2004.
Moscow Exile , August 25, 2017 at 1:07 am
You are absolutely correct about her not being "pro-Russian", albeit she is an "ethnic" Russian: she is pro-Yulia Tymoshenko, nothing else..

Tymoshenko started off as a businesswoman in Dnepropetrovsk (now Dnipro), her home town, and with the help of the former governor of her home province, the unbelievably corrupt former Ukrainian prime minister, "Mr. 50%" Lazarenko, became immensely wealthy in an amazingly short time, not least because, for an appropriate fee, Prime Minister Lazarenko gave her control of the Ukrainian gas industry.

Tymoshenko was a brunette when she started of her business career and at that time only spoke Russian, which is both her mother tongue and the first (and probably only) language of her Russian mother. Her first foray into business was running a video-hire firm in Dnepropetrovsk, where she flogged off bootleg soft-porn imported from Poland.

The "Gas Princess" then saw that there was much more wealth to be further garnered by her entering what is laughably called in the Ukraine "politics". She changed her image to one of, I suspect, a latter-day Lesya Ukrainka, and the rest is history.

She also seriously studied the Ukrainian language, which on her own admission, she did not speak until she was in her 30s: she speaks nothing else now, in public at any rate.

The "Orange Revolution" for dear Yulia was just another opportunity for her to make even more lolly.

Moscow Exile , August 25, 2017 at 2:07 am

Ukrainians remember that in the 1990s, before the braids, Tymoshenko was a shrewd businesswoman with dark hair and a dark side: tough, unrelenting, unforgiving, and in a league with then-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. She amassed an enormous fortune in the natural gas business. People started calling her "The Gas Princess." And there she was helped by the sweetheart deals Lazarenko allegedly sent her way.

Given all the talk that later charges against Tymoshenko were trumped up or falsified in the Ukraine, it's probably important to know that her ally Lazarenko was prosecuted in the United States, where he was convicted and imprisoned for money laundering and other crimes. Tymoshenko was not charged in that case and she has denied wrongdoing, but she was named explicitly as part of the conspiracy detailed in the indictment.

"Lazarenko received money from companies owned or controlled by Ukrianian [sic] business woman Yulia Tymoshenko in exchange for which Lazarenko exercised his official authority in favor of Tymoshenko's companies, and Lazarenko failed to disclose to the people and government of Ukraine that he was receiving significant amounts of money from these companies."

Tymoshenko moved from business to politics when she entered parliament in 1996. Three years later, when Lazarenko fled the country (claiming people were out to kill him), Tymoshenko helped found the Fatherland Party on an anti-Lazarenko anti-corruption platform.

Yulia Tymoshenko: She's No Angel

marknesop , August 25, 2017 at 12:06 pm
That prosecution is important, because the USA knows full well many of the details of Tymoshenko's business relationship with Lazarenko. Consequently, it could probably make or break her – exactly the position Uncle Same likes to be in with his relentless spying and snooping on everyone and everything.
Moscow Exile , August 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm
That's why Washington has Merkel by the balls -- metaphorically speaking, of course.

[Aug 26, 2017] Certainly Naftogas managers doing a lot to help themselves, aren't they?

Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

August 24, 2017

marknesop , August 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Well, well; look at that – Naftogaz made a profit of 22.6 Billion hryvnia in 2016 , most of it from transit fees.

The same Naftogaz which plans to tack on an extra $5 Billion to its demands from Gazprom – already $12.3 Billion – for what it says was underpayment of transit fees between 2009 and 2016. The same Naftogaz that squeals what a reliable partner it is whenever there is mention of building a pipeline around Ukraine so Russia will not have to transit gas through it.

Certainly doing a lot to help themselves, aren't they?

et Al , August 24, 2017 at 3:49 pm
For 2016, its an odd 25 hryvnia to the dollar so their gained transit fees were a little below $1 billion.

[Aug 26, 2017] Lithuania has accepted the first batch of liquefied natural gas from the USA

Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

moscowexile , August 21, 2017 at 9:17 am

The beginning of the end?

Литва помогает Америке покорить Европу
Литва приняла первую партию сжиженного природного газа из США

Lithuania helps America conquer Europe
Lithuania has accepted the first batch of liquefied natural gas from the USA

.... ... ...

The first consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States has arrived at the port of Klaipeda. The Lithuanian authorities hope that the country will become a regional distribution centre (hub) for US gas. They also believe that supplies of overseas raw materials will help reduce gas prices in neighbouring countries and Lithuania itself.

Analysts do not consider Lithuania's gas policy rational and effective, noting that Russian pipeline gas is now much cheaper than LNG.

marknesop , August 21, 2017 at 11:10 am
There is nothing you can do to stop an ideologue who turns up his/her nose at cheaper local supply of a particular commodity because he/she dislikes the supplier, and elects to purchase more expensive goods from an alternate source. The fact is, Lithuania could become a hub for US LNG, and bring down gas prices for its customers so that they were eager to purchase it. Lithuania could accomplish this through the simple expedient of buying American gas at a high price – compared with Russian pipeline gas – and selling it at a lower price than Russia was willing to do. Of course, somebody would have to absorb the cost of the price difference, and that would be Lithuania. If Lithuania is willing to do that, as I said, she cannot be stopped from doing it by anything short of the poverty which will eventually result.

Knock yourself out, Grybauskaitė. If you were ordered to describe her policies in one word, 'irrational' would probably do quite well. Americans will be comforted to know there is more than one irrational president in the world.

[Aug 11, 2017] The Trump Presidency is effectively over. It ended on the day he signed the Sanctions Bill. A velvet junta has assumed control of the executive branch. Trump's family and advisors await conviction. The Generals are now in charge and will lead us into the next war sooner than later.

Aug 11, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

RenoDino | Aug 7, 2017 10:50:25 AM | 88

fast freddy | Aug 7, 2017 11:36:47 AM | 89

Sanctions, but US still buying billions of dollars worth (including baksheesh) of rocket engines and screwing around with international space station boondoggle (million dollar toilet seats, hammers and widgets). And more baksheesh.

Try to google search a fixed price on one Russian rocket engine.

Just Sayin' | Aug 7, 2017 11:39:59 AM | 90
This 'Pipelineistan' [Bullshit?] conspiracy: The war in Syria has never been about gas
Paul Cochrane
Wednesday 10 May 2017 10:57 UTC

The pipeline hypotheses do not stand up to the realities of how energy is transported through the Middle East in the 21st century

3. No Qatari offer to Damascus

The pipeline narrative, from 2013 onwards, also makes much mention of Damascus rebuffing an alleged Qatari offer in 2009 to build a pipeline. This part of the story hinges around statements by unnamed diplomats in a 2013 Agence France-Presse article about a meeting between Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan.

Qatar's then-Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (R) and First Lady Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Misned (L) welcome Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma at Doha airport in January 2010 (AFP)

The report says: "In 2009, Assad refused to sign an agreement with Qatar for an overland pipeline running from the Gulf to Europe via Syria to protect the interests of its Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas."

But Dargin says: "There are no credible sources that show that Qatar even approached Syria in 2009 and was rebuffed in the process. I am not saying it definitely did not occur, rather there is no evidence supporting this claim."

Syrian experts also support Dargin's rebuttal, highlighting the burgeoning economic and political ties between Doha and Damascus.

'An important aspect that we don't talk about is the Syrian government never said the Qataris were fighting for a pipeline' - Jihad Yazigi, Syria Report

Yassin-Kassab says: "The absurdity is that relations between the Assad regime and the Qataris were excellent until summer 2011. Assad and his wife and the Qatari royal couple were also being portrayed as personal friends."

Although Assad may have repeatedly criticized Qatar since late 2011 onwards for supporting "terrorists," he has never publicly stated that Qatari support for the rebels was over a future pipeline.

Jihad Yazigi, editor of economy website Syria Report, says: "An important aspect that we don't talk about is the Syrian government never said the Qataris were fighting for a pipeline; that is telling in itself, that Assad never mentioned it."


4. The Moscow-Tehran connection

Then there's the other part of the Pipelineistan puzzle – the Iran-Syria pipeline, also known as the Islamic Pipeline.

Yazigi explains: "The Islamic pipeline has been talked about for years. There were pre-contract memorandums of understanding, but until July 2011, there was no formal signing [between Syria and Iran]. You can't argue this is a serious reason to destroy the whole country. "

While the project was politically expedient, it ignored economic and energy realities. First, the project was estimated to cost $10 billion, but it was unclear who would foot the bill, particularly as Tehran was – and still is – under US and international sanctions, as is Syria, since 2011.

Second, Iran lacks the capabilities to export significant amounts of gas. Sanctions mean it cannot access the advanced US technology that would allow it to exploit gas from the South Pars field that borders Qatar.

dh | Aug 7, 2017 11:41:03 AM | 91
@71 James, there are many small contractors involved in Nordstream in several countries. The sanctions are designed to squeeze them out and make Nordstream impossible.

It's not unlike the strategy being used against NK. They are designed to make life even more difficult for ordinary people....perhaps drive them into China and cause China to attack NK.

Skip | Aug 7, 2017 12:04:55 PM | 93
@15

"Not me! Term limits mean nothing more than the elimination of the ability of the voters to assess candidates based on legislative track records. The result is that every two years the voters will have to choose representatives with no past history of legislation. Disaster."

Gag me with a spoon. This argument is so old and so worn thin. Statistically 95+% of these fools are reelected because the highly cerebral voters you refer to have elevators that almost never go to the top of the building.

Money, money money. That's what drives the engine of elections. Incumbents have it working for them in so many ways: PACs, corporate centers of influence; radio and teevee.

All of the alternatives you propose are red herrings. They are only workable in heaven, not here on Terra Firma.

Remember, all of that institutional memory brought about by all of the 'experienced' members of congress got us where we are today. And, it's gotten them a 10% approval rating.

karlof1 | Aug 7, 2017 12:16:45 PM | 94
Grieved @66 & 67--

Thanks for your reply and endorsement.

Something to consider when dealing with the Revolutionary time period is what part of the populous is considered "The People," as in "We The People"? And just how equal in reality were those people in 1776 when the phrase "All men are created equal" appeared?

This is of great importance when we look at the proportion of the populous that was allowed to have a stake in the process and compare that with the amount of time it took until a majority was finally deemed to have equal rights under the law--1920 within USA

Although it can be argued that full equality under the law is still lacking as Glenn Greenwald did to great affect in With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality . Two works providing info on this issue are The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States and People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization , although there are many others.

Is the United States federal government reformable? IMO, as currently constituted, no. A new document and associated institutions needs to be written and built, although some current institutions will have a place within the new construct.

Yes, I did write a Constitution 3.0 using Madisonian principles not long after the fiasco of the 2000 election to use as a classroom discussion tool. But to have any chance at making that reality, the Rule of Law must be reinstated within the Outlaw US Empire in order to bring the Deep State to Justice and thus its destruction.

Arioch | Aug 7, 2017 1:30:51 PM | 97
One jewish journalist (link was posted here few days ago) nicely pointed out these sanctions are the stupidest thing US could have possibly done. Not only it forges even closer Russia-China-Iran alliance, it also alienates the closest and strongest ally US have - the EU.

@18 - or the opposite. If Trump really is isolationists and if he wants USA isolate itself on the two Americas, then he has two options: make America turn its back on the world, or make the world turn its back on America. The first option he failed, DC regime is stronger than POUTS. Then - the second option.

Just Sayin' | Aug 7, 2017 2:56:49 PM | 99
Not only it forges even closer Russia-China-Iran alliance, it also alienates the closest and strongest ally US have - the EU.

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 7, 2017 1:30:51 PM | 96

What's wrong about that statement is that the EU nations are not US Allied states - they are US vassal states. A bit of a difference between those two: "allied state" and "vassal state"

[Aug 11, 2017] Russian gas pipelines to go ahead despite U.S. sanctions by Oksana Kobzeva and Alissa de Carbonnel

marknesop.wordpress.com

New U.S. sanctions will make it harder for Russia to build two gas export pipelines to Europe but the projects are unlikely to be stopped.

U.S. President Donald Trump has reluctantly signed into law further sanctions on Russia but some of the measures are discretionary and most White House watchers believe he will not take action against Russia's energy infrastructure.

This would allow Gazprom's two big pipeline projects to go ahead, although at a higher price and with some delays.

... ... ...

Gazprom warned investors last month that the sanctions "may result in delays, or otherwise impair or prevent the completion of the projects by the group."

With all that in mind, the Russian gas giant is taking steps to reduce the impact of sanctions.

It has accelerated pipe-laying by Swiss contractor Allseas Group under the Black Sea for TurkStream - even though there is no final agreement on where the pipeline will make landfall in Turkey. It is also hurriedly building a second TurkStream line to export gas to Europe.

"The construction of the second line is underway just in case the sanctions hit," a senior Gazprom source told Reuters.

A spokesman for Allseas said 100 km of the 900-km first line have been built since June 23 and preparatory work is underway for the second line.

THE UKRAINIAN CONNECTION

The biggest cost of any delays to the new lines could come from increased transit fees paid to Ukraine, the route by which Russian gas has traditionally reached Europe. Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream bypass Ukraine, but if they are brought into use late, Gazprom will have to continue using the Ukrainian route and may have to pay more for the privilege.

The European Union, fearing sanctions will hurt oil and gas projects on which it depends, said it was ready to retaliate unless it obtained U.S. guarantees that European firms would not be targeted.

Five Western firms that have invested in Nord Stream 2 - Wintershall (BASFn.DE) and Uniper (UN01.DE) of Germany, Austria's OMV (OMVV.VI), Anglo-Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), and France's Engie (ENGIE.PA) - say it is too early to judge the impact of sanctions.

For now, they are standing by their pledge of up to 950 million euros ($1.13 billion) each to finance the 1,225 km (760 mile) Nord Stream 2.

... ... ...

RISK PREMIUM

The sanctions law is however expected to hamper Gazprom's efforts to raise money. "The price of any project automatically increases," said Tatiana Mitrova, director of the Skolkovo Energy Center.

... ... ...

[Aug 09, 2017] Liberating Europe from Russian Gas

Notable quotes:
"... The sanctions bill has been promoted as one that appropriately penalizes Russia for its international misbehavior. The always-cited examples being the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the (alleged) invasion of Ukraine in 2014. (As though these in any way rival in their impact and ramifications of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, based on lies, in 2003, or the U.S./NATO-led assault on Libya sold in the UN Security Council as a "humanitarian" intervention supported by Russia, that turned out to be a grotesque regime change operation culminating with Hillary Clinton's public orgasm following Muammar Gadaffi's sodomy-murder. "We came, we saw, he died!") ..."
"... Russia is always depicted in the corporate media as an "adversary." It acts, we are told ad nauseam, against U.S. "interests" around the world. Its involvement in Syria is (to support the survival of the secular modern Syrian state against the most savage opponents imaginable) is somehow objectionable (whereas U.S. bombing of Syria, condemned by Damascus as a violation of Syrian sovereignty and clearly in violation of international law, is treated as a matter of course). Its role in the bombing of Aleppo, resulting in the reconquest of the city from al-Nusra and its allies, was depicted by the U.S. media as a bad thing. Meanwhile U.S. bombing of Mosul, to retake that city from ISIL, is treated as heroic, however many thousands perish in "collateral damage." Anyway CNN won't cover it and has fewer reporters on the ground there than RT does. ..."
"... Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev matter-of-factly tweeted: "The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way." But where will this power lead? ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

But U.S. policy now, under the Trump administration, is to promote U.S. energy exports to Europe to replace Russian ones. It is both old-fashioned Cold War Russophobia and old-fashioned inter-capitalist, inter-imperialist contention.

The sanctions bill has been promoted as one that appropriately penalizes Russia for its international misbehavior. The always-cited examples being the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and the (alleged) invasion of Ukraine in 2014. (As though these in any way rival in their impact and ramifications of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, based on lies, in 2003, or the U.S./NATO-led assault on Libya sold in the UN Security Council as a "humanitarian" intervention supported by Russia, that turned out to be a grotesque regime change operation culminating with Hillary Clinton's public orgasm following Muammar Gadaffi's sodomy-murder. "We came, we saw, he died!")

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Fgcd1ghag5Y?feature=oembed

Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died

Russia is always depicted in the corporate media as an "adversary." It acts, we are told ad nauseam, against U.S. "interests" around the world. Its involvement in Syria is (to support the survival of the secular modern Syrian state against the most savage opponents imaginable) is somehow objectionable (whereas U.S. bombing of Syria, condemned by Damascus as a violation of Syrian sovereignty and clearly in violation of international law, is treated as a matter of course). Its role in the bombing of Aleppo, resulting in the reconquest of the city from al-Nusra and its allies, was depicted by the U.S. media as a bad thing. Meanwhile U.S. bombing of Mosul, to retake that city from ISIL, is treated as heroic, however many thousands perish in "collateral damage." Anyway CNN won't cover it and has fewer reporters on the ground there than RT does.

Russia is depicted as "provocative" when it mobilizes military forces within its own territory (and Belarus), in response to massive NATO exercises involving 31,000 troops in Poland last June that the German foreign minister criticized as "warmongering."

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev matter-of-factly tweeted: "The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way." But where will this power lead?

The concept, as articulated by Sen. John McCain and Sen. John Hoeven in a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed, is to "liberate our allies from Russia's stranglehold on the European natural-gas market." But as the Washington Post has observed, "The problem is that Europeans don't necessarily want to be liberated. Russian gas is much cheaper than American LNG, and could become even cheaper to undercut the United States if it entered the European market. American LNG suppliers prioritize their own profits over America's strategic advantage anyway, and are likely to want to target more lucrative markets than Europe, such as Japan. Finally, the Russian gas supply is likely to be more reliable than the United States', since it involves predictable long-term contracts, whereas U.S. production capacity rises and falls, as it becomes cheaper and more expensive to extract American unconventional hydrocarbons."

The McCain-Hoeven piece was of course written before there was any talk about Russian "election meddling." But that issue was used to justify the sanctions bill. That, plus miscellaneous Russian actions, basically in response to U.S. actions (as in Ukraine, where!as everyone should know!Hillary Clinton's crony Victoria Newland helped organize a putsch in February 2014, designed to pull Ukraine into NATO, although that effort has failed and anyway lacks German support).

The U.S. at this point (under Trump) is taking actions towards Russia that recall those of the Truman administration. The warm, fuzzy (and miserable, abjectly weak) Russia of the 1990s under Yeltsin is now a reviving world power within an emerging Eurasian trade system. The relationship between Russia and China will stay strong even if the U.S. takes measures to sabotage trade relations between Russia and Europe.

Meanwhile, the sanctions law has produced general European outrage. This is not the anti-Trump outrage that accompanied his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. It is outrage at the U.S. legislature for its arrogance in demanding Europe shoot itself in the foot, to show Washington deference. In other words, the entirety of the divided, troubled U.S. polity is seen as a problem. This is as a new Pew Research Center report showing that only 49% of the world's people now hold a positive view of the U.S.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern have publicly condemned the law, which could prevent them from benefiting from the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, declaring: "we cannot agree with threats of illegal extraterritorial sanctions against European companies which take part in the development of European energy supply." Brigitte Zypries, head of Germany's Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, says the new sanctions are "against international law, plain and simple Americans cannot punish German companies because they [do business] in another country." The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Spain have protested. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the bill could have "unintended unilateral effects" on the EU's energy security, adding, "America first cannot mean that Europe's interests come last."

This is not just a provocation of Russia, but of the whole world. It's leveled by a bipartisan effort, and general (although insane) consensus that Russia is trying to revive the Soviet empire, is constantly interfering in foreign countries' elections, and represents an "existential" threat to the U.S. and its freedoms, etc. (Because!reputable media talking heads opine routinely!Putin hates freedom and wants to oppose it, by electoral interference in Germany, France, Italy, etc.)

U.S. politicians!many of whom who do not believe in global warming or evolution, and cannot find Syria or Ukraine on the map!have boldly gone where no one has gone before: to risk a trade war with traditional allies, to force them to more firmly embrace the principle of U.S. hegemony. This when the U.S. GDP has dropped below that of the EU, and U.S. clout and credibility in the world!in large part due to global revulsion at the results of U.S. regime-change wars!is at low ebb.

Medvedev predicts that "relations between Russia and the United States are going to be extremely tense regardless of Congress' makeup and regardless of who is president. Lengthy arguments in international bodies and courts are ahead, as well as rising international tensions and refusal to settle major international issues." No bromance here.

Meanwhile Sen. Lindsey Graham!an extreme reactionary and warmonger now lionized my the mainstream media as some sort of "moderate" and adult in the room!informs NBC's Today Show that reports that "there is no military option" on North Korea are "just false."

"There is a military option: to destroy North Korea's nuclear program and North Korea itself. He's not going to allow -- President Trump -- the ability of this madman [Kim Jong Un] to have a missile that could hit America. If there's going to be a war to stop him, it will be over there. If thousands die, they're going to die over there. They're not going to die over here -- and he's told me that to my face."

[Jul 30, 2017] Are the Latest Russia Sanctions Really About Forcing US LNG on Europe?

Notable quotes:
"... Of course they are; and it's so bloody transparent that nobody is fooled. Please check the link below: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/eu-ready-retaliate-if-us-imposes-new-russia-sanctions/ri20467 ..."
"... The U.S. is waging full scale war against Russia; economic sanctions are war and Japan attacked Pearl Harbour for almost identical sanctions on oil and energy imports. Vladimir Putin is the Cool Hand Luke of Russia; let hope the outcome is not like the movie. The E.U. seems to have had a recent spinal transplant; let's just see how it plays out ..."
"... The Western, eastern stuff is irrelevant. Russia isn't the aggressor in the situation. Putin will enjoy a population much more willing to stand against U.S. aggression which is largely dependent on an ignorant U.S. population. ..."
"... Merkel will be under pressure as these sanctions are simply a tax on EU citizens and corporations to support American corporate profits without providing better products. Given the EU political structure and the lack of a "cool" President, I suspect the next Congressional delegation will be shocked to find they aren't well received. ..."
"... I personally doubt that the Blob/US financial interests are 'jealous' of them -- they just think that Russia, like other countries, should kowtow to them, and allow them to buy whatever part of the Russian society and economy and land they like. ..."
"... I had thought of it the other way around: that the insistence on unprofitable fracking was to support America as a world power. Got to have some way to bribe Europe away from the Russians. Is there actually enough gas to do that? I know there's quite a bit. ..."
"... The Dragon in the Sea ..."
Jul 26, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Anti Schmoo , July 26, 2017 at 5:17 am

Are the Latest Russia Sanctions Really About Forcing US LNG on Europe?

Of course they are; and it's so bloody transparent that nobody is fooled. Please check the link below: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/eu-ready-retaliate-if-us-imposes-new-russia-sanctions/ri20467

Anti Schmoo , July 26, 2017 at 5:30 am

The U.S. is waging full scale war against Russia; economic sanctions are war and Japan attacked Pearl Harbour for almost identical sanctions on oil and energy imports. Vladimir Putin is the Cool Hand Luke of Russia; let hope the outcome is not like the movie. The E.U. seems to have had a recent spinal transplant; let's just see how it plays out

Anti Schmoo , July 26, 2017 at 5:34 am

I dare say, Russia is more self sufficient than the U.S. and almost every other country on the planet. Do the research; it's very enlightening.
The U.S. is a very jealous hegemon and can't bear this reality

Foppe , July 26, 2017 at 6:31 am

It's also got half the population, and a far less diversified economy (fwtw), so it's not exactly a apples to apples comparison.

Anti Schmoo , July 26, 2017 at 8:43 am

Have you ever thought to question your comparitive references? Most views of Russia are western-centric in the extreme. Russia is not western or European in any sense of that reality; Russia is a very different culture/s and sees things drastically different than the western-centric POV. Just sayin

NotTimothyGeithner , July 26, 2017 at 9:14 am

The Western, eastern stuff is irrelevant. Russia isn't the aggressor in the situation. Putin will enjoy a population much more willing to stand against U.S. aggression which is largely dependent on an ignorant U.S. population.

Merkel will be under pressure as these sanctions are simply a tax on EU citizens and corporations to support American corporate profits without providing better products. Given the EU political structure and the lack of a "cool" President, I suspect the next Congressional delegation will be shocked to find they aren't well received.

Foppe , July 26, 2017 at 10:38 am

I'm confused. Who was it who brought up "Russia is more self-sufficient than the US and almost every other country on the planet? That implies that you feel self-sufficiency (with respect to certain metrics) is something that one should value. Let's say other people do not share that meta value: does that then mean they are wrong?

I personally doubt that the Blob/US financial interests are 'jealous' of them -- they just think that Russia, like other countries, should kowtow to them, and allow them to buy whatever part of the Russian society and economy and land they like.

Mel , July 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

I had thought of it the other way around: that the insistence on unprofitable fracking was to support America as a world power. Got to have some way to bribe Europe away from the Russians. Is there actually enough gas to do that? I know there's quite a bit.

Damson , July 27, 2017 at 1:13 am

Yes indeed.

It's looking like quite the little diplomatic spat between the EU and Capitol Hill.

Here's the Russian envoy to the EU on talks to ban funding by EU banks for US business, if the US law is declared invalid in the EU :
http://tass.com/politics/957927

Note the bill bans not just business with Russians in Europe, but also Eurasia.

OBOR is clearly a target too.

So are the Chinese going to pipe up?

For this is nothing less than gloves – off imperialism .

timbers , July 26, 2017 at 6:38 am

Anyone know if it's possible the German's will act w/o the EU? In other words, unilaterally?

I'm asking because the article says EU may not be the "required" unanimous in responding to the U.S. sanctions & LNG so there may not be an official EU retaliation (though it seems there was much stronger opposition to the EU imposing Russian sanctions in 2014 in the first place but supposedly that was a "unanimous" decision).

Will Germany be a total puppet to the U.S.? Or might it start to move towards Russia which seems to be in Germany's business interest?

Ignacio , July 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

Germany wants to ensure stable gas supply for as long as possible. A pipeline thas goes through the sea and does not depend on third countries that migth disconnect the pipeline (like Ukrania) allows for a durable contract. So the US is not only intefering with russian interests but with german ones. I don't think Germany considers US shale LNG supply a robust enough alternative competitive in price and duration with russian gas. My guess is that in this case, Germany won't be a total puppet.

No spine no pain , July 26, 2017 at 9:05 am

Anti Schmoo put it very well "The E.U. seems to have had a recent spinal transplant"

EU has been following every global US initiative enthusiastically even though it only hurts Europeans: wars and invasions, TTIP, TiSA, CETA etc.

On top of being emasculated and spineless with regards to national and continental interests the current leaders of EU are neoliberals so they don't care about a new 'market solution' for gas. Will subsidize the higher prices for companies while the citizens pay the price.

Mel , July 26, 2017 at 11:30 am

:) q.v. Frank Herbert's very old novel The Dragon in the Sea (aka Under Pressure .) Being by Frank Herbert, it's about psychology, but it's also about petroleum pirating by submarine. Yeah, I guess the price per barrel must have been pretty high.

Harry , July 26, 2017 at 7:28 pm

The pipelines that go under the sea have lower capacities. They work to reduce the impact of ukrainians et al blackmailing gas supplies. They do not eliminate the need to route gas overland.

ZeWorldIsMine , July 26, 2017 at 6:52 am

Sadly, Sigmar Gabriel's word means nothing.

He's an opportunitist and may advocate something one day and oppose it the next day.
He is absolutely not trustworthy. A total pushover.
And I wouldn't expect much from the rest of the german government, too.

The german media could pick it up and put pressure on politicians.
But due to the pathetic state the germain mainstream media are in (with exceptions),
I expect they'll just stop bringing up this issue and let people forget about it.

Maybe other european countries will be more resistant, maybe

Clive , July 26, 2017 at 7:25 am

Plus Japan -- a big LNG importer historically as it has no conventional energy sources of its own -- is going to lessen its LNG demand as the nuclear restart gathers pace. Whatever you might think of the safety aspects, Japan has 50+gW of embedded nuclear generating capacity with a residual economic life of 20+ years on average. It is simply inconceivable that this plant, much of which, unlike Fukushima which was end-of-life, is mid-life and has decades of viable reactor runtimes available, will be mothballed and decommissioned without generating another kW of power ever again.

The LNG glut will only continue and probably get noticeably worse once all, or at least the vast majority, of Japanese reactors are brought back on line, which will be 5 years from now at the outer limit. Cutting off Russian gas into Europe (and the rest of the world) will be a big plus for the US. LNG liquefaction plant is a massive capital outlay, has big fixed costs and is highly operationally geared, so even small reductions below peak output have a big hit on plant profitability. It is those "wheels" the US plant operators will want to keep turning. Conversely, the regasification plants (based in EU countries) don't need to operate flat out, they're designed to have peaks and troughs as LNG consignments come in and get processed, then sit around for a bit waiting for the next one. Which, again, is why the US is bothered about restricting Russian supply, the EU not so much.

rjs , July 26, 2017 at 8:24 am

there is no surplus US LNG to be forced on Europe, it's a myth we are still importing more natural gas from Canada than we are exporting to Mexico and liquifying for export moreover, our own natural gas production has been falling year over year for 15 months straight i wrote about exactly this situation two weeks ago:
http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/great-us-natural-gas-exports-myth-6112
all the data is included. you can repost it if you want.
we are contracting to sell US natural gas at below the cost of US production, and it's gonna come back and bite US natgas users big time when a shortage develops here..

ambrit , July 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

IS natgas users would be anyone who uses American electricity, right? Another 'regressive' tax on the way. Really, this is not New Cold War oriented, but Class War materiel.
Time for work.

rjs , July 26, 2017 at 10:10 am

there's been a gradual shift back to coal for generating over the past half year or so whether that's because of price or because the utilities see what's coming i couldn't tell you..

Yves Smith Post author , July 26, 2017 at 5:43 pm

See the comments above, the US is flaring a ton of gas now due to supposedly to lack of delivery mechanisms.

rjs , July 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm

maybe i'm projecting too much, but i see us heading down the same path that Australia took


How energy-rich Australia exported its way into an energy crisis
- Australia exported 62% of its gas production last year, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Yet its policy makers didn't ensure enough gas would remain at home. As exports increased from new LNG facilities in eastern Australia, some state governments let aging coal plants close and accelerated a push toward renewable energy for environmental concerns. That left the regions more reliant on gas for power, especially when intermittent sources such as wind and solar weren't sufficient. Shortages drove domestic gas prices earlier this year in some markets in eastern Australia to as high as $17 per million British thermal units for smaller gas users such as manufacturers. On the spot market, gas prices have gone from below $1 in 2014 to roughly $7 today .. In March, Australia's largest aluminum smelter cut production and laid off workers because it said it couldn't secure enough cheap energy.

the problem is that we are are contracting to export natural gas at today's low prices, which wont pay for tomorrow's production..

Carolinian , July 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

Perhaps the most interesting and depressing thing is that 419 to 3 vote. Who were these heroes who dared to defy the Blob?

Clearly defeating Hillary was not enough. TPTB will have their war with Russia–cold or hot–or bust.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 26, 2017 at 9:35 am

The U.S. much like Team Blue hid behind our "cool" President and 9/11 for so long, no one knows how to act. This is a trade war where we picked a fight with our most loyal vassals on behalf of one industry which needs to be replaced anyway. Do you remember Hollande? He joined with Obama against "OMG Russia." Macron's honey moon is over.

Vatch , July 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll413.xml

The 3 no voters were Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. All are Republicans.

Carolinian , July 26, 2017 at 11:20 am

Thanks.

p7b , July 26, 2017 at 9:27 am

One aspect of the US natgas pipeline situation !

Due to resignations early in the Trump administration, and refusal of the Senate to approve new FERC nominees, the FERC, whose approval is needed for building interstate energy transport infrastructure, now lacks a quorum (having only 1 of the minimum 3 members out of 5 total). A number of pipeline projects originating in marcellus were approved around end of 2016 prior to the resignations, and are due to come on line in 2018, but many dozens more are now awaiting permitting -- both for domestic use and to transport to LNG export, as the piece above states.

The other interesting thing is that in the past, the explicit strategy of the US was to use domestic natgas domestically, but no longer, it seems.

Pipelines would raise prices at the wellhead and lower prices elsewhere in the country. If the lack of approval goes on for a few more years, it may have an impact on: the battle between natgas and wind for the medium-term dominance of newly added utility scale electric generation in the US, and the timing of how fast we can retire coal electric.

Lastly, besides Russia, Qatar is also a major natgas exporter to Europe, so they'll get their gas either way, they'll just pay more. A points of reference there -- I belive Germany is currently using coal as its main domestic baseload electric fuel – as prices were relatively high until recently, they're using NG for home heating only. Now everyone needs to retire coal for obvious reasons.

JohnnyGL , July 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

Jamming up FERC shouldn't be underestimated. They've got a huge amount of discretionary authority to blast through state and local laws and regulations at will. It's amazing how the oil/gas industry gets 1-stop shopping for all it's regulatory requirements.

oh , July 26, 2017 at 10:15 am

It's sickening to see how much power the Petroleum companies have over Congress. Bribes work well in our country. We need a wholesale re-haul of CON gress.

TheCatSaid , July 26, 2017 at 10:19 am

Regarding possible EU development of a spine, a recent George Webb video from just about 3 days ago said he's been told by some of his IC sources that Germany has been printing DMs on the quiet. I take this with a pinch of salt but it's intriguing nonetheless. If true, Germany must also be looking at the IT issue as well.

yan , July 26, 2017 at 11:14 am

EU is still threatening to cancel Poland voting rights for 1 year, even after the President vetoed the legislation regarding judiciary reform (which was to my understanding the main bone, albeit the country is keen on going full Adolph). Maybe it has something to do with this?

vidimi , July 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

i thought the president signed the bill despite saying he would veto it?

vidimi , July 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

thanks for this article, it's really a remarkable powerplay. the stakes are so high that it's unfathomable that it doesn't backfire spectacularly. this looks like an exercise in hubris that future historians will be long discussing.

more than forcing the EU to use american LNG, it is an attempt to force the EU to back american efforts to replace assad in syria. remember, syria is what stands in the way between bahraini/saudi gas and oil pipelines to europe.

the US is already at war against russia, they just haven't yet started shooting at each other. but also, any chinese silk road to europe will have to use russian assets and infrastructure, so this, potentially, affects them, too.

dcblogger , July 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Trump Is Being Moved Aside So That Conflict with Russia Can Proceed
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/07/26/trump-moved-aside-conflict-russia-can-proceed/

Rosario , July 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

All stupidity with the Russia hysteria aside this may be all the faster at forcing a move to renewables in the US. NG is the bounciest of all carbon based fuels WRT price. Once they start pumping US NG into more foreign markets the price will climb, which will squeeze utilities that have moved en mass into NG based generation and prove that renewables are even more cost effective. Petty politics may end up having a silver lining 5 years down the road, and at this point I am open to any route to renewables, even the sloppiest, unintentional ones.

Synapsid , July 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Rosario,

If exporting US NG causes its price to rise domestically, utilities that had been using coal can shift back to it. That happened recently.

Rosario , July 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Sure, but the ball is in another (higher) cup as the cost graphs go. I suspect it is going to get increasingly difficult to transition back and forth with the lowering costs of renewables. Also, coal is not getting any cheaper to extract and it definitely hasn't reduced its externalities. We'll see, big utilities move in herds and it takes years to make a full transition. They may flood back to coal, and build new plants (I doubt it), but they will eventually get burnt and have to swing back again. In the absence of purposeful national level policy (what I prefer) this is the only way the market based approach will turn away from fossil fuels.

Olaf Lukk , July 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

"Instruments of political sanctions should not be connected with economic interests"?

This echoes the rationalizations of Wall Street when they crashed the economy in '08. Let's not let politics interfere with the right to make money?

The sanctions against Russia were put in place in response to its annexation of Crimea and its support of insurrection in Eastern Ukraine. They have been extended, and expanded, in response to Russian meddling in the recent presidential election. To what extent their cyber warfare had an effect is debatable, but Trump's stonewalling on the issue practically guaranteed the lopsided vote on the latest sanctions.

The LNG issue has some valid points, but it ignores an issue which I have not seen addressed on Naked Capitalism: Just how much is Trump- and those in his administration (infested with alumni of the vampire squid)- beholden to Putin and his fellow oligarchs?

Trump appears to be the Pied Piper of Putin Patsies. I can't help but wonder why.

Yves Smith Post author , July 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Crimea was not "annexed". The US destabilized Ukraine. The government in Kiev came in as a result of a coup even thought elections were scheduled for a mere six weeks later and Yanukovich would clearly have been voted out. The new government tore up the current constitution and went through no legal process whatsoever to do that. That is not the behavior of a legitimate government.

Even though neo-Nazis are a very small percentage of the voters, they got 15% of government positions. The head of the defense department gave a speech in which he encouraged ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians of Russian origin, saying that any soldiers who removed them could keep their property.

Crimea petitioned to join Russia after a referendum that approved of that move by a large margin. The US used precisely the same mechanism with Kosovo. Are you about to call that an annexation?

We have repeatedly discussed how the idea that Russia has influence over Trump is nonsense.

Better trolls, please.

GeorgW , July 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-what-does-russiagate-look-like-to-russians-w493462# -Amazed, that you never linked this

Yves Smith Post author , July 27, 2017 at 12:33 am

I'm not omniscient and I've been unable to read for more than a week due to an eye injury, as Lambert told readers.

Lambert Strether , July 27, 2017 at 12:47 am

Did you suggest it at the time? The newsflow is a gusher right now. It's simply not possible to give notice to everything. So do feel free to stifle your amazement.

Adding, it is a very good story (although I'm not a Russia hand). So readers may enjoy it even at this late date which was, I take it, the real point of your comment.

TheCatSaid , July 26, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Plus the assertion of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election was never proven–it was only asserted and repeated ad nauseum. Recent investigations have shown that in fact the DNC and Podesta emails were insider leaks, they were not outsider hacks. The technical analysis showed evidence that Russian "footprints" had been specifically inserted to cause Russia to be blamed.

In contrast the US has a well-established track record of meddling in other countries elections and setting up regime change in various ways. Ukraine is one example, as Yves described. There are many others, think of the US-sponsored coups in Latin America. They seem to be trying to pull off another coup in Venezuela since their 2002 attempt didn't work out. And Obama didn't hesitate to publicly endorse Macron just a couple days before the French election.

jo6pac , July 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Thank You, Thank You

Lambert Strether , July 27, 2017 at 12:52 am

> the Pied Piper

Highly unfortunate, then, that the Clinton campaign maneuvered to have Trump as their opponent, using just that phrase ("Pied Piper") .

clarky90 , July 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm

"the latest US sanctions against Russia, which passed the House today by a 419-3 margin ".

and

"Republicans and Democrats agreed almost unanimously, by 97 votes to 2 , to impose new sanctions on Russia in the Senate on Wednesday"

I have been a member of many organizations, and do not recall seeing this kind of "unanimity" when voting on significant and controversial resolutions. Clearly, a majority of US Americans want peace, particularly with Russia (a Christian democracy). How and why did the People's Representatives/Senators find the "courage" to vote against the People's wishes??? Hmmmmmmmm?

To put the vote into a context, 77 years ago; on

" ..July 14–15, 1940 – Rigged elections held in Latvia and the other Baltic states. Only one pre-approved list of candidates was allowed for elections for the "People's Parliament". The ballots held following instructions: "Only the list of the Latvian Working People's Bloc must be deposited in the ballot box. The ballot must be deposited without any changes." The alleged voter activity index was 97.6% . Most notably, the complete election results were published in Moscow 12 hours before the election closed. Soviet electoral documents found later substantiated that the results were completely fabricated. Tribunals were set up to punish "traitors to the people." those who had fallen short of the "political duty" of voting Latvia into the USSR. Those who failed to have their passports stamped for so voting were allowed to be shot in the back of the head.

July 21, 1940 – The fraudulently installed Saeima meets for the first time. It has only one piece of business!a petition to join the Soviet Union. (The consideration of such an action was denied throughout the election.) The petition carried unanimously. .."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_occupation_of_Latvia_in_1940

Is the Neo-NKVD whipping the Senate and USA House members into voting in the "correct" way?

It is the nearly 100% vote that bothers me- Not what I would expect in a free and open minded democracy.

Olaf Lukk , July 29, 2017 at 4:03 am

So the US congress voted almost unanimously to impose sanctions because they were worried that otherwise, they would be shot in the back of the head?

Makes perfect sense to me!

Mark W. , July 27, 2017 at 1:10 am

Read Petrodollar Warfare and The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony for a start and a lot of this will become more clear. The Iraq war, the U.S. instigated coup in Ukraine, U.S. backed attempt at regime change in Syria and the demonization of Russia all concern oil supplies and who will be allowed to supply what to whom, and more importantly in what currency such sales will be denominated. All of this stuff is about trying to maintain the dollar's reserve currency status. Isn't this becoming clear by now. Americans are still trying to understand why they invaded Iraq. Was it WMDs, Al Qaeda, to bring freedom and democracy to the towel heads? Hussein decided in 2000 that Iraqi oil sales would be denominated in Euros, three years later he was conveniently dead.

Yves Smith Post author , July 27, 2017 at 3:09 am

While I agree that the US has hegemonic aspirations, the petrodollar thesis is all wet.

Since the 1600s at least, countries have pursued mercantilist policies. That means first of all that they like running trade surpluses. That allows them to have more jobs than their own economies would support, keeping their citizens happy. They can also be net savers without having a drag on the domestic economy.

But who will be the chump that exports jobs and has crappy growth to accommodate the mercantlists? The US has signed up for that role, in large measure because the US cares more about the 1%, the 0.1%, and the interest of US multinationals than its citizens.

As long as everyone else wants to run trade surpluses and we are the only big player willing to run sustained trade deficits, the dollar will remain the reserve currency. China has absolutely zero interest in running trade deficits despite pining after the cachet of having the reserve currency. The Eurozone maybe could have been a contender, but not with Germany being fiercely mercantlist and Germany's insistence on not rebalancing within the Eurozone creating perceived breakup risk.

mark , July 27, 2017 at 3:19 am

@Yves
In order to answer your question to German language readers in the article.
There are several differences this time compared to previous instances of perhaps controversial US-policy in Europe.
First of all the official positions of the German and Austrian government as well as the EU-Commission are in harsh opposition to the bill while previously only opposition politicians or fringe business interests voiced negative opinions.
Secondly the issue has been spread around in the relevant German business press a great deal, yesterday alone about a dozen news agency reports were published, all with pretty much the same tone and content. It has also been picked up by the op-ed pages in the papers today. This is in stark contrast to previous instances like a leader from Die Linke blaming the refugee crisis on US wars in 2015, Nato expansion to the east and troop build up in the Baltic or the planned upgrade of US nuclear weapons stationed in Germany. All three topics are out of mainstream discussion and anyone bringing up a negative opinion, like the mentioned politician from Die Linke, is ridiculed.
Thirdly while the EU needs the approval of all members to establish sanctions it could do a great deal to prosecute a trade war via executive decisions by the EU-Commission alone. While there has been no official indication how the threatened retaliation is going to look like several simple measures come to mind. For instance the EU could suspend the EU-US privacy shield agreement thereby increasing the cost of doing business in the EU for US companies by a significant amount, it would also be likely that cartell/market dominance investigations might result in harsher fines for US companies and more restricted mergers, something which has been brought up by EU officials sometime ago is to require all foreign or only US banking and maybe other financial institutions to be seperate concerns with full capitalisation and no dependencies on the US-holdings.

To summarise: it looks like a significant amount of the German "business community" is not amused and views the bill as a direct attack on its interests and tries to use their influence with the goverment against it. This raises the likelihood of something more than mere talk to above 0%. In any case the image of the US has taken another hit, this time with a group of people with mostly very positive opinions about close US-German relations.

Yves Smith Post author , July 27, 2017 at 5:51 am

This is VERY helpful. Thanks so much!

Damson , July 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Of course, the gas suppliers won't necessarily be in US – others plan to benefit from the Russian sanctions :

http://m.dw.com/en/eu-to-cut-gas-dependency-on-russia-with-israel-pipeline/a-38269274

What do people think the Syria carve – up is really about?

vidimi , July 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

thanks for this article, it's really a remarkable powerplay. the stakes are so high that it's unfathomable that it doesn't backfire spectacularly. this looks like an exercise in hubris that future historians will be long discussing.

more than forcing the EU to use american LNG, it is an attempt to force the EU to back american efforts to replace assad in syria. remember, syria is what stands in the way between bahraini/saudi gas and oil pipelines to europe.

the US is already at war against russia, they just haven't yet started shooting at each other. but also, any chinese silk road to europe will have to use russian assets and infrastructure, so this, potentially, affects them, too.

dcblogger , July 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Trump Is Being Moved Aside So That Conflict with Russia Can Proceed
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/07/26/trump-moved-aside-conflict-russia-can-proceed/

Rosario , July 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

All stupidity with the Russia hysteria aside this may be all the faster at forcing a move to renewables in the US. NG is the bounciest of all carbon based fuels WRT price. Once they start pumping US NG into more foreign markets the price will climb, which will squeeze utilities that have moved en mass into NG based generation and prove that renewables are even more cost effective. Petty politics may end up having a silver lining 5 years down the road, and at this point I am open to any route to renewables, even the sloppiest, unintentional ones.

Synapsid , July 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Rosario,

If exporting US NG causes its price to rise domestically, utilities that had been using coal can shift back to it. That happened recently.

Rosario , July 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Sure, but the ball is in another (higher) cup as the cost graphs go. I suspect it is going to get increasingly difficult to transition back and forth with the lowering costs of renewables. Also, coal is not getting any cheaper to extract and it definitely hasn't reduced its externalities. We'll see, big utilities move in herds and it takes years to make a full transition. They may flood back to coal, and build new plants (I doubt it), but they will eventually get burnt and have to swing back again. In the absence of purposeful national level policy (what I prefer) this is the only way the market based approach will turn away from fossil fuels.

Olaf Lukk , July 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

"Instruments of political sanctions should not be connected with economic interests"?

This echoes the rationalizations of Wall Street when they crashed the economy in '08. Let's not let politics interfere with the right to make money?

The sanctions against Russia were put in place in response to its annexation of Crimea and its support of insurrection in Eastern Ukraine. They have been extended, and expanded, in response to Russian meddling in the recent presidential election. To what extent their cyber warfare had an effect is debatable, but Trump's stonewalling on the issue practically guaranteed the lopsided vote on the latest sanctions.

The LNG issue has some valid points, but it ignores an issue which I have not seen addressed on Naked Capitalism: Just how much is Trump- and those in his administration (infested with alumni of the vampire squid)- beholden to Putin and his fellow oligarchs?

Trump appears to be the Pied Piper of Putin Patsies. I can't help but wonder why.

Yves Smith Post author , July 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Crimea was not "annexed". The US destabilized Ukraine. The government in Kiev came in as a result of a coup even thought elections were scheduled for a mere six weeks later and Yanukovich would clearly have been voted out. The new government tore up the current constitution and went through no legal process whatsoever to do that. That is not the behavior of a legitimate government.

Even though neo-Nazis are a very small percentage of the voters, they got 15% of government positions. The head of the defense department gave a speech in which he encouraged ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians of Russian origin, saying that any soldiers who removed them could keep their property.

Crimea petitioned to join Russia after a referendum that approved of that move by a large margin. The US used precisely the same mechanism with Kosovo. Are you about to call that an annexation?

We have repeatedly discussed how the idea that Russia has influence over Trump is nonsense.

Better trolls, please.

[Jul 29, 2017] Collateral Damage

Notable quotes:
"... République en marche ..."
Jul 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European "friends"?

Whether they know or not, they obviously don't care. U.S. politicians view the rest of the world as America's hinterland, to be exploited, abused and ignored with impunity.

The Bill H.R. 3364 "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act" was adopted on July 25 by all but three members of the House of Representatives. An earlier version was adopted by all but two Senators. Final passage at veto-overturning proportions is a certainty.

This congressional temper tantrum flails in all directions. The main casualties are likely to be America's dear beloved European allies, notably Germany and France. Who also sometimes happen to be competitors, but such crass considerations don't matter in the sacred halls of the U.S. Congress, totally devoted to upholding universal morality.

Economic "Soft Power" Hits Hard

Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.

By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.

That is only one way in which the bill would subject European banks and enterprises to crippling restrictions, lawsuits and gigantic fines.

While the U.S. preaches "free competition", it constantly takes measures to prevent free competition at the international level.

Following the July 2015 deal ensuring that Iran could not develop nuclear weapons, international sanctions were lifted, but the United States retained its own previous ones. Since then, any foreign bank or enterprise contemplating trade with Iran is apt to receive a letter from a New York group calling itself "United Against Nuclear Iran" which warns that "there remain serious legal, political, financial and reputational risks associated with doing business in Iran, particularly in sectors of the Iranian economy such as oil and gas". The risks cited include billions of dollars of (U.S.) fines, surveillance by "a myriad of regulatory agencies", personal danger, deficiency of insurance coverage, cyber insecurity, loss of more lucrative business, harm to corporate reputation and a drop in shareholder value.

The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the "free world" economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.

European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was "unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry". The French foreign ministry denounced the "extraterritoriality" of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that "To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws".

In fact, bitter resentment of arrogant U.S. imposition of its own laws on others has been growing in France, and was the object of a serious parliamentary report delivered to the French National Assembly foreign affairs and finance committees last October 5, on the subject of "the extraterritoriality of American legislation".

Extraterritoriality

The chairman of the commission of enquiry, long-time Paris representative Pierre Lellouche, summed up the situation as follows:

"The facts are very simple. We are confronted with an extremely dense wall of American legislation whose precise intention is to use the law to serve the purposes of the economic and political imperium with the idea of gaining economic and strategic advantages. As always in the United States, that imperium, that normative bulldozer operates in the name of the best intentions in the world since the United States considers itself a 'benevolent power', that is a country that can only do good."

Always in the name of "the fight against corruption" or "the fight against terrorism", the United States righteously pursues anything legally called a "U.S. person", which under strange American law can refer to any entity doing business in the land of the free, whether by having an American subsidiary, or being listed on the New York stock exchange, or using a U.S.-based server, or even by simply trading in dollars, which is something that no large international enterprise can avoid.

In 2014, France's leading bank, BNP-Paribas, agreed to pay a whopping fine of nearly nine billion dollars, basically for having used dollar transfers in deals with countries under U.S. sanctions. The transactions were perfectly legal under French law. But because they dealt in dollars, payments transited by way of the United States, where diligent computer experts could find the needle in the haystack. European banks are faced with the choice between prosecution, which entails all sorts of restrictions and punishments before a verdict is reached, or else, counseled by expensive U.S. corporate lawyers, and entering into the obscure "plea bargain" culture of the U.S. judicial system, unfamiliar to Europeans. Just like the poor wretch accused of robbing a convenience store, the lawyers urge the huge European enterprises to plea guilty in order to escape much worse consequences.

Alstom, a major multinational corporation whose railroad section produces France's high speed trains, is a jewel of French industry. In 2014, under pressure from U.S. accusations of corruption (probably bribes to officials in a few developing countries), Alstom sold off its electricity branch to General Electric.

The underlying accusation is that such alleged "corruption" by foreign firms causes U.S. firms to lose markets. That is possible, but there is no practical reciprocity here. A whole range of U.S. intelligence agencies, able to spy on everyone's private communications, are engaged in commercial espionage around the world. As an example, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, devoted to this task, operates with 200 employees on an annual budget of over $30 million. The comparable office in Paris employs five people.

This was the situation as of last October. The latest round of sanctions can only expose European banks and enterprises to even more severe consequences, especially concerning investments in the vital Nord Stream natural gas pipeline.

This bill is just the latest in a series of U.S. legislative measures tending to break down national legal sovereignty and create a globalized jurisdiction in which anyone can sue anyone else for anything, with ultimate investigative capacity and enforcement power held by the United States.

Wrecking the European Economy

Over a dozen European Banks (British, German, French, Dutch, Swiss) have run afoul of U.S. judicial moralizing, compared to only one U.S. bank: JP Morgan Chase.

The U.S. targets the European core countries, while its overwhelming influence in the northern rim – Poland, the Baltic States and Sweden – prevents the European Union from taking any measures (necessarily unanimous) contrary to U.S. interests.

By far the biggest catch in Uncle Sam's financial fishing expedition is Deutsche Bank. As Pierre Lellouche warned during the final hearing of the extraterritorial hearings last October, U.S. pursuits against Deutsche Bank risk bringing down the whole European banking system. Although it had already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the State of New York, Deutsche Bank was faced with a "fine of 14 billion dollars whereas it is worth only five and a half. In other words, if this is carried out, we risk a domino effect, a major financial crisis in Europe."

In short, U.S. sanctions amount to a sword of Damocles threatening the economies of the country's main trading partners. This could be a Pyrrhic victory, or more simply, the blow that kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. But hurrah, America would be the winner in a field of ruins.

Former justice minister Elisabeth Guigou called the situation shocking, and noted that France had told the U.S. Embassy that the situation is " insupportable " and insisted that "we must be firm".

Jacques Myard said that "American law is being used to gain markets and eliminate competitors. We should not be naïve and wake up to what is happening."

This enquiry marked a step ahead in French awareness and resistance to a new form of "taxation without representation" exercised by the United States against its European satellites. They committee members all agreed that something must be done.

That was last October. In June, France held parliamentary elections. The commission chairman, Pierre Lellouche (Republican), the rapporteur Karine Berger (Socialist), Elisabeth Guigou (a leading Socialist) and Jacques Myard (Republican) all lost their seats to inexperienced newcomers recruited into President Emmanuel Macron's République en marche party. The newcomers are having a hard time finding their way in parliamentary life and have no political memory, for instance of the Rapport on Extraterritoriality.

As for Macron, as minister of economics, in 2014 he went against earlier government rulings by approving the GE purchase of Alstom. He does not appear eager to do anything to anger the United States.

However, there are some things that are so blatantly unfair that they cannot go on forever.

exiled off mainstreet > , July 29, 2017 at 4:40 am GMT

It looks like the rest of the world is going to have to bring down the economic yankee imperium or be destroyed themselves.

Randal > , July 29, 2017 at 9:01 am GMT

there are some things that are so blatantly unfair that they cannot go on forever.

LOL! Naïve, I think. As long as European countries (and the UK) are prepared to carry on acting as Washington's bitches, Washington will go on treating them as such.

The political, media and business elites need to be thoroughly cleansed of US apologists. That won't be easy, especially when Europe and the UK are in the grip of an ideologically anti-nationalist culture that is essentially treasonous and utterly lacking in national self-respect.

Ending NATO and suppressing the US-backed anti-Russian propaganda that keeps Europe and the UK subordinate would be the bare minimum first steps, along with cooperating with China and Russia to promote and use financial systems independent of the dollar.

or even by simply trading in dollars, which is something that no large international enterprise can avoid

The countries that are regularly targeted for US bullying are building structures that avoid vulnerability. European countries and the UK need to join with them in doing so (though it's unlikely they will be trusted very far given their track records of collaboration with Washington).

Also companies that decline to deal in the US market should be protected and supported, on national security grounds. It should be straightforwardly illegal in all sovereign countries for the US to try to impose its laws on any company merely for dealing in dollars, and the US should be held directly responsible when its courts seek to do so. US extraterritoriality has always been a gross intrusion into and threat to national sovereignty.

In 2014, France's leading bank, BNP-Paribas, agreed to pay a whopping fine of nearly nine billion dollars, basically for having used dollar transfers in deals with countries under U.S. sanctions.

Ideally this kind of extortion will be to some extent counterbalanced by retaliatory extractions from US business assets such as Google and Facebook.

entering into the obscure "plea bargain" culture of the U.S. judicial system, unfamiliar to Europeans. Just like the poor wretch accused of robbing a convenience store, the lawyers urge the huge European enterprises to plea guilty in order to escape much worse consequences

The US plea bargain system is a disgrace to any kind of concept of justice and basically means that no US confessions or guilty pleas can be regarded as meaningful, and nor should any sovereign country agree to extradition of its own citizens to the US. It is basically a system of organised blackmail, coerced confessions and corruption of witnesses.

El Dato > , July 29, 2017 at 9:24 am GMT

Well, Europe could consider all of these payouts to the US as "reparations for Nazi atrocities". This will make it go down easier, after all who wouldn't want to enslave himself to Yankees to repair Nazi atrocities?

Meanwhile, self-flaggelation goes on

Anonymous, July 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm GMT

Western European allies?

Nice choice of words, but fiction-supporting. Under-surerainty would be a better fit.

[Jul 28, 2017] The new sanctions expose that the US political establishment, spearheaded by the intelligence agencies is opposed to any shift away from the anti-Russia policy developed under the Obama administration.

Notable quotes:
"... The near-unanimous vote in both houses of Congress (all "no" votes in the House were from Republicans) testifies to the degree to which the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies directly control the institutions of the state and the personnel that compose them."*** ..."
"... By far the new U.S. bill place the most distressing question mark on the pipeline to northern Europe known as Nord Stream II. Five of Europe's biggest energy companies are all signed on to partner Gazprom in pumping gas westwards. ..."
"... "The Europeans intensely dislike U.S. extraterritoriality, and this will widen the breach between the EU and U.S.," Sir Lyne says. "For the Russians, that is a silver lining." ..."
"... All the Europeans need do is tell Uncle Sam to go fuck himself with his sanctions That will pull the rug out from under the American psychos behind the rabid sanction lunacy ..."
"... American politicians are also under the bizarre delusion that they can replace Russia's piped gas with LNG exports. This delusion is something else. America imports natural gas! It would have to take a major consumption hit, thereby driving up prices since demand will remain, to supply the EU with 150+ billion cubic meters of gas per year that currently comes from Russia. The USA consumed about 780 bcm of gas in 2016. It does not have a spare 150 bcm to sell. ..."
"... As I alluded yesterday, the USA has staked out a position from which it cannot back away, one which is of surpassing stupidity, because it has accustomed itself to being obeyed and fancies itself such a clever manipulator that it will always get its way. It is critical now that Europe actually stand together and speak with one voice; otherwise, America will begin probing for lack of resolve and unlimbering its divide-and-conquer game. ..."
"... It will also be pretty funny if Russia struggled and pleaded and accepted all manner of small-minded insults just to get into the World Trade Organization, only to see it collapse only a few years later. Because I'm pretty sure what America is trying to pull off here is in gross violation of WTO rules as well. ..."
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Northern Star , July 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/26/pers-j26.html

"The new sanctions expose the essential issues behind the "election hacking" campaign of the US media and political establishment, spearheaded by the intelligence agencies that are opposed to any shift away from the anti-Russia policy developed under the Obama administration.

**** The near-unanimous vote in both houses of Congress (all "no" votes in the House were from Republicans) testifies to the degree to which the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies directly control the institutions of the state and the personnel that compose them."***

Northern Star , July 26, 2017 at 9:53 am
http://www.newsweek.com/how-do-sanctions-work-new-us-bill-targets-russia-and-europe-nervous-642136

"One key question now is how Europe will react," Sir Lyne says. "Over Ukraine, the US and EU marched in step. That is not the case now; and the new bill has the potential to make Europe pay a much higher price than the US."

The EU has never been more dependent on Russian gas, according to Bloomberg, as Russia's state-run gas monopoly Gazprom now pumps over a third (34 percent) of Russia's gas. At present, Gazprom has put the kibosh on one pipeline to the EU, known as South Stream but agreed one that will bring gas on the EU's borders, to Turkey.

By far the new U.S. bill place the most distressing question mark on the pipeline to northern Europe known as Nord Stream II. Five of Europe's biggest energy companies are all signed on to partner Gazprom in pumping gas westwards.

Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, Austria's OMV, France's Engie and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall have agreed to work with Gazprom on the pipeline, collectively covering around half of the nearly $11 billion cost.

The European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker warned Wednesday that Brussels needs to act "within days" if the U.S. does provide Europe with reassurance that the sanctions will not jeopardize EU interests. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity told European news site EUobserver, that the European companies would likely not be punished by the U.S. as part of the sanctions but called the situation a "risk" regardless.

"The Europeans intensely dislike U.S. extraterritoriality, and this will widen the breach between the EU and U.S.," Sir Lyne says. "For the Russians, that is a silver lining."

All the europeans need do is tell Uncle Sam to go fuck himself with his sanctions That will pull the rug out from under the American psychos behind the rabid sanction lunacy

marknesop , July 26, 2017 at 6:31 pm
All the Europeans need do is tell Uncle Sam to go fuck himself with his sanctions That will pull the rug out from under the American psychos behind the rabid sanction lunacy

Of course that is not going to happen, at least not publicly – there will be no outward sign of European rebellion, because that would be 'playing into Putin's hands', and the European elite still loathes Putin enough to not want to be seen doing that. At the same time, Uncle Sam does not want to back down, and an arrangement – even secret – that America would not apply the sanctions to European companies would completely nullify their effect. European companies would simply ignore them and carry on with their plans. So the possibility they might be invoked has to stay, with all the attendant fury that is likely to cause. Juicy as a mango, I think. Official America has been a bully for so long that it's the only problem-solving approach it remembers.

The question that keeps nagging at the corner of my mind, though, is "What if the USA were successful at stopping the construction of Nord Stream II and Russia ceased transit through Ukraine anyway?" After all, this whole effort is focused on forcing Russia to continue transiting a big part of Europe's gas supplies through Ukraine, both to keep Ukraine viable by forcing Russia to engage with it despite its objectionable ideological government, and to keep Ukraine as a bargaining chip to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier.

Washington's assumption is that Russia will continue to transit gas through Ukraine if its alternatives are removed – after all, it's just a big gas station, and it can't live without its gas sales to Europe. But what if, once again, Washington guessed wrong? If I were running Russia – let's pretend, because I'm not – I would orchestrate a series of 'rebel' sabotage attacks on Naftogaz's pipeline network, blowing up substantial parts of it, and then use that as a reason to cease transit of gas through the line: it's just not safe. I would then maximize transit through existing pipelines except Ukraine, perhaps accelerating the completion of Turkish Stream, and publicly and loudly blame any shortfall on American meddling – if Nord Stream had been twinned, you wouldn't have this problem. If it were managed correctly and everything went according to plan, I think it would resonate.

Also, Russia has reduced its dependence on energy exports. It might be worth it to allow a scenario in which Washington got the opportunity to make up for Russian shortfalls, because it would be a complete failure – the export capability is just not there, and if they redoubled their efforts they would lose money like crazy because they could not do it for Russia's prices. Either they would flop at the delivery end, or the Europeans would squeal like pigs because their gas rates went out of sight, or Uncle Sam would take a bath on American exports. Those are the only possible scenarios, it should be emphasized.

kirill , July 26, 2017 at 7:01 pm
We have clear evidence that the politicians in the USA do not have a grip on Russia's economy and exports dependence. By 2019 Russia will have a massive gas pipeline to China. Gas for this pipeline has to come from somewhere and filling it up with Banderastan transit gas would be a good start to put the USA and its EU colony in its place. According to the most recent Awara Group report, the fraction of oil and gas industry in Russia is down to 8% of GDP. Not only is Russia not dependent on oil and gas for its GDP, it will lose nothing by shifting supply away from the EU.

American politicians are also under the bizarre delusion that they can replace Russia's piped gas with LNG exports. This delusion is something else. America imports natural gas! It would have to take a major consumption hit, thereby driving up prices since demand will remain, to supply the EU with 150+ billion cubic meters of gas per year that currently comes from Russia. The USA consumed about 780 bcm of gas in 2016. It does not have a spare 150 bcm to sell.

Northern Star , July 27, 2017 at 11:20 am
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/27/euro-j27.html

"The European powers reacted sharply yesterday to the US House of Representatives' passage of a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, indicating that it was unacceptable to European interests and that the European Union (EU) was preparing retaliatory measures."

"Angry commentary over the sanctions bill in the German press underscore that influential forces in the German ruling class see the sanctions bill as yet further evidence of hostile US intent towards Germany and Europe.
"What is particularly dangerous is that supporters of Russia sanctions in Washington are not only trying to put Putin and Trump in the same bag, but also helping the US economy against foreign competition," wrote the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Under the bill, the daily added, "Europeans would be forced to burn less Russian natural gas and more American liquefied natural gas. This is an unfriendly act, especially against Germany."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that, "with all due respect for the Senate and its ambition to tie President Donald Trump's hands on Russia policy, the draft law is unacceptable from a European perspective. First, it breaks the diplomatic alliance between Europe and the United States in deciding on sanctions against Russia. The argument that America is promoting Europe's energy security is also quite insolent. That is Europe's responsibility. This is how you lose friends."

The question that is emerging is whether the US-EU military rivalry and bitter trade conflicts will now coalesce and escalate into a catastrophic breakdown in US-EU relations!in the form of a trade war that would bring the world economy to its knees, or of outright military conflict."

Hmmm .So the RWETA is born.. Russia &Western EuropeTrade Allliance

marknesop , July 27, 2017 at 5:37 pm
Why make it more complicated than it is? The French are in the lead for once – such sanctions are a violation of international law. Consequently no other nations are obligated to abide by them. If America levied a massive fine against BASF Wintershall, and that company simply ignored it, what would America do? Start booting out German companies in the USA? Melt BMW's and pour them down the drains in the street?

As I alluded yesterday, the USA has staked out a position from which it cannot back away, one which is of surpassing stupidity, because it has accustomed itself to being obeyed and fancies itself such a clever manipulator that it will always get its way. It is critical now that Europe actually stand together and speak with one voice; otherwise, America will begin probing for lack of resolve and unlimbering its divide-and-conquer game.

The really funny part in this, from my viewpoint, is the way the Europeans blame Trump and his presidency. Granted, he did frame the 'America first' policy, but that's just a convenient handle for the angry Europeans to grab. Trump entered office with the declared intention of mending the damaged relationship with Russia, and it was the Democrats who created an hysterical firestorm of accusation that Russia had greased Trump's way into office. It has been ideologues outside Trump's circle who crafted the sanctions legislation with a view to preventing him from lifting the sanctions under his own recognizance.

It will also be pretty funny if Russia struggled and pleaded and accepted all manner of small-minded insults just to get into the World Trade Organization, only to see it collapse only a few years later. Because I'm pretty sure what America is trying to pull off here is in gross violation of WTO rules as well.

[Jul 07, 2017] The Power of Siberia gas pipeline, the first to connect Russia and China, will start pumping in December 2019, Gazprom said on Tuesday

Jul 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , July 7, 2017 at 8:30 am
Oh, looky here! De Bong didn't feel the need to do any current research:

July 6

Financial Crimes: Gazprom confident of $400bn Chinese gas supply
https://www.ft.com/content/623c7396-60cc-11e7-91a7-502f7ee26895

State-owned gas monopoly ahead of schedule on politically important Siberian pipeline

The Power of Siberia gas pipeline, the first to connect Russia and China, will start pumping in December 2019, Gazprom said on Tuesday, paving the way for a 30-year supply agreement of more than 1.15tn cubic metres of gas for the Kremlin-controlled export monopoly

Mr Miller's affirmation is important. The project, which will cost Gazprom more than $55bn just to build the necessary infrastructure to get the gas flowing, is one of the most critical investments for Russia's energy sector, which has targeted a long-term strategic supply link with China to match its market penetration in Europe. ..

Power of Siberia is expected to run significantly below capacity in its first few years of operation, as China instead runs down its domestic gas reserves. The 30-year supply agreement is set to kick in around 2025 .
####

Plenty more at the link.

[Jul 07, 2017] Can quatar expand its natural gas export volumes?

Jul 07, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Jul 5, 2017 10:04:01 PM | 37

Here's last year's NatGas industrial review, so you can determine just how sane Qatar's move is. The link is to a modestly sized pdf file, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwit-fbqxPPUAhVSxmMKHRY1CyAQFggiMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.igu.org%2Fdownload%2Ffile%2Ffid%2F2123&usg=AFQjCNHNu-nmLpatVthD04g0UWtOuREDMw

The report's loaded with info. Production can certainly be increased, but it's all the other infrastructure that's required for the market to expand, particularly regasification terminals.

somebody | Jul 5, 2017 5:33:36 PM | 18

By the way, there is a LNG price war between Qatar and the United States .
Anonymous | Jul 5, 2017 6:14:36 PM | 22
The Saudis tried to make a public IPO of Aramco a while back. This has fizzled, probably in recognition of the fact that Saudi is almost running on empty. One reason behind the Qatar lunacy might be a wish to take over Qatar's resources to keep Saudi solvent for a while at least.
mauisurfer | Jul 5, 2017 7:33:04 PM | 30
interview with Chas Freeman last week: Qatar Crisis Could Lead to War: Veteran US Diplomat

if you don't know who Chas is, please wiki was ambassador to Saudi, was Nixon's interpreter in China, that's right, he speaks mandarin and arabic not just knowledgeable, also very funny remember when AIPAC vetoed his appointment by Obama?

https://lobelog.com/qatar-crisis-could-lead-to-war-veteran-us-diplomat/

more Chas here: http://chasfreeman.net/category/speeches/

Grieved | Jul 5, 2017 9:26:42 PM | 35
@18 somebody

Yes, that's exactly how that Reuters story reads to me too. The prime target is the US. Extraordinarily powerful move by Qatar, using a weapon that it knows and owns completely and in massive scale, and with an understanding of the damage it can do to its enemies. Asymmetrical warfare indeed. Priceless.

~~

I'm really hoping that over the years, as Qatar rubs shoulders with the multi-polar world, it will reform itself to renounce and atone for its former support of terrorism. As I watch its moves in this situation I'm struck with a certain admiration. It would be nice to be able to root for it someday as one of the good guys.

Noirette | Jul 6, 2017 1:48:27 PM | 50
Unless the Saudis can reconfigure their economy and train their populous to do actual work, their kingdom will sink ..
karlof1 at 1

This is impossible. Laguerre at 10. > see also response from karlof1 at 20.

The curse of black gold + a rentier economy coupled with an authoritarian repressive State that enslaves the 'people.' The two are often soldered: dominating class capts the profits and co-opts slave labor, and pays off citizens with 'stipends.' Escaping or changing such a template is imho incredibly difficult or impossible in the case of KSA.

The rentier class, aka Royals and hangers-on is several tens of thousands of ppl, not detailed on wiki. (Comp. with US not the 1%, but the 20%..) In fact it is one of the problems of such arrangements, some gang of 'hangers on' has to be appeased and maintained, they have quite some power. Because the 'authoritarian' schema deploys in a clear top-down, to down further, a fixed ladder - way, and once some lower layer is stiffed, objections and obstructions may fly and richochet to the top. For the system to endure, these HAVE to be appeased.

A power sharing scheme like this also mandates that women are kept from acting in any way. The easiest and cheapest way to control half the population, plus all children, ask the MB, the Taliban, KSA.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-26/saudi-arabia-cancels-bonus-payment-for-state-employees-spa-says

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39683592 (reverses pay cuts)

The crazed moves of the new Prince are vain attempts to escape the self-constructed trap. Floundering, flailing, about, considering that killing others, war, (e.g. Yemen), engaging in aggro (Qatar) might help - as that might please the USA, who encourages all aggro and sells arms, etc. Won't end well for KSA for sure all Internationals are wondering who will grab what when collapse it is.

[Jul 04, 2017] Why Ukranian economics now is flirting with disaster and why South Stream pipeline was derailed

fpif.org

Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe's energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options.

The readers and commenters of this blog will be well aware, since it has been a topic of discussion for years here, that a critical underpinning of the western plan to seize Ukraine and wrest it into the western orbit was the premise that Russia would be forced by simple momentum to go along with it. As long as events continued to unfold too quickly to get ahead of, Russia would have to help supply the sinews of its own destruction. And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine's transition to a powerful western fulcrum upon which to apply leverage against it, through continued trade with Ukraine and continued transit of Europe's energy supply through Ukraine's pipeline system.

But Russia slapped a trade embargo on most Ukrainian goods, and rescinded its tariff-free status as it became clear Brussels planned to use it to stovepipe European trade goods into the Russian market, through Ukraine – thus crushing domestic industries which would not be able to compete on economically-favorable terms. The armchair strategists nearly shit a brick when construction of the South Stream pipeline commenced, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of about $2 billion annually in transit fees. But pressure ultimately forced Bulgaria to throw a wrench into the works, and the pipeline plans were shelved, to much victory dancing in the west. There was not quite as much happy-dancing in Bulgaria , but they were only ever a pawn anyway.

Sidebar for a moment, here; while the $2 Billion annually in transit fees is extremely important, Ukraine's pre-crisis GDP was $163 Billion. The funds realized for transit fees are important because (a) Russia has to pay them and (b) the west will have to come up with the equivalent in aid if Ukraine loses out on them. But the real value intrinsic to Ukraine as a transit country is its physical reality as an interface for Russian gas transit to Europe – what is a bridge can be easily turned into a wall. Any time Washington thinks Russia needs some more shit on its face, Ukraine can be prodded to announce a doubling of its transit fees, or to kick off some other dispute which the popular press will adroitly spin to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier. Therefore, it is essential to western strategy that significant amounts of Russian gas continue to transit Ukraine. Sufficiently so that Europe continues to evolve ever-more-desperate contingency plans in order to keep receiving gas through the country which was known to have provoked the previous shutoff of European supplies by siphoning Europe-bound gas for its own use. That's despite the assurances of Germany and western partners of Gazprom in the Nord Stream line that it will mean cheaper gas prices for Europe.

[Jun 27, 2017] The USA is sucessfully sabotaging Russian and try to secure its own shipping LNG to europe while Russia do not have alternative consumers comparable to EU, althout China and India shipments will grow dramatically

Notable quotes:
"... icebreaking LNG Carrier ..."
"... Yamal is projected to double Russia's share of the growing global LNG market by the time it reaches full capacity of 16.5m tonnes a year - equivalent to more than 80 per cent of China's annual demand - by 2021. Construction is three-quarters complete and production from the first phase of the project is due to commence by the end of this year. ..."
"... More than 95 per cent of Yamal's expected output has already been sold through 15 to 20 year contracts, with customers mostly in Asia and Europe. ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 23, 2017 at 11:55 am
https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-launches-deep-water-phase-turkstream-gas-pipeline-143410466.html

One of the best comment people on Yahoo:

"oldgeekMA 2 hours ago

Truth is Russia has been looking for an excuse to get out of the business of Shipping Natural Gas to the West and the South, altogether and these US Sanctions and EU Complaints about Gazprom Pipeline Construction, may just be the out they have been looking for. In Jan 2016, Russia completed 7 Massive High-Pressure Gas Pipelines, 2 to India and 5 to China. The ones to India make 4 total Gas Lines to India, but the 5 to China are the first time China, has had access to Russian Natural Gas. The contracts India and China signed with Gazprom are 50 years, and the price of NG starts at more than double the highest rate Gazprom charges in Europe, the icing on the cake however is that the currency is not US Paper Promissory Notes(Petro Dollars), but Gold Bullion. At full capacity those pipelines can use every single NG resource Gazprom, has at the present time, and all future NG resources. So, Gazprom would be foolish not to want to cut all off its Western and Southern pipelines off, and divert Maximum Flow East. In addition to these NG Pipelines, there are Crude Oil and Diesel pipelines under construction, going to China and India – Completion date scheduled for between November 2017 and January 2018. Chinese and Indian Construction Crews completed their internal distribution pipeline networks in 2016, and have 7 Oil Refineries in various stages of completion. -– All American III Percenter and Combat Disabled US Veteran"

Now..remind me what was this stuff about 'Murica shipping LNG to europe???
LOL!!!!

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

marknesop , June 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm
That would indeed be delightful if there were even the whiff of truth about it; but, unfortunately, there is not. Europe is still Russia's most important gas market by far. Numbers on the Russia-China gas deal are hard to come by and reporters who quote the price China will pay are just guessing because nobody has officially disclosed that figure and will not; it is strictly confidential.

However, the China-vs-EU figures are not even close; starting next year, Russia will export 30-38 BcM annually to China, and that might go as high as double as the agreement evolves. So, say 65 BcM annually, in a couple of years. That's still far less than half what Gazprom exports annually to Europe – 178.3 BcM in 2016, a significant jump over the previous year's 158.6 BcM.

Moreover, nearly all the increases in the past decade have been to imports by western Europe. Despite all the preaching in the media, the only countries which seem to be seriously trying to wean themselves off of Russian gas – with little to limited success, it must be said – are eastern European countries. One of the biggest yappers in the west is the UK but the UK went from zero imports of Russian gas in 2003 to the fourth-biggest European importer in 2013 .

That little quick-reference pocket guide is actually chock-full of useful facts which you can whip out and quote whenever some pea-brained bucket-mouthed know-nothing is trying to blizzard you with blue-sky bullshit. Here's a few:

1. All the blather and angst about reducing Europe's dependency on Russian gas imports conveniently ignores one buzzing fly in the ointment – long-term contracts. Of 178.6 BcM imported by Europe in 2013, 166 BcM of it was under 30-year contracts. By far the most of it. And you know what would happen if the EU broke a contract in order to reduce its imports, even if it could practically do so under conditions in which domestic sources of supply are rapidly drying up, which it can't. Also, contract supplies are by definition sanctions-exempt.

2. Home-grown Shale gas is not going to ride to the rescue. Even if Europe could tap supplies which are not sour with so much nitrogen that you can't even burn it, in order to reach shale gas supplies of only 28 BcM annually Europe would have to drill 800-1000 new wells every year for 10 years. Let's see that spun as fiscally viable, or sensible in any way, shape or form.

3. Blabber about the Southern Gas Corridor was always nothing more than that – supplies from Azerbaijan to Europe were never expected to total more than 30 BcM, about what Russia expects to export to China starting in 2018, and it would have taken until 2030 to reach that capacity.

4. LNG actually holds the best promise of undercutting Russian supply, and Europe's regassification terminals actually could handle more than the combined total of Russian imports now; 200 BcM. But LNG supplies to Europe depend entirely on whether they can be profitable, and all current objective studies find that Russia can keep LNG away as long as it likes, simply by consistently pricing its pipeline supplies lower than LNG. Given what it would cost Uncle Sam to get his supplies to market, Gazprom can still easily do that and turn a handsome profit.

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

Cortes , June 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Japanese need to diversify energy imports to benefit RF?

http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/22/japan-regards-russia-as-a-reliable-hydrocarbons-exporter/

et Al , June 24, 2017 at 11:25 am
I thought there was a plan to pipeline NG from Nakhoda to Japan? What happened to that, or was it simply to be an LNG terminal but got shifted?
marknesop , June 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm
I'm glad you brought that up; quite apart from the very interesting information contained in the article itself, it is a springboard to a larger discussion – is Russia equally committed to reducing its dependency on European pipelines as the Europeans are? Some say yes: Russia's $27 Billion icebreaking LNG Carrier project is an eye-opener which has been more or less entirely left out of energy discussions. And its target market is Asia .

Yamal is projected to double Russia's share of the growing global LNG market by the time it reaches full capacity of 16.5m tonnes a year - equivalent to more than 80 per cent of China's annual demand - by 2021. Construction is three-quarters complete and production from the first phase of the project is due to commence by the end of this year.

More than 95 per cent of Yamal's expected output has already been sold through 15 to 20 year contracts, with customers mostly in Asia and Europe.

et Al , June 25, 2017 at 8:04 am
That's hardcore! Thanks Mark. So the Chinese stepped in to take up the slack created by US sanctions against Timchenko's Novatek part of the project. Another US epic fail.

It's curious that the West's interpretation of 'globalization' hasn't turned out as expected. They saw it as western globo-corporations buying in around the world, but globalization has naturally progressed as 'multi-polarization' of global power, away from the US & the West's dominance. The Chinese stepping in is a perfect example. It shows that Russia has real options which it is building and if needs be, at some point in the future, tell the 'No thanks!'.

[Jun 25, 2017] Capturing world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy

Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. is on track to produce 10 million barrels of oil per day on average next year, according to a forecast from the Energy Information Administration -- a milestone that would shatter a record set in 1970. ..."
"... Although "dominance" may be hyperbole in that context as well -- given totals that exporters such as Qatar are achieving -- capturing world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy. Ukraine, the nonsense about Russian interference in US elections, and the new Senate sanctions against European companies working with Russia on the Baltic Sea pipeline are three cases in point. ..."
Jun 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
likklemore | Jun 25, 2017 4:57:18 PM | 48

It's All About Oil and Gas and here is Trump a -twittering:

Bloomberg: Trump to Call for U.S. 'Dominance' in Global Energy Production

Link

Trump is set to deliver a speech at the Energy Department on Thursday focused almost entirely on energy exports -- describing how the foreign sale of U.S. natural gas, oil and coal helps strengthen the country's influence globally, bolster international alliances, and help stabilize global markets. Energy Secretary Rick Perry may touch on similar themes when he speaks Tuesday with analysts and executives at the U.S. Energy Information Administration conference in Washington.[..]

Ironically, some of Trump's policies could exacerbate the market challenges facing oil, gas and coal, by spurring more domestic production at a time when a supply glut is already suppressing prices.

The U.S. is on track to produce 10 million barrels of oil per day on average next year, according to a forecast from the Energy Information Administration -- a milestone that would shatter a record set in 1970.

'Dominance' Sought

Trump's theme of "energy dominance" marks an evolution. For years, the catch phrase of choice has been "energy independence," as politicians and industry officials sought to highlight how a new era of abundance was helping the U.S. wean itself from foreign sources of oil and natural gas.

That was in turn a dramatic change from the 1970s, when former President Jimmy Carter turned down the White House thermostats and used a televised address in February 1977 to urge consumers to conserve energy amid a permanent "shortage." After that, federal energy policy became rooted in the view that oil and gas were in short supply.[.]

"Trump is reorienting our national rhetoric toward 'dominance,'" said Kevin Book, analyst with ClearView Energy Partners LLC. "Captives crave independence; competitors strive to dominate. It's a shift from getting by to getting ahead."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Reminds of the old song – "Dream, dream, dream"

Forecast is 10 million bbls per day 2018 and we are proposing dominance in global energy production!! What a twit.

Are the bf Saudis not afraid? Iran, Russia?

somebody | Jun 25, 2017 5:21:44 PM | 49
48) Yep, it is funny. According to above quoted US Energy Information administration the US consumed 19.68 million barrels of petroleum products per day in 2016.
Berry Friesen | Jun 25, 2017 6:27:06 PM | 51

48 & 49:

Mainly the reference to "dominance" applies to liquefied natural gas. Comparing LNG exports during the first 3 months of 2015 with the first 3 months of 2017 shows an increase by a factor of 30.

Although "dominance" may be hyperbole in that context as well -- given totals that exporters such as Qatar are achieving -- capturing world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy. Ukraine, the nonsense about Russian interference in US elections, and the new Senate sanctions against European companies working with Russia on the Baltic Sea pipeline are three cases in point.

likklemore | Jun 25, 2017 7:06:09 PM | 53

Thank you somebody @ 49 for the added input.

@ 51 Berry Friesen

Mainly the reference to "dominance" applies to liquified natural gas. Comparing LNG exports during the first 3 months of 2015 with the first 3 months of 2017 shows an increase by a factor of 30.

.[capturing] world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy.

My comment was it's on someone's wish list and dreaming on.

Do you have any idea the cost to set up LNG terminals and cost to transport from US to global - for starters, to compete with Russia, Iran, Qatar and others in the EU and Asian markets?

Pricing a factor: It's gone cold. The oil price crash has eliminated the discount U.S. LNG has to world prices

jfl | Jun 25, 2017 8:03:55 PM | 54

@53 lm

from your bloomberg link ...

Now spot LNG in Asia has fallen to just $5.95, while Pertamina would pay $6.86 for its U.S. LNG even before shipping it halfway across the world.
geostrategy ... if ya gotta ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

Brad | Jun 25, 2017 8:33:14 PM | 55

@53
http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/qatar-lifts-development-moratorium-on-worlds-biggest-gas-field

somebody | Jun 25, 2017 9:47:57 PM | 58

53 add Germany and Austria

Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern (SPÖ) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) commented as follows today (15 June) on the approval by the United States Senate of legislation regarding sanctions against Russia:

...

It is in the common interest of the EU and the US to take resolute and unified action with a view to resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

We cannot, however, accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions being imposed on European companies that are participating in efforts to expand Europe's energy supply network!

The draft bill of the US is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market. The bill aims to protect US jobs in the natural gas and petroleum industries.

Political sanctions should not in any way be tied to economic interests. Threatening to impose penalties on companies in Germany, Austria and other European countries with regard to their business in the United States if they participate in, or fund, natural gas projects involving Russia, such as Nord Stream 2, impacts European-American relations in a new and very negative way. This is about the competitiveness of our energy-intensive industries, and about thousands of jobs. We therefore strongly support the efforts of the US Department of State to amend this draft bill.

[Jun 25, 2017] The story about about the legendary Qatari pipeline is probably British fake

Notable quotes:
"... A pipeline through Syria would have been a great boost to national economy for a number of years & could raise a port of the country to one of global importance, just at a time that Turkey started turning the spigot of Euphrates off ..."
"... Consider that Qatar would have been a captive ally for Syria, a commodity rather in short supply for that country. The best part of it is, perhaps, that Syria presumably had a natural aversion to the transit fees. ..."
"... There is another interesting story in this regard, which is to do with (at least) three rounds of exploration for gas in Saudi Arabia, all failed, and the special need for gas to service its petrochemical industry. If memory serves, the reason is they want to upgrade the heavy crude portion of their production, which has steadily been growing, and which the Saudis might have to sell as bunker oil at great discount, if they fail to find gas. ..."
"... the Qataris were told in no uncertain terms that their gas 'had to remain in the peninsula' (Arabian subcontinent) for consumption, to serve the oil sector. ..."
"... If this is right (honestly, I do not know), it might explain quite a bit about the rivalries of the extremist Moslem clergy, and their activities both within the Moslem world and abroad, why not, even developments in Europe & the States. ..."
Jun 25, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

atVec | Jun 23, 2017 10:14:39 PM 52

|Jen@31 writes about the legendary Qatari pipeline. That story made its appearance early in the conflict, and if anybody knows its origin, I would be keen to be let know.
That story goes that Assad would not let Qatar have its pipeline because, presumably, Russians wanted to retain their stranglehold on European gas supplies.

The subtext is that those Russians must be very hard task masters and Assad, the lowliest of low lives, a terrified thug. And when the troubles started, Assad did not go back to the Qataris to discuss the matter over.

Sorry, I cannot square that.

A pipeline through Syria would have been a great boost to national economy for a number of years & could raise a port of the country to one of global importance, just at a time that Turkey started turning the spigot of Euphrates off (this is a sense I have, do not know if it is right) & a protracted drought and economic hardship all hit the country at the same time.

Consider that Qatar would have been a captive ally for Syria, a commodity rather in short supply for that country. The best part of it is, perhaps, that Syria presumably had a natural aversion to the transit fees.

There is another interesting story in this regard, which is to do with (at least) three rounds of exploration for gas in Saudi Arabia, all failed, and the special need for gas to service its petrochemical industry. If memory serves, the reason is they want to upgrade the heavy crude portion of their production, which has steadily been growing, and which the Saudis might have to sell as bunker oil at great discount, if they fail to find gas.

The story was run in the English papers of the Gulf circa 2012, whereby the Qataris were told in no uncertain terms that their gas 'had to remain in the peninsula' (Arabian subcontinent) for consumption, to serve the oil sector.

Once I chanced on an article on the educational proclivities of the thousands of the Saudi princes. Any guess? Yes, a good portion of them goes in for religious studies! Somehow I do not think they aspire to be lowly priests; but if not, where might they wish to have their sees? What if the other principalities of the Gulf have nobilities with similar outlooks & hopes?

If this is right (honestly, I do not know), it might explain quite a bit about the rivalries of the extremist Moslem clergy, and their activities both within the Moslem world and abroad, why not, even developments in Europe & the States.

Regards, Vec.

Lozion | Jun 23, 2017 10:24:34 PM | 53

@36 & @31 I think you are both right. The Pipelinistan angle is a major part of this feud.

A probable change of heart from Qatar who has seen the light that no regime change will happen in Syria therefore making a Fars --> Iraq --> Syria -> Lebanon LNG pipeline a realistic endeavor is causing panic in KSA/US/IS who are trying to pressure Qatar to back-off from any deals with Iran..

If Turkey is firm on protecting Qatar then the ultimatum will come to pass and be null and void..

Don Bass | Jun 24, 2017 1:34:34 AM | 57

@ Vic

Y'know, when I read a comment such as yours: "~ I don't reckon its got anything to do with a pipeline ~" I immediately think of that old trope: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubts"

Vic: instead of visiting here to blatantly display your ignorance, how about more usefully spending that typing time to research the topic, hmmm?

The Imperial drive to crush Syria has been in play since the early 1980s, when Assad senior was in power.

Here's a link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/1983-cia-document-reveals-plan-to-destroy-syria-foreshadows-current-crisis/5577785

And another http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/07/57-years-ago-u-s-britain-approved-use-islamic-extremists-topple-syrian-government.html

And another http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

And here's your bonus link, cause I'm feeling the karma burst of sharing http://humansarefree.com/2014/09/exposing-covert-origins-of-isis.html

Now, go and do your homework: you may be able to raise your F to a C, for a pass grade, once you've done some actual reading on the topic.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Saudi-Qatar spat - the reconciliation offer to be refused>. Qater will move closer to Turkey

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate Qatar was clearly instigated during US President Trump's recent visit in Riyadh where he pushed the unfortunate idea of a Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to oppose Iranian influence in the region. ..."
"... Moreover, Qatar was acting increasingly independent of the heavy Wahhabite hand of Saudi Arabia and threatening Saudi domination over the Gulf States. Kuwait, Oman, as well as non-Gulf Turkey were coming closer to Qatar and even Pakistan now may think twice about joining a Saudi-led "Arab NATO". Bin Salman has proven a disaster as a defense strategist, as proven in the Yemen debacle. ..."
"... Kuwait and Oman are urgently trying to get Saudi to backdown on this, but that is unlikely as behind Saudi Arabia stands the US and promises of tens of billions of dollars in US arms. ..."
"... This foolish US move to use their proxy, in this case Riyadh, to discipline those not "behaving" according to Washington wishes, could well be the turning point, the point of collapse of US remaining influence in the entire Middle East in the next several years." ..."
"... KSA could not have taken this course of action all by itself. Someone somewhere must be egging them on. But who? The US seems to have no interest in a Saudi-Qatari conflict. Israel might, but only if said conflict is resolved in Saudi favor. ..."
"... I am therefore coming to the conclusion that there is no longer clear leadership of US policy and there are different factions within the US government. The white house and CIA are supporting the Saudis while the Pentagon supports Qatar. This is just a hunch, but it seems like it could make sense. Perhaps this is what happens when a government is in a state of decompensation. ..."
"... It is mind boggling that a fundamental reshaping of the Middle East was most likely put in motion by Trump completely oblivious of what he was doing shooting from the hip on his Saudi trip. ..."
"... Outside of an outright invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, it is hard to see this as a once in a life time geopolitical gift to Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. ..."
"... Now when July 3 comes and goes, Saudi Arabia will look completely impotent in the eyes of the countries in the region. ..."
"... Gaddafi's speech to the Arab League in Syria 2008 was so prescient ..."
"... "We [the Arabs] are the enemies of one another I'm sad to say, we deceive one another, we gloat at the misfortune of one another, and we conspire against one another, and an Arab's enemy is another Arab's friend. ..."
"... I quite like the WWI parallel. Trump as Kaiser Wilhelm? There certainly are some striking similarities in character. ..."
"... "...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,-technology, industry, science -- but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success, -- as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday-romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother." ..."
"... It also stands to reason if you simply consider Saudi's importance regionally: A lot is made of Iran's threat to Saudi influence, but Turkey - thanks in part to considerable investment by Qatar currently while investment from elsewhere has reduced massively -- is also very threatening to Saudi's influence, especially on the religious front. ..."
"... Iran representing Shia interests in the region and Turkey representing Sunni interests is not a difficult future to imagine. It would of course grate with Saudi Arabia given that it had poured vast amounts of money into the Turkish economy and the diyanet. ..."
"... Hassan Nasrallah has given his annual International Al-Quds Day speech with plenty of fire aimed at the usual suspects. The Daily Star reports: 'Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region. ..."
"... Actually, I hope for many more benefits will show up from this quarrel than improved profits for Iranian produce growers. It is worthwhile to observe that Dubai, a component emirate of UAE, has gigantic economic links with Iran, which must be tolerated by overlords from Abu Dhabi: they had to bail out their cousins after real estate collapse, so they have big money stake in Dubai being prosperous. Potentially, Dubai and especially the hapless vegetable and dairy producers in KSA can lose a bundle (the latter had to invest a lot in farms for Qatari market, it is not like letting cows graze on abundant grasslands plus planting cucumbers and waiting for the rain to water them). Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood are more irritating to KSA and UAE than an occasional polite missive to Iran. ..."
"... Qatar opened the Middle East's first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan on Tuesday, saying it would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies. ..."
"... The only hope for Saudi Arabia is to re-denominate oil sales in multiple currencies such as the WTO drawing rights, of course based on another formula, perhaps based on the countries that purchase the most oil. This would be the only way for the royalty to gain longevity as rulers of the country. Any other scenario spells disaster. ..."
Jun 23, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft | Jun 23, 2017 8:43:28 PM | 45
William Engdahls views. "In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate Qatar was clearly instigated during US President Trump's recent visit in Riyadh where he pushed the unfortunate idea of a Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to oppose Iranian influence in the region.

The Saudi move, clearly instigated by Prince Bin Salman, Minister of Defense, was not about going against terrorism. If it were about terrorism, bin Salman would have to arrest himself and most of his Saudi cabinet as one of the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, and shut all Saudi-financed madrasses around the world, from Pakistan to Bosnia-Herzgovina to Kosovo. Another factor according to informed sources in Holland is that Washington wanted to punish Qatar for seeking natural gas sales with China priced not in US dollars but in Renminbi. That apparently alarmed Washington, as Qatar is the world's largest LNG exporter and most to Asia.

Moreover, Qatar was acting increasingly independent of the heavy Wahhabite hand of Saudi Arabia and threatening Saudi domination over the Gulf States. Kuwait, Oman, as well as non-Gulf Turkey were coming closer to Qatar and even Pakistan now may think twice about joining a Saudi-led "Arab NATO". Bin Salman has proven a disaster as a defense strategist, as proven in the Yemen debacle.

As to the future, it appears that Qatar is not about to rollover and surrender in face of Saudi actions. Already Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is moving to establish closer ties with Iran, with Turkey that might include Turkish military support, and most recently with Russia.

Kuwait and Oman are urgently trying to get Saudi to backdown on this, but that is unlikely as behind Saudi Arabia stands the US and promises of tens of billions of dollars in US arms.

This foolish US move to use their proxy, in this case Riyadh, to discipline those not "behaving" according to Washington wishes, could well be the turning point, the point of collapse of US remaining influence in the entire Middle East in the next several years."

lysander | Jun 23, 2017 7:43:17 PM | 42
KSA could not have taken this course of action all by itself. Someone somewhere must be egging them on. But who? The US seems to have no interest in a Saudi-Qatari conflict. Israel might, but only if said conflict is resolved in Saudi favor.

I am therefore coming to the conclusion that there is no longer clear leadership of US policy and there are different factions within the US government. The white house and CIA are supporting the Saudis while the Pentagon supports Qatar. This is just a hunch, but it seems like it could make sense. Perhaps this is what happens when a government is in a state of decompensation.

R Winner | Jun 23, 2017 1:41:04 PM | 4

It is mind boggling that a fundamental reshaping of the Middle East was most likely put in motion by Trump completely oblivious of what he was doing shooting from the hip on his Saudi trip.

Outside of an outright invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, it is hard to see this as a once in a life time geopolitical gift to Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

Juggs | Jun 23, 2017 2:24:33 PM | 9
Now when July 3 comes and goes, Saudi Arabia will look completely impotent in the eyes of the countries in the region.

I wonder if there is some sort of interest between Russia, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran on a coup in Saudi Arabia. I can't imagine it would be that difficult. I know it is not Putin's policy to play these types of games like the US Regime, but one has to assume that people are just fucking done with the clowns running Saudi Arabia.

harrylaw | Jun 23, 2017 2:36:39 PM | 10
Gaddafi's speech to the Arab League in Syria 2008 was so prescient..

"We [the Arabs] are the enemies of one another I'm sad to say, we deceive one another, we gloat at the misfortune of one another, and we conspire against one another, and an Arab's enemy is another Arab's friend.

Along comes a foreign power, occupies an Arab country [Iraq] and hangs its President,and we all sit on the sidelines laughing. Any one of you might be next, yes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZZvPlGCt_8

okie farmer | Jun 23, 2017 2:37:39 PM | 11
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/23/close-al-jazeera-saudi-arabia-issues-qatar-with-13-demands-to-end-blockade
Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia
Gulf dispute deepens as allies issue ultimatum for ending blockade that includes closing al-Jazeera and cutting back ties with Iran
Juggs | Jun 23, 2017 2:41:55 PM | 13
Peter AU "Is Qatar, like Turkey, already heading for a multi-polar world? For 25 years, the US was the only game in town, but with Russia's move into Syria there are now options."

Hard to see the world heading in that direction:

I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative now that it is openly moving into the Russia and Iran sphere.

karlof1 | Jun 23, 2017 3:06:36 PM | 16
Juggs 13--

"I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative..."

You'll find the answer's yes as Pepe explains, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201706161054701807-west-cannot-smell-what-eurasia-cooking/ and http://www.atimes.com/article/blood-tracks-new-silk-roads/

dh | Jun 23, 2017 3:20:35 PM | 19
@17 The best is yet to come. There's a chance Netanyahu will fly into Riyadh to tell everybody what to do. I'm sure he wants what's best for the region.
L'Akratique | Jun 23, 2017 3:29:54 PM | 20
I quite like the WWI parallel. Trump as Kaiser Wilhelm? There certainly are some striking similarities in character.

Quote from Thomas Nipperdey:

"...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,-technology, industry, science -- but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success, -- as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday-romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother."

cankles | Jun 23, 2017 4:05:49 PM | 25
@Laguerre #23
I have difficulty in seeing a relationship with the Silk Road Initiative, other than that Qatar exports a lot of LNG to China.

China Eyes Qatar in its Quest to Build a New Silk Road

Last month at the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Doha, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi postulated that Qatar should take part in the realization of China's Silk Road Initiatives.
Laguerre | Jun 23, 2017 4:42:05 PM | 27
@cankles | Jun 23, 2017 4:05:49 PM | 25

Yeah, you're right. I hadn't looked into the question sufficiently. Of course the Chinese are looking for more external finance for the project. They don't want to be the only ones who pay. Fat chance, though. The Qataris have been in austerity since the decline in the oil price. Someone I know who works in the Qatar Museum has seen all her colleagues let go. And now the crisis with Saudi.

The Qataris may even have signed contracts with China. But if you know anything about the Gulf, there's a wide gap between signing a contract, and actually getting paid. It depends upon how the prince concerned feels about the project when the question of payment comes up. A company I worked for in the 80s took two years to get payment, even though they were experts in Gulfi relations.

AtaBrit | Jun 23, 2017 4:51:40 PM | 28
Great piece.

The issue of the threat regarding the Turkish base didn't surprise me much, though. I think it's clear that if MB is the target, then of course Turkey has to become a target, and Qatar - Turkey ties have to be broken. It stands to reason.

It also stands to reason if you simply consider Saudi's importance regionally: A lot is made of Iran's threat to Saudi influence, but Turkey - thanks in part to considerable investment by Qatar currently while investment from elsewhere has reduced massively -- is also very threatening to Saudi's influence, especially on the religious front.

Iran representing Shia interests in the region and Turkey representing Sunni interests is not a difficult future to imagine. It would of course grate with Saudi Arabia given that it had poured vast amounts of money into the Turkish economy and the diyanet.

On a slightly different note there's a scandal going on in western Turkey, in Duzce, at the moment because the local authority has unveiled a statue of Rabia - the four fingered Muslim Brotherhood salute! :-)

Mina | Jun 23, 2017 5:09:45 PM | 29
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/271450/World/Region/UN-blames-warring-sides-for-Yemens-cholera-catastr.aspx
let's blame underfed guys in skirts for fun
karlof1 | Jun 23, 2017 5:16:47 PM | 30
Hassan Nasrallah has given his annual International Al-Quds Day speech with plenty of fire aimed at the usual suspects. The Daily Star reports: 'Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region.

'"It's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia is the head of terrorism and today it's holding its neighbors accountable for supporting terrorism," Nasrallah said, hinting to the recent economic sanctions against Qatar.' https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2017/Jun-23/410688-nasrallah-says-regional-conflicts-seek-to-serve-israel-interest.ashx

Al-Manar provides this report, http://english.almanar.com.lb/292250

Unfortunately, I cannot locate an English language transcript, although one might become available eventually as is usually the case.

Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 6:42:14 PM | 36
Piotr Berman

Aljazeera evil? Are you joking? ....

@Anon | Jun 23, 2017 3:47:56 PM | 24

You did not address the argument I made, namely, that Aljazeera editors apparently belong to "Muslims, who immediately set out to support it [Darwinian theory of evolution] unaware of the blasphemy and error in it." These guys pretend to be nice Wahhabis, dressing in dishdashas, their womenfolks in abayas, but in fact they spread heretical and blasphemous doctrines. However, I am more of a Khazar than a Wahhabi and I do not treat this argument seriously.

It is the fact that compared to other government supported TV/online venues, say RT or PressTV, Aljazeera is well written and edited, has plenty of valuable material, etc. It is a worthwhile place to check when you want to get a composite picture on some issues. And it irritates KSA potentates in a myriad of ways, precisely because it targets "politically engaged Muslim".

It is a good example that pluralism has inherent positive aspects, devils that quarrel are better than "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

====

Actually, I hope for many more benefits will show up from this quarrel than improved profits for Iranian produce growers. It is worthwhile to observe that Dubai, a component emirate of UAE, has gigantic economic links with Iran, which must be tolerated by overlords from Abu Dhabi: they had to bail out their cousins after real estate collapse, so they have big money stake in Dubai being prosperous. Potentially, Dubai and especially the hapless vegetable and dairy producers in KSA can lose a bundle (the latter had to invest a lot in farms for Qatari market, it is not like letting cows graze on abundant grasslands plus planting cucumbers and waiting for the rain to water them). Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood are more irritating to KSA and UAE than an occasional polite missive to Iran.

One pattern in Syrian civil war were persistent and bloody feuds between jihadists that formed roughly four groups:

  1. "salafi", presumably funded by KSA,
  2. "brothers", presumably funded by Qatar and Turkey,
  3. al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/something new that was forcing the first two groups to surrender some weapons (and money?),
  4. and ISIS that had more complex sources (or more hidden).

Medium term strategy of Syrian government and allies for the near future is to "de-escalate" in the western part of the country and finish off ISIS, partitioning hitherto ISIS territories in some satisfactory way, while maintaining some type of truce with the Kurds. Then finish off the jihadists, except those most directly protected by Turkey. Finally, take care of the Kurds. Some sufficiently safe federalism can be part of the solution, but nothing that would lead to enclaves with their own military forces and their own foreign policy, like Iraqi Kurdistan.

That requires the opposing parties to exhibit somewhat suicidal behavior. A big time official feud between "brothers" and "salafi + Kurds" (a pair that shares some funding but with scant mutual affection" can help a lot. Most of all, a big time feud between Turkey and KSA can stabilize the situation in which jihadists from Idlib and northern Hama observe a truce/de-escalation, while their colleagues from south Syria get clobbered, and definitely will induce them to refrain from attacking Syrian government while it is busy against ISIS. After Erdogan was prevented from marching onto Raqqa, he has two options: "Sunnistan" in eastern Syria under domination of YPG or a much smaller YPG dominated territory that can be subsequently digested. Option one is a true nightmare for Erdogan, more than a mere paranoia. However, Erdogan is also "pan-Sunni" Islamist, so he could be tempted to backstab infidels from Damascus, as he was doing before. An open feud with Sunnistan sponsors should help him to choose.

likklemore | Jun 23, 2017 6:49:14 PM | 37
Cankles @ 25 Is that really you? If so, you should know -

Look behind the curtain. This has to do with maintaining the price of oil in US$.

Qatar launches first Chinese yuan clearing hub in Middle East .

Qatar opened the Middle East's first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan on Tuesday, saying it would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies.

"The launch of the region's first renminbi clearing center in Doha creates the necessary platform to realise the full potential of Qatar and the region's trade relationship with China," Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said at a ceremony.

"It will facilitate greater cross-border renminbi investment and financing business, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial cooperation and enhancing the pre-eminence of Qatar as a financial hub in MENA (Middle East and North Africa)."
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC) Doha branch is the clearing bank for the centre, which intends to serve companies from around the Middle East.

A clearing bank can handle all parts of a currency transaction from when a commitment is made until it is settled, reducing costs and time taken for trading.

The centre "will improve the ease of transactions between companies in the region and China by allowing them to settle their trade directly in renminbi, drawing increased trade through Qatar and boosting bilateral and economic collaboration between Qatar and China," said ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing.

At present, Qatar and the Gulf's other wealthy oil and gas exporters use the U.S. dollar much more than the yuan. Most of their currencies are pegged to the dollar, and most of their huge foreign currency reserves are denominated in dollars.

Laguerre @27

Date of article April 24, 2017

In April 2015, Qatar opened Qatar Renminbi Centre (QRC), the region's first clearing centre for the Chinese currency. This allows for trades priced in RMB to be cleared locally in Qatar rather than in other centres such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.ICBC has since become the designated clearance bank servicing the QRC, which has handled more than 350bn yuan ($52.6bn) since its inception.
http://emerge85.io/blog/the-middle-kingdoms-big-four-and-the-gulf

~ ~ ~ ~
Trending and not very far to seeing what is now held under the table. Oil will also be priced in RMB because KSA, to maintain their share of exports to China, will need to get on board. For now, it's been reaffirmed, SA does the whipping and USA protects the Royals.

rawdawgbugfalo | Jun 23, 2017 6:54:19 PM | 38
Well said, I still think this is all dreamlike. Having natural gas and sharing it with Iran is a mf.

Qatar: Is it about Trump, Israel or Nascent Influence? http://wsenmw.blogspot.com/2017/06/qatar-is-it-about-trump-israel-or.html

Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 7:34:43 PM | 40
About Sunni-Shia split. My impression is that this is mostly KSA + UAE obsession. For example, there is a substantial Shia minority in Pakistan, but the dominant thinking among the Sunnis seems to be "Muslim solidarity". There is a minority that is virulently anti-Shia, but they are politically isolated and despised exactly on the account of breaking that solidarity. After all, Pakistan forms the boundary of the Umma with non-Muslim India. I base that opinion on comments in online Pakistani newspapers, and what I have heard from an acquaintance who was a religiously conservative Sunni Pakistani. To him, the attack on Yemen by KSA was wrong "because they are Muslim". So even if Pakistan is to a certain extend in Saudi pocket, and its deep state has an extremist Sunni component, overt siding against "fellow Muslim" is out of the question.

Egypt is another case. One can find rather isolated anti-Shia outbursts, like writings of some fossils in Al-Azhar (who are responsible for the state religion), but the government steers away from that, and in spite of hefty subsidies, it joined Yemen war only symbolically and for a very short time (unlike Sudan that really needs the cash for its mercenaries). As you move further away from the Persian Gulf, the indifference to the "split" increases. As far as Qatar and Aljazeera are concerned, probably no one detests them more than Egyptian elite, as they were valiantly fighting Muslim Brotherhood for the sake of progress with some occasional large massacres (killing several hundreds of protesters, issuing hundreds of death penalties to participants in a single protest, in absentia! incredible idiocy+cruelty). That explains why al-Sisi joined KSA against Qatar.

However, the civil war in Libya that embroils Egypt is a classic case of unexpected alliances. Egypt with a help from Russia, KSA and UAE supports the "eastern government" that bases legitimacy on democratic parliament re-assembled in Tobruq on Egyptian border, and dominated by military strongman Haftar. The latter has the best chance of all people to become a military strongman of all Libya, but apparently has meager popularity and thus, too few troops. He patched that problem by an alliance with a Salafi group that had a numerous militia, currently partitioned into smaller units and incorporated into Haftar's brigades. Even with that, his progress on the ground is very, very gradual. Against him is the government in Tripolis, legitimized by a more fresh parliament and UN/EU, plus a military force that includes several militias. Part of the parliamentary support stems from Muslim Brotherhood, and some part of military support comes from Salafi militias. There are also aspects of a "war of all against all", seems that Saharan tribes collected a lot of fresh blood feuds.

Thus Qatari+Turkish support for Tripoli government is aligned with EU, and Egyptian support for Tobruq government is aligned with Russia and KSA.

Dusty | Jun 23, 2017 7:38:26 PM | 41
I thought I might just throw this out there and see what sticks. US policy is based on power and control. Saudi Arabia has been a good ally but it does not serve use policy or strategic goals any longer. Not really. I think the grand prize for destabilizing the middle east is Saudi Arabia. It would be the only way to truly control the development of other nations or more specifically, to control their rivalries and save the the US from complete economic breakdown. The Saudi's are being plumbed by the best of them, telling them they are you friends, we have your back and so long as Saudi Arabia loses more money and keeps lossing money in needless wars etc.

The only hope for Saudi Arabia is to re-denominate oil sales in multiple currencies such as the WTO drawing rights, of course based on another formula, perhaps based on the countries that purchase the most oil. This would be the only way for the royalty to gain longevity as rulers of the country. Any other scenario spells disaster. Of course, it would be a rough go for them for a while, but in the end, a slight change in outlook and the unfair advantage given to the US would go a long way, economically to stabilizing large blocks of countries. They also could of course change their outlook on the world, but that is certainly a difficult challenge. If the Muslim world came together based on their similarities, they could be a very powerful block.

The US no longer has the financial velocity it once maintained and this is much more due to insane ideas about being a hegemon. I never thought revolution would be possible in the US, but it is coming and it won't take much. The country does not appear to have intelligence peddle back a number of policies, drunk on its own poison, it makes capitalism look disgusting. A new business model is needed, one that developes mutual trade based on respect from within the exchange itself. Saudi Arabia needs to cultivate multi-channel support for its biggest resource so that when the returns are no longer there, they will have also developed multiple avenues to prosperity. Just a thought.

[Jun 20, 2017] The US intervention in EU gas market is even more pathetic than it seems

No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years, something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece". Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them.
Jun 20, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , June 16, 2017 at 1:30 am
The US's intervention is even more pathetic than it seems.

This is not a stand alone anti-Russia bill which would signal strength from the US, but an adjunct to the anti-I-ran sanctions bill that continues to seek to punish I-ran in the vague hope that it will pull the plug on the cast-iron nuclear deal it has signed with international partners. The irony there is that I-ran Air is recapitalizing with both Airbus & Boeing (also ATR), 100 odd a piece, not to mention other significant investment opportunities for western firms.

They're quite the Gordian Tits!

Not only is there the potential of the Levianthan gas field off Cyprus/Israel/whatever, brutal dictator Azeri gas will also be arriving in (larger, but not gigantic) quantities. Not to mention that significant buyers of LNG, like the UK, have it come straight from Qatar. Is the US prepared to sell LNG at a discount compared to Qatar that has strategic agreements and its own fundamental interests to be protected by the Western (European) states as well?

So if this plan seems to damage not only the USA's allies but the USA itself, then what is its purpose? Stick it to Trump. Mire any plans to re-balance relations with Russia almost at any cost . It's a no brainer for Democrats as they neither hold a majority in the House or the Senate, and there seem to be enough dog whistle Republicans willing to go along with it, including those with mental problems like John 'Insane' McCaine. Ukraine is almost peripheral except as a convenient tool. It think the US accepts they've screwed the pooch on the Ukraine so its only value is to be used as a festering sore on Russia's frontier. Kiev mops up the completely free public political support whilst it is being kicked in the bollox by the same people.

[Jun 17, 2017] We will probably never find out what truly was discussed between Trump, the Saudis and the Israelis, but there is little doubt that the recent Saudi move against Qatar is the direct results of these negotiations by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... Besides, was there ever a time with the Trump Administration's policies in the Middle-East made any logical sense at all? During the election campaign they were, shall we say, 50/50 (excellent on ISIS, plain stupid about Iran). But ever since the January coup against Flynn and Trump's surrender to the Neocons all we have seen in one form of delusional stupidity after another. ..."
"... I see this latest crisis as yet another desperate attempt by the Three Rogue States to prove that they are still the biggest and baddest guys on the block and, just like the previous ones, I think that it will fail. For example, I just don't see the Qataris shutting down al-Jazeera, one of their most powerful "weapons". ..."
"... The Three Rogue States have the same problem: their military capability to threaten, bully or punish is rapidly eroding and fewer and fewer countries out there fear them. ..."
"... I will end this column by comparing what Presidents Putin and Trump are doing these days as I find this comparison highly symbolic of the new era we are living in: Trump, after bombing a few "technicals" (4×4 trucks with a machine gun) and trucks in Syria, the proceeded to tweet that Comey was a liar and a leaker. As for Putin, he participated the latest meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which welcomed both Pakistan and India as full members. The SCO now represents over half of all the people living on our planet and one quarter of the world's GDP . You can think of it as the "other G8", or the "G8 that matters". ..."
"... the semi-official strategy of the Russian Foreign Ministry which is to "turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into friends, friends into allies" ..."
"... The West simply has no diplomacy any more, only the airforce and the bombs. Diplomacy has always been a highly rational means of achieving your own goals, where military should only be its extension tool, not a complete substitute. The Western MIC has made the Western countries forget this. ..."
"... I don't think "because Trump said so" can be regarded as credible evidence of anything. Even his own most die-hard supporters rarely bother pretending his word is worth anything (they just claim when he lies that it's a cunning subterfuge based upon some complex strategerising). ..."
"... the jury is still out on whether Trump actively and consciously "greenlit" the Saudi move to its full extent, or whether he just didn't understand what the implications would be of his toadying to Riyadh. ..."
"... This is still just a political crisis, and given the stakes for both sides it must be most likely that it will remain such, and a resolution will ultimately be found that involves the Qataris conceding enough for the Saudis to claim victory. ..."
"... But given that neither side can afford to be seen to lose completely, it only needs one side to be a bit too obdurate or a bit too greedy, and the crisis could move beyond the merely political. In that case we would see perhaps an attempted coup or uprising in Qatar, an occupation by the Saudis with US complicity, or perhaps Turkish or even Iranian troops guaranteeing Qatar against those events, which would mean genuinely significant shifts in Qatar's strategic position. ..."
"... if Turkey formally "guarantees Qatar's independence" I'm going to start getting WW1 flashbacks, and seeing the ME as the new Balkans ..."
"... The analogy is perhaps tenuous, but this affair reminds me slightly of Austria-Hungary's demands on Serbia in 1914. Didn't that end well? ..."
"... How significant is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? Just joining an organisation doesn't reveal its impact. Pakistan and India will never get along. I acknowledge Russia has good leadership. Though, what happens when Putin retires? China is strong, but much rests on the future leadership of China. ..."
"... You are ever so wrong to call these God-fearing states "Rogue States"! Please, call them The Axis of Kindness. They specialize in dropping beautiful, democratic, humanitarian bombs. ..."
"... In perhaps 2015, when Lavrov was constantly in the Middle East, I remember a report, perhaps in Russian on a meeting in Qatar with Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah. Lavrov had promised Qatar a pipeline to be built through Syria in exchange for a $10 Bn investment in the RDIF, which has indeed happened. (Although, so has a similar KSA deal). At this time, presumably, success in Syria and investment mattered more than Gazprom's commercial interest. It could be that Qatar has cut off support for Syrian ISIS and Hamas. ISIS seems to be fading fast. The pipeline was to be Qatar's not the Iran-Russia-Turkey scheme to which Qatar has also been invited. ..."
"... There have been other discussions about a Qatar, Iranian pipeline operated by Russia which makes more sense for Russia but is less of a bribe. Qatar Investment Authority funded Glencore to buy 19.5% of Rosneft this year. Sechin is pushing Putin to allow Rosneft to build and operate gas pipelines so Russia takes a stake in the Qatari pipeline through Rosneft rather than Gazprom? ..."
"... In a nutshell, the situation of Qatar appears to be a symptom of the struggle between the political Islam and the hereditary/religious Islam, in which Qatar plays a part of the more progressive, and potentially more dangerous in the long run, political Islam . ..."
"... Therefore, the Muslim lands of ME have added yet another schism to an already rich list, to the delight of Israel. Finally, it is simply sad how uninformed and bumbling the American version of Lawrence of Arabia, the saber dancer Donald Trump, is in all this, completely out of his depth. ..."
"... Trump's attack on Syria was either a blunder, or just political show. The last possibility to me seems the most probable. Making Iran the threat to the ME might be meant to give Saudi Arabia the leading position in the ME, just as abandoning NATO by the USA may be meant to deliver the USA from the burden, imagined, to defend Europe against Russia. I still wonder if Trump is far more cunning than his enemies think he is. ..."
"... As Russia had no intention of giving up Sebastopol, the USA will not give up Qatar. There is no business like show business. ..."
"... The Israelis and Saudis have been in a defacto anti-Shiite alliance for years against Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. I keep waiting for evidence of discontent among the Muslim masses over this the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques allied with Israel against other Muslim countries that now includes Qatar. ..."
"... But no evidence of discontent. Perhaps this is due to the Wahhabi fundamentalists concluding that Muslim apostates like the Shiites are worse than Jews and Crusaders. Déjà vu the deadly European Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648) between Catholics and Protestants all over again. ..."
"... The article is correct when stating Iran is the target. ..."
"... Anyway, the Saud family will last as long as the petrodollar enables them to bribe their own people (and having young, male, single, radicalized potential troublemakers-of whom the numbers are increasing-make trouble outside the borders rather than within the Kingdom) and CENTCOM allows them to keep the Shi'a in the Eastern Provinces in check. Once one or both of those factors go away, hell breaks loose in Riyadh. Unfortunately, contrary to what many Western liberals say, what will likely to replace the Saud family in the event of a revolution is probably going to be far worse than what exists today, if public opinion polls in the Kingdom and zakat donations from private donors in Saudi Arabia to jihadist groups are a barometer. ..."
"... On the Thirty Year's War: very astute analogy, one that I agree with to an extent. However, a big difference is that the Sunni drastically outnumber the Shi'a in a way that the Protestants didn't the Catholics, around 7 to 1. That is what makes Beltway overestimation of Iranian capabilities so ludicrous. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia and Israel spend a *lot* of money to keep the Beltway view of the world akin to what they want. Gulf money permeates our think tanks, both on the Left and the Right: and if Trump had an iota of intelligence last year, he would have hammered home the Clinton Foundation's connection to shady Gulfie donors when she paraded her feminism. ..."
"... I think both the Left and Right give Trump way too much credit. He's neither a Russian controlled, closet white supremacist dictator in the making, nor a new Marius, heroically despised by the Establishment, who actually wants to keep his promises to those who voted him into power. Trump is exactly what he appears to be: the American Berlusconi, a corrupt billionaire mogul who just makes it up as he goes along. No more, no less. ..."
"... The common people of the United States, like the same class of people in every other country, mean well, but they are ill-informed. Floundering about in their ignorance, they are tricked and robbed by those who have the inside information and who therefore know how to take advantage of every turn wheel of fortune. ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

First, a quick who's who

We will probably never find out what truly was discussed between Trump, the Saudis and the Israelis, but there is little doubt that the recent Saudi move against Qatar is the direct results of these negotiations. How do I know that? Because Trump himself said so -- As I mentioned in a recent column, Trump's catastrophic submission to the Neocons and their policies have left him stuck with the KSA and Israel , another two rogue states whose power and, frankly, mental sanity, are dwindling away by the minute.

While the KSA and Qatar have had their differences and problems in the past, this time around the magnitude of the crisis is much bigger than anything the past. This is a tentative and necessarily rough outline of who is supporting whom:

Supporting the Saudis ( according to Wikipedia ) Supporting Qatar (according to me)
United Arab Emirates , Bahrain , Egypt , Maldives , Yemen (they mean the pro-Saudi regime in exile), Mauritania , Comoros , Libya (Tobruk government), Jordan , Chad , Djibouti , Senegal , United States , Gabon. Turkey , Germany , Iran.

Questions, many questions

The situation is very fluid and all this might change soon, but do you notice something weird in the list above? Turkey and Germany are supporting Qatar even though the US is supporting the KSA. That's two major NATO member states taking a position against the USA.

Next, look at the list supporting the Saudis: except for the USA and Egypt they are all militarily irrelevant (and the Egyptians won't get militarily involved anyway). Not so for those opposing the Saudis, especially not Iran and Turkey. So if money is on the side of the Saudis, firepower is on the side of Qatar here.

Then, Gabon? Senegal? Since when are those two involved in Persian Gulf politics? Why are they taking sides in this faraway conflict? A quick look at the 10 conditions the Saudis demand that the Qataris fullfil does not help us understand their involvement either

... ... ...

More interestingly, why is ISRAEL not listed as a country supporting the KSA?

As always, the Israelis themselves are much more honest about their role in all this. Well, maybe they don't quite say "we done it" but they write articles like " Five reasons why Israel should care about the Qatar crisis " which lists all the reasons why the Israelis are delighted:

That kind of honesty is quite refreshing, even if it is primarily for internal, Israeli, consumption. Quick check with a Palestinian source – yup, the Israelis are backing the KSA. This is hardly surprising, no matter how hard the western corporate media tries to not notice this.

What about the USA? Do they really benefit from this crisis?

The USA has what might possibly the largest USAF base worldwide in Qatar, the Al Udeid Air Base . Furthermore, the forward headquarters of United StatesCENTCOM are also located in Qatar. To say that these are crucial US infrastructures is an understatement – one could argue that these are the most important US military facilities anywhere in the world outside the United States. Thus one would logically conclude that the very last thing the US would want is any type of crisis or even tensions anywhere near such vital facilities yet it quite clear that the Saudis and the Americans are acting in unison against Qatar. This makes no sense, right? Correct. But now that the US has embarked on a futile policy of military escalation in Syria it should come as no surprise that the two main US allies in the region are doing the same thing.

Besides, was there ever a time with the Trump Administration's policies in the Middle-East made any logical sense at all? During the election campaign they were, shall we say, 50/50 (excellent on ISIS, plain stupid about Iran). But ever since the January coup against Flynn and Trump's surrender to the Neocons all we have seen in one form of delusional stupidity after another.

Objectively, the crisis around Qatar is not good at all for the USA.

... ... ...

What about Russia in all that?

The Russians and the Qataris have butted heads many times over, especially over Syria and Libya where Qatar played an extremely toxic role in being the prime financiers of various takfiri terrorist groups. Furthermore, Qatar is Russia's number one competitor in many LNG (liquefied natural gas) markets. There were also other crises between the two countries, including what appears to be a Russian assassination of the Chechen terrorist Leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev and the subsequent torture and trial of two Russian Embassy employees accused of being involved in the assassination (they were sentenced to life in prison and eventually sent back to Russia). Still, the Russians and the Qataris are eminently pragmatic peoples and the two countries mostly maintained a cordial, if careful, relationship which even included some joint economic ventures.

It is highly unlikely that Russia will intervene directly in this crisis unless, of course, Iran is directly attacked. The good news is that such a direct attack on Iran is unlikely as none of the Three Rogue States really have any stomach to take on Iran (and Hezbollah). What Russia will do is use her soft power, political and economic , to slowly try to reel Qatar into the Russian orbit according to the semi-official strategy of the Russian Foreign Ministry which is to " turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into friends, friends into allies ". Just like with Turkey, the Russians will gladly help, especially since they know that this help will buy them some very precious influence in the region.

Iran, the real target of it all

The Iranians are now openly saying that the recent terrorist attack in Tehran was ordered by Saudi Arabia . Technically speaking, that means that Iran is now at war . In reality, of course, as the real local superpower, Iran is acting with calm and restraint : the Iranians fully understand that this latest terrorist attack is a sign of weakness, if not desperation, and that the best reaction to it is to act the same way the Russians reacted to the bombings in Saint Petersburg: stay focused, calm and determined. Just like the Russians, the Iranians have now also offered to send food to Qatar, but it is unlikely that they will intervene militarily unless the Saudis really go crazy. Besides, with Turkish forces soon deployed in Qatar , the Iranians have no real need for any displays of military might. I would argue that the simple fact that neither the USA nor Israel have dared to directly attack Iran since 1988 (since shooting down by the US Navy of the Iran Air Flight 655 Airbus ) is the best proof of the real Iranian military power.

... ... ..

...As for the Qataris, they have already clearly indicated that they are unwilling to surrender and that they will fight . The Saudis have already taken the outrageous decision to impose a blockade of a fellow Muslim country during the holy month of Ramadan. Will they really now further escalate and commit an act of aggression against a fellow Muslim country during that month? They might, but it is hard to believe that even they could be that ignorant of the Muslim public opinion. But if they don't, then their operation will lose a lot of momentum while the Qataris will be given time to prepare politically, economically, socially and militarily. Qatar might be small, and the Qataris themselves not very numerous, but their immense pockets allow them to quickly line up any amount of suppliers and contractors willing to help them out. This is case where the famous "market forces" will act to Qatar's advantage.

The Qatari Foreign Minister is expected in Moscow on Saturday and it is pretty obvious what the talks will be about: while Russia will not put all her political weight to support the Qataris, the Kremlin might accept becoming a mediator between the KSA and Qatar. If that happens, that would be the ultimate irony: the main outcome of the Saudi-Israeli-US operation will make Russia an even more influential player in the region. As for Qatar itself, the outcome of this crisis will probably articulate itself along Nietzschean lines: " That which does not kill us, makes us stronger ."

Conclusion

I see this latest crisis as yet another desperate attempt by the Three Rogue States to prove that they are still the biggest and baddest guys on the block and, just like the previous ones, I think that it will fail. For example, I just don't see the Qataris shutting down al-Jazeera, one of their most powerful "weapons". Nor do I see them breaking all diplomatic relations with Iran as those two states are joined at the hip by the immense South Pars gas condensate field . The immense wealth of the Qataris also means that they have very powerful supporters worldwide who right now, as I write these lines, are probably on the phone making calls to very influential people and indicating to them in no unclear terms that Qatar is not to be messed with.

If anything this crisis will only serve to push Qatar further into the warm embrace of other countries, including Russia and Iran, and it will further weaken the Saudis.

The Three Rogue States have the same problem: their military capability to threaten, bully or punish is rapidly eroding and fewer and fewer countries out there fear them. Their biggest mistake is that instead of trying to adapt their policies to this new reality, they always chose to double-down over and over again even though they fail each time, making them look even weaker and their initial predicament even worse. This is a very dangerous downward spiral and yet the Three Rogue States seem unable to devise any other policy.

I will end this column by comparing what Presidents Putin and Trump are doing these days as I find this comparison highly symbolic of the new era we are living in: Trump, after bombing a few "technicals" (4×4 trucks with a machine gun) and trucks in Syria, the proceeded to tweet that Comey was a liar and a leaker. As for Putin, he participated the latest meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which welcomed both Pakistan and India as full members. The SCO now represents over half of all the people living on our planet and one quarter of the world's GDP . You can think of it as the "other G8", or the "G8 that matters".

I submit that this quick comparison of agenda really says I all.

UPDATE1 : Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now telling the Saudis to 'cool it' . The Saudi-Israeli plan is beginning to collapse.

Kiza June 10, 2017 at 6:42 am GMT

The real Qatari 'crime' was to refuse, on purely pragmatic reasons, to join into the massive anti-Iranian campaign imposed on the region by Saudi Arabia and Israel.

This is why it is worth reading this good article. I suspected this to be the reason from the start of the crisis: Qatar has been an active supporter of ME terrorism (including ISIS) just like KSA, US, Israel, UAE and Turkey. But they were never as anti-Iranian as the other members of this Coalition of the Lovers of Terrorism.

Also, I liked this sentence on the diplomatic skill forgotten in the West:

the semi-official strategy of the Russian Foreign Ministry which is to "turn enemies into neutrals, neutrals into friends, friends into allies"

The West simply has no diplomacy any more, only the airforce and the bombs. Diplomacy has always been a highly rational means of achieving your own goals, where military should only be its extension tool, not a complete substitute. The Western MIC has made the Western countries forget this.

Randal June 10, 2017 at 11:46 am GMT

there is little doubt that the recent Saudi move against Qatar is the direct results of these negotiations. How do I know that? Because Trump himself said so!

I don't think "because Trump said so" can be regarded as credible evidence of anything. Even his own most die-hard supporters rarely bother pretending his word is worth anything (they just claim when he lies that it's a cunning subterfuge based upon some complex strategerising).

As far as I can see the jury is still out on whether Trump actively and consciously "greenlit" the Saudi move to its full extent, or whether he just didn't understand what the implications would be of his toadying to Riyadh. Perhaps he really is so profoundly ignorant that he really believes what his words imply: that the Qataris sponsor terrorism (they do) but the Saudis (and his own regime) don't, remarkable as that would be in a national leader.

As for the Qataris, they have already clearly indicated that they are unwilling to surrender and that they will fight.

This is still just a political crisis, and given the stakes for both sides it must be most likely that it will remain such, and a resolution will ultimately be found that involves the Qataris conceding enough for the Saudis to claim victory.

But given that neither side can afford to be seen to lose completely, it only needs one side to be a bit too obdurate or a bit too greedy, and the crisis could move beyond the merely political. In that case we would see perhaps an attempted coup or uprising in Qatar, an occupation by the Saudis with US complicity, or perhaps Turkish or even Iranian troops guaranteeing Qatar against those events, which would mean genuinely significant shifts in Qatar's strategic position. The odds are against that, because all parties have too much at stake to lightly go far down those roads, but such crises can spiral out of control. And on the way we could see all kinds of destructive economic warfare, lawfare, and hardball pressurising, together with lots of hanging out of each side's dirty laundry by the other.

Popcorn time. But if Turkey formally "guarantees Qatar's independence" I'm going to start getting WW1 flashbacks, and seeing the ME as the new Balkans

  1. UPDATE1: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now telling the Saudis to 'cool it'. The Saudi-Israeli plan is beginning to collapse.
  2. UPDATE2: Trump promptly undermines Tillerson's position ( Tillerson Scrambles to Undo Trump's Qatar Blunder )
dearieme June 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm GMT

The analogy is perhaps tenuous, but this affair reminds me slightly of Austria-Hungary's demands on Serbia in 1914. Didn't that end well?

Weaver June 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm GMT

How significant is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? Just joining an organisation doesn't reveal its impact. Pakistan and India will never get along. I acknowledge Russia has good leadership. Though, what happens when Putin retires? China is strong, but much rests on the future leadership of China.

The US isn't exactly in competition with China, because the US doesn't want to grow stronger. The US wants to help Israel expand. And the US wants to help enrich defence contractors and expand pork spending. So, the US and China have two very different goals. Also, the US and Europe are dedicated to undermining their European populations.

So, while China and Russia pursue power, the US has very different objectives.

Thales the Milesian June 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

Saker:

You are ever so wrong to call these God-fearing states "Rogue States"! Please, call them The Axis of Kindness. They specialize in dropping beautiful, democratic, humanitarian bombs.

The Scalpel Website June 10, 2017 at 7:55 pm GMT

@Weaver "The US isn't exactly in competition with China, because the US doesn't want to grow stronger. The US wants to help Israel expand. And the US wants to help enrich defence contractors and expand pork spending."

ROFL!!!! Great writing. Funny, but so much truth there

Philip Owen June 10, 2017 at 11:13 pm GMT

In perhaps 2015, when Lavrov was constantly in the Middle East, I remember a report, perhaps in Russian on a meeting in Qatar with Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah. Lavrov had promised Qatar a pipeline to be built through Syria in exchange for a $10 Bn investment in the RDIF, which has indeed happened. (Although, so has a similar KSA deal). At this time, presumably, success in Syria and investment mattered more than Gazprom's commercial interest. It could be that Qatar has cut off support for Syrian ISIS and Hamas. ISIS seems to be fading fast. The pipeline was to be Qatar's not the Iran-Russia-Turkey scheme to which Qatar has also been invited.

I was monitoring so much Russian media at the time (hundreds of stories a day and this was not relevant to my task) I can't place it exactly but it was very memorable because of the reversals involved and the mass of implications. How did they reconcile interests. There have been other discussions about a Qatar, Iranian pipeline operated by Russia which makes more sense for Russia but is less of a bribe. Qatar Investment Authority funded Glencore to buy 19.5% of Rosneft this year. Sechin is pushing Putin to allow Rosneft to build and operate gas pipelines so Russia takes a stake in the Qatari pipeline through Rosneft rather than Gazprom?

Kiza June 11, 2017 at 4:17 am GMT

If you are interested in another objective view of the Qatari situation here is an article by Oliver Miles in the London Review of Books: https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/06/08/oliver-miles/whats-behind-the-saudi-blockade-of-qatar/ .

It is very interesting that even Al ash-Shaikh has denounced Qatar because of its insubordination to Saudi commands and interests.

In a nutshell, the situation of Qatar appears to be a symptom of the struggle between the political Islam and the hereditary/religious Islam, in which Qatar plays a part of the more progressive, and potentially more dangerous in the long run, political Islam .

Therefore, the Muslim lands of ME have added yet another schism to an already rich list, to the delight of Israel. Finally, it is simply sad how uninformed and bumbling the American version of Lawrence of Arabia, the saber dancer Donald Trump, is in all this, completely out of his depth.

jilles dykstra June 11, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT

Trump's attack on Syria was either a blunder, or just political show. The last possibility to me seems the most probable. Making Iran the threat to the ME might be meant to give Saudi Arabia the leading position in the ME, just as abandoning NATO by the USA may be meant to deliver the USA from the burden, imagined, to defend Europe against Russia. I still wonder if Trump is far more cunning than his enemies think he is.

jilles dykstra June 11, 2017 at 7:00 am GMT

@Kiza

As Russia had no intention of giving up Sebastopol, the USA will not give up Qatar. There is no business like show business.

Talha June 11, 2017 at 9:56 am GMT

@anon Let's look at the numbers again from an angle that makes more sense:

Israeli expansion (relative to its size): 2500/8522 = 29%
Indonesian expansion (relative to size): 130,000/735,358 = 18%
Moroccan expansion (relative to size – keeping in mind it only occupies 2/3 of Western Sahara):
68,660/274,460 = 25%
Russian expansion (relative to size): 14,000/6,592,800 = <1%

Nice try. Peace.

The Alarmist June 11, 2017 at 10:05 am GMT

"The SCO now represents over half of all the people living on our planet and one quarter of the world's GDP. You can think of it as the "other G8", or the "G8 that matters"."

Very clever! Unfortunately the other G8 will only matter around 2040 or so, when the last of the West as we know it is finally subsumed into the Great Caliphate, at which point it will then turn on the other half of the planet.

TheJester June 11, 2017 at 10:57 am GMT

Nothing new. The Israelis and Saudis have been in a defacto anti-Shiite alliance for years against Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. I keep waiting for evidence of discontent among the Muslim masses over this the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques allied with Israel against other Muslim countries that now includes Qatar.

But no evidence of discontent. Perhaps this is due to the Wahhabi fundamentalists concluding that Muslim apostates like the Shiites are worse than Jews and Crusaders. Déjà vu the deadly European Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648) between Catholics and Protestants all over again.

mcohen June 11, 2017 at 11:43 am GMT

@Philip Owen Thanks for that .2015.a lot has happened including the opening up of gas reserves on the Mediterranean. both turkey and Qatar have us airbases so that is leverage. regardless it Is one thing building a pipeline and another keeping it secure. Qatar has been trying to build up leverage on Israel via the Palestinians but that has come to and end with trumps push for peace. ideally peace does not suit qatars plans so gaza could explode soon. hence qatars flirtation with iran hoping to stir up trouble in s.lebanon via hezb. Al thani ran from Syria. maybe they can send him to s.lebanon for some character building

Agent76 June 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm GMT

The article is correct when stating Iran is the target.

Sep 11, 2011 General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

"This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"

nebulafox June 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm GMT

@TheJester

The Saud family has managed to make themselves even more unpopular (if that were even possible) on what we might term "Arab Street" due to their relatively newfound comfort with the Israelis, of course, but nobody can deny that it is smart politics. Saudi Arabia isn't Egypt, they've got plenty of money to ease the unemployment problem. For all its flaws, its nowhere near "pseudo-failed state" status like so many other Arab countries, despite the demographic and social pressures.

Anyway, the Saud family will last as long as the petrodollar enables them to bribe their own people (and having young, male, single, radicalized potential troublemakers-of whom the numbers are increasing-make trouble outside the borders rather than within the Kingdom) and CENTCOM allows them to keep the Shi'a in the Eastern Provinces in check. Once one or both of those factors go away, hell breaks loose in Riyadh. Unfortunately, contrary to what many Western liberals say, what will likely to replace the Saud family in the event of a revolution is probably going to be far worse than what exists today, if public opinion polls in the Kingdom and zakat donations from private donors in Saudi Arabia to jihadist groups are a barometer.

On the Thirty Year's War: very astute analogy, one that I agree with to an extent. However, a big difference is that the Sunni drastically outnumber the Shi'a in a way that the Protestants didn't the Catholics, around 7 to 1. That is what makes Beltway overestimation of Iranian capabilities so ludicrous.

(IMO: the Shi'a have shrines and their own version of saints, both of which are considered heathenish by Wahhabists. They also have an organized structure. To become a mullah in Shi'a Islam, you have to train for decades, rigorous education in philosophy, logic, astronomy, et all, much like a rigorous classical education was required for Catholic orders -- not at all like modern Sunni Islam where any random guy can declare a fatwa. So they are akin to the Catholics in all this, whereas the Sunni are the Protestants. Not a perfect analogy, but makes the most sense for Westerners.)

Seamus Padraig June 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm GMT

The Zionist Entity and the Wahhabist Entity. With friends like these

nebulafox June 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Saudi Arabia and Israel spend a *lot* of money to keep the Beltway view of the world akin to what they want. Gulf money permeates our think tanks, both on the Left and the Right: and if Trump had an iota of intelligence last year, he would have hammered home the Clinton Foundation's connection to shady Gulfie donors when she paraded her feminism.

>I still wonder if Trump is far more cunning than his enemies think he is.

I think both the Left and Right give Trump way too much credit. He's neither a Russian controlled, closet white supremacist dictator in the making, nor a new Marius, heroically despised by the Establishment, who actually wants to keep his promises to those who voted him into power. Trump is exactly what he appears to be: the American Berlusconi, a corrupt billionaire mogul who just makes it up as he goes along. No more, no less. The secret to Trump is that there is no secret. And right now, unfortunately for his base, he happens to be surrounded by Republican people who haven't learned a thing from the Bush debacle and the last few decades in general, policy-wise. Get ready for pure McConnell fantasies for the next few years.

He's not un-clever in his own way when it comes to manipulating the media and public ratings, but he just clearly does not know a lot about actual policy-making. Trump is at his best when the Establishment wisdom is very clearly in the wrong, yet they can't figure it out due to their own social bubble and worldview. In that case, Trump calls them out, as he regularly did last year. But it isn't because Trump has a plausible alternative to offer, it is more a gut reaction in the instant of the moment that he forgets a few minutes later.

Anonymous June 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Trump-cunning?

Give me a break. It is obvious that the Syria attack and also the Moab Afganistan bomb was purely a show of force to pressure Xi into taking out N Korea.

This is so sloppy and ham handed it is criminal. Trump is not negotiating with another CEO where that kind of leverage works. He is negotiating with world leaders who aren't going to be pushed off because of a few missle strikes.

This just showed Xi that Trump is an amateur.

And yeah, letting Saudi Arabia have free reign over the Middle East? Nothing could go wrong there right?

Anonymous June 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

Is it known when the President first learned that there were major US bases in Qatar? Not the #30 Anonymous – just for accuracy not as implied criticism.

Che Guava June 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer Agree, but would say better before good. and Iran is better than any Arab state, excepting embattled Syria and Lebanon.

It is strange to me how the Qataris are to be in this situation, maybe just because it is a very small polity, essentially just a takeover bid.

jacques sheete June 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT

@Kiza Then there's something called "secret diplomacy."

The common people of the United States, like the same class of people in every other country, mean well, but they are ill-informed. Floundering about in their ignorance, they are tricked and robbed by those who have the inside information and who therefore know how to take advantage of every turn wheel of fortune.

The people voted for Roosevelt be cause he talked of "trust-busting" at the same time that he was sanctioning the purchase of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company by the Steel Trust. They supported Wilson "because he kept us out of war" at the same time that Wilson was making preparations to enter the war.

The rulers can negotiate "secret treaties" at home and abroad. The people, knowing nothing of either the theory or the practice of secret diplomacy, commit all sorts of follies for which they themselves must later foot the bill.

- R. F. PETTIGREW, TRIUMPHANT PLUTOCRACY, The Story ofAmerican Public Life from 1870 to 1920.

https://archive.org/stream/triumphantpluto00pettrich/triumphantpluto00pettrich_djvu.txt

The wonder is that the* hoi polloi trust the hoi oligoi at all. Perhaps it's because today we are generally misinformed rather than merely uninformed.

*Note to any lurking snarkmeisters. I realize that the words "the" and "hoi" are technically redundant, but I am entering the borrowed phrases in accepted English.

survey-of-disinfo June 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm GMT

@The Alarmist

[Europe becomes a "Khalifate"] at which point it will then turn on the other half of the planet.

It is not clear if the quoted contributer is uneducated, misinformed, or merely channeling historic Western insistence on lording over the rest of planet in guise of an insecure alarmist.

It is not news that Europe and the West (without any ideological basis in a Muslim Khalifate) have for the past few hundred years been treating both halves of the planet as their prey. Keep boo hoo hooing over those gates of Vienna episode but seriously how many HUNDREDS of millions of people have you lot killed in the past few hundred years? Let's get real. Enough of this bullshit.

Talha June 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT

@anon And the fact remains that Israel is proportionally greedier for land than they are.

If a linebacker eats a whole five course meal of pot roast – it's not that amazing. If a five year old does it – it's a thing of astonishment.

You can also explain why Israel sells weapons to nations like Morocco and Indonesia.

Peace.

Ulfberth June 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT

The countries who support Qatar are Iran and Russia only. Turkey has been in a swing state of being the US vassal, getting mad at it, flirting with Russia, etc
Germany is a joke.

jilles dykstra June 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm GMT

@Anonymous If you want to demonstrate that Trump is an amateur you must know what his objectives are, now, then afterwards you may be able to show that he failed.
At present there is doubt about what he really wants.

The analysis of prof Laslo Maracs, UVA, Amsterdam, of the Trump objectives is that Trump, and his rich friends, understand that going on with the Obama way will lead to their ruin, and the USA's.
Obama caused close economic cooperation between China en Russia.

In Khazakstan an enormous installation has been built, they call it a land port, where containers can be transferred from the Chinese railway system to the Russian.
Containers now can be transported from China to St Peterburgh in a few days.

The USA cannot subjugate the world militarily, politically and economically impossible.

Therefore Trump is at war with Deep State, those who still want the USA to militarily subjugate the world.
I still think that Trump's behavior can be explained by the mentioned analysis.

If Maracs is right, then it is greatest change in political course of the USA since Roosevelt in 1933 won the elections.
And of course a decisive change in world history.
Therefore the whole western world, and all countries dependent on the USA, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, is in deep confusion.

jacques sheete June 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT

@Talha Speaking of imperialist ( aggressive) expansion, "we" were warned against it time and again, but our lovely leadership has routinely ignored it.

I like this quote from the Republican anti-imperialist of a century ago.:

The American flag went up on Hawaii in dishonor; it came down in honor, and if it goes up again now it will go up in infamy and shame and this Government will join the robber nations of the world .

-R. F. Pettigrew, "Pettigrew's Speech". The Herald. Los Angeles. July 3, 1898 . p. 4.

The US would join the robber nations of the world? Ya think?

Ludwig Watzal Website June 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm GMT

"The Saker" is absolutely right about the characterization of the "Axis of Evil" that contains finally the right three rogue states: The US Empire, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. For sure, it's all about Iran but the time is over to attack this country, although the Israelis and the Saudis would love, it the US would do it. But even the Trump administration is not that stupid. To attack Iran would be the "stupidest thing I've ever heart", said the late Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagen, when the two crazies in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu, and Barack, tried to convince or rather push the US into attacking Iran's nuclear installations, knowing that Iran is light years away from a nuclear device.

It speaks volumes that the US supports Saudi Arabia's open aggression and genocide in Yemen. But the failure shows that the Saudis are incapable of dealing with a bunch or Huthi rebels or just take Syria where they are just capable of financing foreign mercenaries and terrorist to overthrow an elected President. To rely on the Saudis is a lost cause.

That Russia wants to mediate in the created crisis and the Iranians and the Turks want to deliver goods, the later are even ready to send troops, is a good sign that this criminal endeavor of the three terror states, the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, is going to fail.

The Trump administration, however, is the first to blame because President Trump gave all the Muslim despots a free hand when he delivered his bizarre speech in Riadah and singled out Iran as the main "sponsor of Terrorism". After this grotesque performance, he visited the main terrorist state in the region, Israel. As long as the US is unconditionally loyal to Israel, they can't pursue their national interests. That such interests are identical or the relations between the two states are "unshakable" is just rhetoric. But that the US can't escape the deadly embrace shows whose interest the US political class is truly serving.

jacques sheete June 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra If you want to demonstrate that Trump is an amateur you must know what his objectives are, now, then afterwards you may be able to show that he failed.
At present there is doubt about what he really wants.

The analysis of prof Laslo Maracs, UVA, Amsterdam, of the Trump objectives is that Trump, and his rich friends, understand that going on with the Obama way will lead to their ruin, and the USA's. Obama caused close economic cooperation between China en Russia.

In Khazakstan an enormous installation has been built, they call it a land port, where containers can be transferred from the Chinese railway system to the Russian.
Containers now can be transported from China to St Peterburgh in a few days.

The USA cannot subjugate the world militarily, politically and economically impossible.

Therefore Trump is at war with Deep State, those who still want the USA to militarily subjugate the world. I still think that Trump's behavior can be explained by the mentioned analysis. If Maracs is right, then it is greatest change in political course of the USA since Roosevelt in 1933 won the elections. And of course a decisive change in world history. Therefore the whole western world, and all countries dependent on the USA, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, is in deep confusion.

At present there is doubt about what he really wants.

I doubt that he knows beyond the license to strut around in our faces like the big cock of the dung heap.

Paradoxically, Trump's vast holdings make him extremely vulnerable. So, effectively, he's trapped unless he's prepared to lose much, and I highly doubt that he's into martyrdom in any form or degree.

Much about his running for office reminds me of Jesse Ventura's win in Minnesota back in '99.

I'm quite certain that Jesse put his money where his (also rather big) mouth was and ran for office, never expecting to win, but merely to use the bully pulpit to show the other money bags the middle finger. To his, and everyone else's shock, he won. Unfortunately, he was opposed by unopposable forces and though he did manage to push through some good legislation (!), it's all been undone. Jesse was a one term governor.

Anyway, it's: Hail, Humpty Trump! Sterquilinus has risen, again! Isn't he byoo-tiful? Cock-a-doodle- doo-doo!!!!!!

Yes, sumpin sitnks, but Hexen Hillary would've been MUCH worse Yuck!

Full disclosure.: I'm still a Ventura policy fan, though I could do without the pink boa!

[Jun 17, 2017] The draft bill of the new sactions for Russia is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquified natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European markets

Jun 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

james | Jun 16, 2017 2:47:41 AM | 36

daily us press briefing thursday june 15th..

some interesting info on the sale of jets to qatar worth 12 billion and stuff like that..

and this

"QUESTION: Switching gears, Germany and Austria sharp – have sharply criticized the U.S. Senate today for moves aimed at advancing a new legislation packaging new sanctions against Russia, which tangentially deal with European countries as well. Austrian federal chancellor and German foreign ministry released a joint statement, and I wanted to read one line from it to get your response to this particular line: "The draft bill of the U.S. is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European markets."

MS NAUERT: Sorry, back up for a second? What did you say about the liquefied natural gas?

QUESTION: That the bill is trying to basically peddle U.S. LNG to the – to the European markets – markets instead of the Russian natural gas. The bill aims to protect U.S. jobs and the natural gas and petroleum industries. So what's your response to that?

MS NAUERT: Well, first, I'm not going to comment on anything that those nations said and their criticism of anything going on on Capitol Hill. We would see it – and we talked about this last week – we welcome the shipment of liquefied natural gas to Poland, to countries in that region, if that were to come – become available to them, because it helps give them another option, another option to get natural gas from other countries that are perhaps more stable or other countries that can perhaps provide a regular flow of natural gas.

Much of the natural gas in Poland, as I understand it, comes from Russia, and that can be inconsistent. Russia has the ability, as you well know, to turn off that natural gas, and that puts the Polish people in a very difficult situation. So the U.S. provided another option. A regular source of natural gas, especially in the winter months, we see as important for the United States and for our allies."

our allies... lol...

[Jun 17, 2017] Turkey is having its problems, but the Russian pipeline is moving along and managed by Russia; Syria, Iraq and Iranian gas could all become clients of the pipeline, generating significant revenue and jobs for Turkey as its hub

Notable quotes:
"... Although unlikely, it would be amusing if support for Qatar led to an improvement in the Iran/Turkey relationship. ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

frances | Jun 17, 2017 7:44:31 PM

Although unlikely, it would be amusing if support for Qatar led to an improvement in the Iran/Turkey relationship.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2017 3:00:24 PM | 34

I agree Turkey is having its problems, but the Russian pipeline is moving along and managed by Russia; Syria, Iraq and Iranian gas could all become clients of the pipeline, generating significant revenue and jobs for Turkey as its hub. Far better that Turkey looks to Russia with its sane international policies than to the the US's EU puppet.

virgile | Jun 17, 2017 11:04:12 AM | 32
Turkey has fallen in yet another trap set by the USA to weaken Erdogan. Turkey has no more 'neighbors' friends, no more European friends, little american sympathy, and now it is about to loose his rich Gulf friends.

Erdogan's foreign policy is close to total disaster. The AKP success came from the economical reforms stimulated by the EU promises of adhesion and to the smart and peaceful influence of Gulen in Turkey's institutions and foreign policy.

Now Gulen and his allies are enemies. Turkey has gradually become a rogue state controlled exclusively by a megalomaniac man blinded by religion and money.

After the Syria quagmire, the Qatar-Saudi conflict and its impact on Turkey's economy, may turn to be fatal to Erdogan ruling.

[Jun 16, 2017] New Russia Sanctions Are All About Forcing the EU to Buy Overpriced US Gas

Jun 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Any Darwin Awards fans out there? For those few who have never heard of them, the Darwin Awards celebrate those individuals who have rendered a significant service to mankind by taking themselves out of the global gene pool. In preparing to discuss today's subject, I am reminded of unfortunate 1999 award-winner 'James' from Missouri, who became so fixated upon his love interest that he tried to lop off his own head with a chainsaw to demonstrate his commitment to an outcome on his terms. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful on both counts, he did fatally injure himself, and died in hospital. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

My intent today is to demonstrate clear destructive similarities between the above emotional decision and the equally simpleminded decision of the US Senate to impose further economic sanctions on Russia, this time explicitly tying them to penalizing of European companies which do business with Russia – moreover, in a clear attempt to stop the latter from proceeding with the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. This, in turn, is clearly an attempt by the USA to make Europe a captive market for its own energy products, in the form of shipborne LNG. Significantly, that goal is also finally becoming clear to Europe; or at least to the parts of it that matter, such as Germany (thanks for the tip, James!) Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe's energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options.

The readers and commenters of this blog will be well aware, since it has been a topic of discussion for years here, that a critical underpinning of the western plan to seize Ukraine and wrest it into the western orbit was the premise that Russia would be forced by simple momentum to go along with it. As long as events continued to unfold too quickly to get ahead of, Russia would have to help supply the sinews of its own destruction. And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine's transition to a powerful western fulcrum upon which to apply leverage against it, through continued trade with Ukraine and continued transit of Europe's energy supply through Ukraine's pipeline system. But Russia slapped a trade embargo on most Ukrainian goods, and rescinded its tariff-free status as it became clear Brussels planned to use it to stovepipe European trade goods into the Russian market, through Ukraine – thus crushing domestic industries which would not be able to compete on economically-favourable terms. The armchair strategists nearly shit a brick when construction of the South Stream pipeline commenced, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of about $2 billion annually in transit fees. But pressure ultimately forced Bulgaria to throw a wrench into the works, and the pipeline plans were shelved, to much victory dancing in the west. There was not quite as much happy-dancing in Bulgaria , but they were only ever a pawn anyway.

Sidebar for a moment, here; while the $2 Billion annually in transit fees is extremely important, Ukraine's pre-crisis GDP was $163 Billion. The funds realized for transit fees are important because (a) Russia has to pay them and (b) the west will have to come up with the equivalent in aid if Ukraine loses out on them. But the real value intrinsic to Ukraine as a transit country is its physical reality as an interface for Russian gas transit to Europe – what is a bridge can be easily turned into a wall.

Any time Washington thinks Russia needs some more shit on its face, Ukraine can be prodded to announce a doubling of its transit fees, or to kick off some other dispute which the popular press will adroitly spin to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier. Therefore, it is essential to western strategy that significant amounts of Russian gas continue to transit Ukraine. Sufficiently so that Europe continues to evolve ever-more-desperate contingency plans in order to keep receiving gas through the country which was known to have provoked the previous shutoff of European supplies by siphoning Europe-bound gas for its own use. That's despite the assurances of Germany and western partners of Gazprom in the Nord Stream line that it will mean cheaper gas prices for Europe.

But we knew this was coming, didn't we? Yes, we did, because as recently as last month, Democratic senator Jean Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on European Affairs, announced that the United States was considering involving itself in the Nord Stream II pipeline project , with a view to killing it stone dead. The purpose, as already mentioned, is to make way for LNG cargoes to Europe, cutting Russia out of the business, on the assumption that without energy sales the Russian economy will crumble and the country will collapse. Destroying Russia remains Washington's overriding strategic objective.

So the stakes are high; high enough to provide context for Washington's bizarre and aggressive behavior, and for its continued ridiculous insistence that Russia tampered with the 2016 US presidential election. What are the chances Washington will succeed with its latest adventure in global bullying?

Not good, according to multiple sources. Let's take a look at how Platts views the prospects; Platts, a division of S&P Global , is headquartered in London and employs over 1,000 people in more than 15 offices worldwide. These include global business centers such as New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, and major energy centers such as Houston, Singapore and London, where Platts is based. Having hopefully established the firm's credentials as someone who knows what they are talking about in the energy business, let's see what Platts has to say about the potential American LNG market in Europe . Mmmm .the review is mixed. At the outset, Platts is admiring of Cheniere Energy's go-to-hell expansion. But a couple of things about that are cause to curb enthusiasm. One, only 8 American LNG cargoes had gone to Europe so far; that was as of April this year, when the report was released. Of those, 4 went to Spain, 3 to Portugal and 1 to Italy. Two, the Iberian Peninsula is acknowledged by Platts as not particularly significant in terms of gauging Europe's welcome of American LNG.

"Indeed, the fact that Portugal and Spain were the first European countries to import LNG from the US is telling The Iberian Peninsula is considered an "island market" with poor interconnection to the rest of Europe, so the delivery of US LNG into the region is not likely to be seen as a sign that it will take hold in the wider European market."

The same passage points out that Russia does not supply the Iberian Peninsula with pipeline gas, and so is unlikely to be very concerned about the impact of US LNG on that market.

Three, Cheniere's rapid expansion has come at a terrifying cost, and the company is currently – as of fall 2016 – overleveraged with approximately $20 Billion in long-term debt . It is unprofitable, with interest payments representing 60% of revenues, the living embodiment of 'bicycle economics'; the second you stop pedaling, you crash.

For what it's worth, few great business breakthroughs have occurred without risk, and while Cheniere is plunging ahead with what seems like recklessness, it could just as easily pay off with complete domination of the North American export market. That's a hell of a debt load, though; not much margin for bad news. That does expose a flaw in the American strategy, as well – wrestling control of the European supply market from Russia would be frighteningly expensive.

a little better than 3 Billion Cubic Feet (BcF) of natural gas, which is mostly methane. That equates to about .85 Billion Cubic Meters (BcM). But Europe uses about 400 BcM per year , assuming LNG could supply the whole European market, which is of course unrealistic. Especially considering the entire global LNG shipping fleet consists of about 410 vessels .

No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years , something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece . Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them. But we've already somewhat nervously mentioned how much all this is costing – how does the likely return on investment shape up?

Well, what the fuck? Platts comes right out and says that Russia has the option of cutting its prices to ensure it undercuts LNG costs in order to keep its share of the European market!

"Russia clearly does have the option to undercut the US LNG price to ensure it keeps its share of its key European markets and could flood the market with cheap gas, maximizing revenues and cash flow at a time when producers worldwide are suffering from the impact of such low prices."

So, let me get this straight. All the attempts by the west, led as usual by Washington, to force energy prices down and keep them low actually benefit Russia by putting the USA in an unacceptable profit/loss loop so that it cannot afford to sell its LNG to Europe and still make money? That appears to be pretty much how it shakes out.

"Russia, thanks to the bearish oil price environment and an enhanced export strategy from Gazprom, increased its exports to Europe by 15% (through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines) to 118 Bcm, taking back its place as Europe's largest gas supplier in the process."

Wait! I think I see a solution. All the USA needs to do is apply its global leverage to make energy costs rise!

"But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016."

Oh, hey; I just realized – if forcing energy prices back up were an option, how is that going to hamstring an opponent who was already able to undercut you at the lower price, and still turn a profit?

Platts closes out this dismal synopsis with the consolation prize that, while US LNG is less competitive with pipeline gas given narrow Henry Hub-NBP spreads, it is coming to Europe regardless. More of that old American can-do. It will have to be, though, on what is described as a short-run marginal cost basis. Would you feel comfortable with that forecast if you were carrying, say, $20 Billion in debt?

And it's not just Platts who sounds a warning; Forbes has a similar, if slightly more mocking outlook of the situation .

"Most of this is just political posturing and noise. The U.S. is not now and nor will it be in the near future a key resource for Europe's energy needs According to EIAs Annual Energy Outlook, published in April, the United States remains a net importer of fuels through 2040 in a low oil price scenario. In a high oil and gas price scenario, the United States becomes a net exporter of liquid fuels due to increased production by 2021. A lot can happen in seven years. By then, Exxon will likely be back to its deal with Rosneft in Russia's Arctic Circle."

As well, Forbes adds the interesting perspective that foreign sales of American gas will be a tough sell domestically if the pressure remains on the American leadership to achieve greater energy self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on foreign sources. This situation can only be exacerbated by a rise in anti-American sentiment around the world, and is likely to spike if energy prices rise. But if they stay low, American LNG exports won't make any money. If they go up, pipeline gas will undercut LNG prices and make it noncompetitive. Jeez, we just seem to be going around in circles. Say, did you notice that little item in there, in which the author mentions the only possible way the USA could compete with Russia in the natural gas market in Europe would be if it had national rights to substantial supplies of gas abroad? Did that give your memory a little tickle, and make you think of Burisma Holdings, and Hunter Biden ?

The Brookings Institute, for God's sake, warned that US LNG could not compete price-wise before the first LNG cargo ever left the USA. Given its sympathies, it seems probable it was intended as a sobering restraint meant to keep the United States from doing something stupid that might expose it to failure and even ruin; it is much less likely to have been an endorsement of Russia's global business practices.

As so often happens, an unhealthy fixation on taking down a largely imagined enemy results in increased risk-taking and a totally unrealistic appraisal of the likelihood of success – it becomes worth doing simply to be doing something. The costs in this instance have included the alienation and infuriating of Germany, the European Union's anchor economy, and angry murmurs from the Gulf States that Washington negotiated production cuts simply to make its own product more competitive. All for nothing, as it happens, because a nation with surplus swing production can always undercut your price, and the nation with the world's lowest production costs should be last on your list of "People I Want To Start A Price War With".

If you were opposed to official Washington's swaggering, bullying modus operandi , this whole unfolding of events probably seems pretty delicious to you. But I've saved the most delicious for last – Trump dares not make any effort to overrule the Senate vote, or get it reframed, because of the successful media campaign to portray him as Putin's secret agent. Any effort to mollify Germany's fury will be seized upon by the reality-challenged Democrats as an opportunity to further discredit the Trump government, by making it appear to be negotiating in Russia's behalf.

You couldn't make it up. PaulR , June 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm

One should never underestimate peoples` willingness to spend vast sums of money on worthless projects. Witness the Canadian government's recent announcement of its plans to increase defense spending by 70%.

When the dust finally settles, the Chinese will end up on top.

marknesop , June 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm
I think you're probably right about that. And if it turns out to be the case, British Columbia will turn out to be the most progressive province in Canada, with its large numbers of Chinese citizens and its Chines-language television stations. At bottom I am mostly a peaceful guy and I don't really care very much who rules the world so long as it doesn't impact my lifestyle.

Once I would have argued strongly for American global leadership, based on a perception that it offered the best chance for prosperity and enlightenment for everyone, but events since have changed my view. Now I think other countries should be left alone in terms of interference, helped where you can lend a hand, and global leadership is an unrealistic aspiration for any country led by humans, since human nature tends to favour self-interest.

I don't know what the Liberals think they are doing, pushing what is essentially an unachievable Conservative platform where defense is concerned. To what end? So we can interfere more effectively on the USA's behalf? We have a good military. There's nothing wrong with keeping it up to date and well-supplied and trained. But a 70% increase is impractical and is only likely to incur the wrath of the non-military portion of the electorate, since the money has to come from somewhere.

PaulR , June 15, 2017 at 5:38 pm
I hadn't been aware of the connection between the sanctions and LNG, so thanks for pointing that out.

Meanwhile, I read this:

'Germany and Austria on Thursday sharply criticized the U.S. Senate's plan to add sanctions on Russia, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost U.S. gas exports and interfere in Europe's energy market. [ ]

"We cannot accept a threat of extraterritorial sanctions, illegal under international law, against European companies that participate in developing European energy supplies," [German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said in a joint statement]. "Europe's energy supply is Europe's business, not that of the United States of America."'

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/06/15/the-us-is-exposing-europes-divide-on-nord-stream-2/

marknesop , June 15, 2017 at 5:58 pm
After all, many other European leaders have publicly clamored for U.S. LNG imports as a way to ease their dependence on Gazprom.

Who? The Baltics? Thanks for that. It's mostly a rehash of the other article, but it does include some interesting insights, and it has a little more credibility than ZeroHedge, although there's little in that with which I can find fault and its breaking news is usually accurate.

That the EU's energy policies are completely outside the USA's remit is correct, but it's a surprise to hear someone of Gabriel's stature actually say it. It seems the USA has decided that forcing Germany to abandon its support for the project is worth trying. That will turn out to be a disastrous mistake, because the business community in Germany contains some of America's staunchest supporters, while anti-Americanism among the German population – especially its youth – is a growing problem. This will do nothing to help it, and it most certainly is not going to persuade Germany to order American LNG.

I urge you to digest the Platts Report in detail, at your leisure – it's illuminating, and I'm sure you will note that Russia's LNG export capability is already far, far ahead of the USA's. So even if pipeline gas proved only competitive with LNG, why would anyone depend on supplies which have to cross the ocean rather than supplies that can come from Kaliningrad?

PaulR , June 15, 2017 at 7:12 pm
As if on cue, Evgeniia Chirikova denounces North Stream II in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/14/gas-pipeline-nord-stream-2-funnel-billions-putin-bypass-sanctions
ucgsblog , June 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm
She's funny: "How can you shout about the transition to renewable, environmentally safe energy and at the same time make plans to increase gas flows into Europe?"

Uhh, Zhenichka, Russia is part of Europe, you can shout about it if you are increasing your energy dependence on both, and if one pipeline is simply replacing another. That's how. That was easy.

"Five European companies are involved but for some mysterious reason, 100% of the shares belong to Gazprom."

Because GazProm is paying $$$ for it. Zhenichka, in a Capitalist Society, those who pay for the shares, get the shares. Did I solve that mystery for you?

marknesop , June 15, 2017 at 10:23 pm
"Five European companies are involved but for some mysterious reason, 100% of the shares belong to Gazprom."

There is nothing mysterious about it; in fact, it is typical Guardian dishonesty. The Nord Stream II Project originally included minority shareholders as shown here . Then Poland introduced its anti-monopoly action and announced the pipeline could not be built. The partners dropped out, and left Gazprom to take the heat alone. When Poland failed in its bid to stop the project and it became clear the EU was all out of arrows – having never had a defensible legal basis – the partners hopped back on, but as investors only. I daresay they stand to make a good return on their investment even without being shareholders. Meanwhile, American meddling is only likely to make Europeans grateful attempts to stop the pipeline failed. I would not like to see their reaction if it ever became clear their governments had committed them to paying higher gas prices just to spite Russia, particularly in view of the USA's limited ability to provide reliable and constant supply.

The Guardian is just being a good American footsoldier, and trying to throw mud in the works for Uncle Sam.

yalensis , June 16, 2017 at 3:37 am
Chirikova works for the Estonian government now.
ucgsblog , June 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm
Beautiful article, and great timing Mark! I love it. This was one of the dumbest bills ever passed. It aimed at Russia, but it's just a take down of Germany. Reminds me of a recent Russian joke:

Obama: "America is mighty! Because of us, Russia's Economy is in ruins!"
Poroshenko: "not Russia's, sir. Ukraine's."
Obama: "Who gives a shit! It's in ruins!"

Also, here's what I'm wondering – can't Russia deliver it by truck or train? Won't that still be less expensive than delivering it by ship?

Jen , June 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm
Nordstream 2 is primarily a gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea.

The main attraction of Nordstream 2 is it avoids transit through countries where tolls and transit fees would have to be paid, whether through land-based pipes, truck or train, and all these expenses added to the eventual cost that would be paid by the end consumer (ie the general public). Plus trucks and trains can be held up or subjected to attacks and gas in land-based pipelines can be siphoned off and diverted as was being done when the gas was passing through Ukraine originally. No such problems if the gas were being delivered through underwater pipelines though we can be sure that Swedish naval submarines (how many of those are there – one?) will be watching them very closely for phantom Russian subs.

marknesop , June 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm

I thought you were talking about LNG, from Kaliningrad. And if so, yes; it certainly could be transported by train, and probably would be.
Jen , June 16, 2017 at 5:46 am
Ah, I thought UCGS' original comment referred to your original post, not the one you sent at 5:58 pm yesterday.

Wouldn't transporting LNG by underground pipeline under its own pressure be a less risky and cheaper option than sending it by train? Trains carrying LNG can only carry so much and have to be specially adapted to transporting it. Plus they share rail networks with other trains so there are issues like how saturated the rail networks supporting LNG rail traffic, other cargo traffic and passenger traffic become, and the pressure this puts on drivers and maintenance of railway tracks, and building more rail lines in and through areas where pipelines could be laid down instead.

marknesop , June 16, 2017 at 8:56 am
It's possible; I'm afraid I don't know enough about it. It seems that when they speak of an LNG 'train', it refers to the liquefaction and purification facility , not a transport vehicle. In order to transport LNG it must be liquefied, which implies freezing it to below -161C. Naturally it must be maintained at a temperature which guarantees its stability as a liquid, until it is appropriate to return it to its gaseous form for use in that form. That's the purpose of the huge container vessels on an LNG tanker – you have to get it cold and then keep it cold.

I just don't know how you would do that in a pipeline. And obviously it would be wildly impractical for a train, I don't know what the hell I thought I was talking about. It could be done, but why? You'd need a hundred miles of teeny little flatcar-sized container vessels to equal what you can transport in an LNG carrier.

Your pipeline would have to originate at an LNG 'train' and terminate at another, somewhere else, so that the liquefaction/gasification process could be practically carried out, much as current NG pipelines use pumping stations. But you would also have to keep the LNG below -160C all the time it was in the pipeline. That's probably physically possible, too, if expense is no consideration, but it seems terribly impractical when NG already goes by pipeline safely at a fraction of what it would cost to transport LNG the same way.

Jen , June 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Ah, I see now of course you wouldn't need to transport NG in liquid form under 160C through pipelines. To transport it by ship or train though, it must be in liquefied form, presumably because as a liquid NG can be measured and quantified, and then exporters can work out how much they can charge for producing and transporting LNG. Not to mention of course that transporting commodities in gaseous form by train and ship is harder and riskier than transporting them as liquids.
marknesop , June 16, 2017 at 3:38 pm
As well, it needs to be liquefied in order to be compressed, to get the volumes you are looking for . One of those container vessels full of uncompressed NG wouldn't be much more than a good-sized European town would need for its barbecues.

LNG achieves a higher reduction in volume than compressed natural gas (CNG) so that the (volumetric) energy density of LNG is 2.4 times greater than that of CNG or 60 percent that of diesel fuel. This makes LNG cost efficient to transport over long distances where pipelines do not exist. Specially designed cryogenic sea vessels (LNG carriers) or cryogenic road tankers are used for its transport. LNG is principally used for transporting natural gas to markets, where it is regasified and distributed as pipeline natural gas.

That does highlight, as well, that if you can use road tankers there really is no reason you could not use trains. But anywhere it is practical to use trains or road transport, you would be asking yourself, "why can't I use a pipeline here?"

et Al , June 16, 2017 at 1:30 am
The US's intervention is even more pathetic than it seems.

This is not a stand alone anti-Russia bill which would signal strength from the US, but an adjunct to the anti-I-ran sanctions bill that continues to seek to punish I-ran in the vague hope that it will pull the plug on the cast-iron nuclear deal it has signed with international partners. The irony there is that I-ran Air is recapitalizing with both Airbus & Boeing (also ATR), 100 odd a piece, not to mention other significant investment opportunities for western firms.

They're quite the Gordian Tits!

Not only is there the potential of the Levianthan gas field off Cyprus/Israel/whatever, brutal dictator Azeri gas will also be arriving in (larger, but not gigantic) quantities. Not to mention that significant buyers of LNG, like the UK, have it come straight from Qatar. Is the US prepared to sell LNG at a discount compared to Qatar that has strategic agreements and its own fundamental interests to be protected by the Western (European) states as well?

So if this plan seems to damage not only the USA's allies but the USA itself, then what is its purpose? Stick it to Trump. Mire any plans to re-balance relations with Russia almost at any cost . It's a no brainer for Democrats as they neither hold a majority in the House or the Senate, and there seem to be enough dog whistle Republicans willing to go along with it, including those with mental problems like John 'Insane' McCaine. Ukraine is almost peripheral except as a convenient tool. It think the US accepts they've screwed the pooch on the Ukraine so its only value is to be used as a festering sore on Russia's frontier. Kiev mops up the completely free public political support whilst it is being kicked in the bollox by the same people.

Lyttenburgh , June 16, 2017 at 9:03 am
Whoop-whoop! A new article so soon!

"Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe's energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options."

"Invisible Hand of the Market" [nod, nod].

"And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine's transition to a powerful western fulcrum "

At first I read it as "western furuncle". That's what it became in the end.

First Rule of the Ukraine: "Every Peremoga turns into Zrada".Want to hear about yet another zrada ? Russia (okay – Mikhail Friedman) bought a German firm Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk (RWE) for $5.72 blns in 2015 . Why it's important? Well, because this firm carries out the reverse gas transition to the Ukraine, thus ensuring its [ha-ha, sorry, sorry!] "Energy Independence" which was officially proclaimed in the same 2015 A.D.

"No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years, something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece". Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them.

Something-something-something Elon Musk something-something Super-technologies something-something-something Innovations! Progress!

And usual stuff, said by the people who believe that the Free Market will "Get the Things Straight" without governmental meddling. Like, Musk will invent cheap multi-use drone-rackets which will deliver gas to the clients across the Ocean. Why not?! They believe in all kinds of stupid stuff already!

The article is fresh breeze of actual facts and hard data – not your usual hurr-durring opinion pieces, passed as "analytics" by the esteemed think-tankers.

P.S. Mark, do you have the same e-mail address?

marknesop , June 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Thanks very much, NS!! I read a book some time ago which used newspaper and wire reports of the various times to thoroughly debunk most of the incidents of ships and aircraft 'disappearing without a trace' in the Bermuda Triangle. In incidents which resulted in total losses of the crew, the author also offered reasonable explanations for what likely happened. I have sailed through it many times myself and observed nothing untoward, although that does not mean much considering the amount of marine traffic which routinely does the same without incident.

Owners of LNG Carriers likewise play up how safe they are, and to the best of my knowledge there has never been a serious accident. However, on the scale of supply the USA is suggesting it wishes to achieve for itself, there could be no days taken off for bad weather, and carriers would have to transit the North Atlantic in winter – which is not generally a fun place to be. Most of my concern with the shipped method is its inherent unreliability compared with pipeline gas.

Northern Star , June 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm
"But Gazprom could block a lot of those cargoes by stepping up export volumes and selling them at prices below what can be achieved by U.S. LNG. Gazprom can export pipeline gas to Europe for $3.50 per million Btu (MMBtu) while American LNG would need prices of $4 to $5/MMbtu. Currently, Gazprom sells gas to Europe at a price of about $5.80/MMBtu on average, but could lower the price to beat U.S. LNG"

I do not see how the USA could begin to economically prevail over the Russians in a
"gas' war..given the above numbers.

"Of course, viewed another way, the growing U.S. export capacity – the mere existence of a competing source of supply – should push down the price that Gazprom is able to charge, a victory for Europe and a blow to Gazprom. Without U.S. LNG, its proponents argue, Russia would not be forced to accept lower prices. "It's the start of the price war between U.S. LNG and pipeline gas," said Thierry Bros, an analyst at Société Générale, according to the WSJ."

Moreover doesn't keeping a lid (cap) on what the Russians can charge for Gazprom gas ipso facto prevent the Americans from competitively pricing their LNG product..particularly in view of the first quote????
Either I'm a little dense today,or the American strategy here makes no sense whasoever.!!!!

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-To-Undermine-Russias-Gas-Monopoly-In-Europe.html

marknesop , June 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm
The latter – the American strategy makes no sense, and its proponents are so high on can-do that you might have to shoot them to get them down. The USA cannot supply either the volume or the consistency of supply to snatch the gas market from Russia, and that must be evident to all but the crazy. As usual, Washington just hopes to get itself into the mix so it will have a seat at the table, because it cannot bear being left out of things and has long been of the opinion that America makes its own reality. Once again, if America owned or controlled substantial gas reserves on the continent and it were practical for the USA to run its own pipeline to Europe, it might be in with a chance if it had sufficient supply, and it is attempts to do that that we should be watching out for. There was speculation much earlier that control of substantial gas holdings was exactly what Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden were up to in Ukraine, but gas extraction is not practical there right now and id assay results had been positive you can bet there would be a lot more American pressure to bring the war to a close.

On that note, I noticed over at Sputnik yesterday that Turchynov was pressuring Poroshenko to bag the ATO and turn it into a full-press military operation, which is just what recent reports said they did not dare to do in case the Ukrainian Army loses. The same report said Poroshenko is about to sign legislation which orders by decree that Donbas resume its place as part of Ukraine. If they say "Pound sand up your ass" as we know they will, Poroshenko may have little alternative to throwing everything he has at them. Of course, I can't find it now; I knew I should have drawn attention to it when I saw it.

I'm sure Russia is watching carefully.

Northern Star , June 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm
I assume the (shipped) American LNG would have to be regasified at a european import terminal. Consulting page six at the link, is it not problematic to then transport the regasified lng product to its (receiving) nation destination. The whole scheme smacks of going around the well to get an expensive cup of water!!!!!
http://documents.jdsupra.com/c6c4403f-ad9f-4740-b184-9fc1f88550ab.pdf
marknesop , June 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm
The liquid LNG can only be unloaded at an LNG terminal, and so far as I am aware a feature of them is that they are connected to a gas hub, so that they can regasify the product directly into the system.
likbez says: June 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm
What I do not understand is why Russians can't increase natural gas consumption dramatically and need to export that much: is it so difficult to build several large chemical plants, increase usage in city transport as less polluting fuel to 100%, promote dual fuel private cars, etc.

In this case they can export saved oil instead using regular tankers which is much simpler then LNG.

I think the current suppression of oil prices by Wall Street (and the new US method of production using along with production of shale oil a parallel production stream of junk bonds which will never be repaid) can't last forever. "Break even" oil price for most shale wells is probably over $60 per barrel. If not $80.

Also without capital investment the annual decline of conventional fields is around 5% a year (most of those fields are really old). Which means approximately 5 million barrels per day are taken off the market automatically each year (no OPEC action is needed), if zero capital investment are done.

Of course Sechin is IMHO a corrupt player here, who cares mostly about his own pocketbook (and stupidly increased investment just before the crash, which later required bailout of the company by the government), but still Russian government has the means to enforce its will even on rogue players.

[Apr 12, 2017] Denmark seeks to change law on pipelines amid Nord Stream 2 divisions

Apr 12, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , April 10, 2017 at 5:00 am

Euractiv with Neuters: Denmark seeks to change law on pipelines amid Nord Stream 2 divisions
http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/denmark-seeks-to-change-law-on-pipelines-amid-nord-stream-2-divisions/

Denmark's government is proposing amending legislation to allow it to ban pipeline projects on the grounds of foreign and security policy, due to concerns raised by Russian efforts to build a disputed gas pipeline through Danish waters.

"We want to have the possibility to say yes or no from a perspective of security and foreign policy," the minister of energy and climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt, told Reuters, adding that it was currently only possible to veto such projects on the grounds of environmental concerns .

Denmark and Sweden earlier this year requested that the European Commission intervene in Nord Stream 2 before the two states agree on permits for the pipeline to pass through their waters. EU diplomats said there was little scope for either nation to block the plan.

The current regulatory framework does not allow Denmark to say "no" to the construction of transit pipelines in territorial waters on the basis of foreign policy considerations, the ministry said in a statement .

EU sources have said the Commission, sensing that there may ultimately be no legal basis to block approval of Nord Stream 2, is delaying it as long as possible .

Denmark's right-wing minority government would now negotiate with other parties to win support for the proposal.
####

' sensing that there may ultimately be no legal basis to block approval..' – Well that's quite a polishing of the EU turd when we know that the EU has no legal way to block the pipeline, sic the opinion of the EU's own Legal Service. How delicate the EU stuffed suits are that they cannot just admit it outright. Oh, but that would be a propaganda victory for Russia. They should be grateful because if they had blocked it, it would have been a very clear message that the EU's Rule of Law which it proudly pronounces around the world is barely a fig leaf that is dropped as the slightest political pressure. It's a joke already, but with a project as big as . as it has done with much political decisions

marknesop , April 10, 2017 at 5:56 am
While they're creating magic out of whole cloth, why not a law that anyone who discovers significant gas deposits anywhere must immediately hand them over to the EU for their exclusive use and disbursement? Or a law that orders massive new gas deposits be discovered in Denmark?
et Al , April 10, 2017 at 6:43 am
I suspect that the government is having a slow news day and as there is absolutely no consequence to Russophobia as it is essentially a free gift that keeps on giving when and wherever is needed, i.e. to distract from domestic politics.

The Whole G7 'How can we f/k up Russia further' conveniently segues with the improvement of Russia's economy and the continued failure of G7 sanctions against Russia. I'm not really sure what else they can do without shooting themselves in the foot.

There's already been some whinging that the West's actions have only further driven it in to China's arms, so WTF? I guess they have to come up with something that looks tough, but isn't. After all, they will need to put out a key statement signed by them all. IN short, 'This spade is far too small. Let's go and get another one!'.

[Feb 06, 2017] Crazy propaganda from Fedbook, sorry Facebook about Russia oil transportation and discovery

Notable quotes:
"... US and EU sanctions only affect Russian offshore projects in the Arctic and development of Russia's tight oil. If sanctions are lifted, projects with foreign participation in these two areas will be able to produce meaningful quantities of oil not before 2025. But these volumes will not be sufficient to flood the market. ..."
"... Russia is participating in OPEC-non-OPEC supply cuts and certainly is not interested in flooding the market and exerting a downward pressure on prices. ..."
"... The only Russia's offshore Arctic project is Prirazlomnoye field developed by Gazpromneft without foreign participation (already producing oil). ..."
"... In general, even if there were no sanctions, Arctic projects would be developed relatively slowly, due to high costs and environmental issues. Russia's long-term energy program anticipates more or less meaningful volumes of oil production in the Arctic offshore only in the 2030s. ..."
"... Everything in that stuff you wrote is baloney. Russia's Black Sea exports go through Novorossysk and Tuapse. There isn't an oil pipeline going to Crimea. Furthermore, putting an oil loading port in Crimea is nutty (because the oil comes from the East and it makes much more sense to load as far to the East as possible). There used to be some oil loaded in Odessa, but that was never a big deal. ..."
"... Regarding the Exxon deal, that's also baloney. But I don't feel like trying to explain the basics to somebody who picks up information from Facebook. ..."
"... From all that I've read, I would conclude that a "flood of oil" out of Russia is about as likely as a "flood of new fracked oil from shales in the United States, not yet drilled." That is, it's rather low on the probability meter. ..."
"... Why target Russia? Is it because of an impending Seneca cliff in Saudi Arabia? They were supposed to peak 10 years ago but water and nitrogen injections kept them afloat. Now? ..."
"... Thus, what the United States is playing at here is trying to install a different "regime" in Russia. That being, one that Vladimir Putin does not control or have any influence over. This is easier said than done and the United States knows this. But the stakes are quite a bit higher than controlling the dwindling oil supply in the Middle East. Russia is obviously in control of most of the world's remaining oil reserves. The United States needs a puppet regime in Russia to have access to that oil without paying the correct market price for it. ..."
"... At some point, this gambit will fail. Russia is not the Middle East. A war with Russia cannot be won or cease-fired out of. Nor can a United States-backed "regime change" succeed over there. This is not the 1990s Russia of Boris Yeltsin. The United States, however, cannot come clean with the truth to the American people. The reason is because if the American people knew the truth, they'd never sleep nights anymore. The truth is this: Our entire economic system is based on petroleum and low-cost petroleum at that. But the actual nightmare is that our entire agricultural system is based on cheap oil." ..."
Feb 06, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 3:59 pm
I saw this on Facebook. Can anyone respond?

"Exxon Mobil, under Rex Tillerson, brokered a deal with Russia in 2013 to lease over 60 million acres of Russian land to pump oil out of (which is five times as much land as they lease in the United States), but all that Russian oil would go through pipelines in the Ukraine, who heavily tax the proceeds, and Ukraine was applying for admission into NATO at the time.

Putin subsequently invaded Ukraine in 2014, secured the routes to export the oil tax-free by sea, and took control of the port where their Black Sea Naval Fleet is based, by taking the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine by force. This was Hitler style imperialism that broke every international law in the free world.
After Obama sanctioned Russia for the invasion, Exxon Mobil could only pump oil from approximately 3 of those 60+ million acres. But now Rex Tillerson is soon to be our Secretary of State, and as of today, there's information circulating that Donald Trump will likely unilaterally remove all sanctions against Russia in the coming days or weeks.

The Russian government's oil company, Rosneft, will make half a trillion (500 Billion) dollars from that much untapped oil, all pumped tax-free through Crimea, stolen from Ukraine, now owned by Russia. Putin may have subverted our government just for this deal to go through."
______

Now, a flood of oil on the market from Russia would likely keep US oil prices down, thus hurting US drillers right?

If one is conspiracy-minded, could that be part of the deal, too? Russia uses low oil prices to take down US oil production, and then tries assert itself as one of the countries left standing.

clueless says: 02/05/2017 at 4:53 pm
In about 1780, Catherine the Great and the Ottoman Empire agreed that the Crimea was a part of Russia. [Yes, there was conflict for years prior (as with any other piece of land in the world).] In 1954, in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the Republic of Ukraine being a part of Russia, Nikita Krushchev "gave" the governance of the Crimea to the Republic of Ukraine. It was not constitutional under the Russian constitution. The UN said nothing about it, nor any other international law body. Krushchev later trumped up an approval without even a quorum.

So the Republic of Ukraine seceded from Russia and took the Crimea with it. In the US, when states (republics) seceded [having been states for much less than 100 years, let alone over 300 years] the rest of the states killed as many people as they could until they "agreed to rejoin the union." People might not like it, but the vast majority of people living in the Crimea had ties to mother Russia, and they voted to go back to being governed by Russia. So, Putin accepted. And please, let's not get into an argument about the fairness of elections, unless your candidate wins.

So, what would we do if Obama gave South Carolina to Florida, and then Florida seceded. I guess that the rest of the states would just say "shucks, we lost South Carolina too." Especially if South Carolina had the only warm water port in the US [the Crimea has the only warm water port in Russia]. The rest of the ports are in the North Sea, etc. And, yes, that is a critical military point.

"This was Hitler style imperialism that broke every international law in the free world." That is a pathetic joke! Okay – let's let the US South secede again, since the Cival War broke every international law in the free world and was exactly the same as Hitler's imperialism.

AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:12 pm
clueless, thanks for the answer.

Just one clarification: the ports in Crimea are not the only warm water ports in Russia.
Russia has several other ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.
Other ports are in the Baltic Sea, Arctic seas and the Pacific; not in the North Sea

clueless says: 02/06/2017 at 1:59 am
Perhaps I am wrong, but are those other ports large enough and deep enough for military use [which I failed to state clearly]? I beleive that Russia still operated their huge military port in the Crimea even after the Ukraine seceded and prior to Russia taking back the Crimea.
AlexS says: 02/06/2017 at 6:17 am
Sevastopol, the largest port in Crimea, was founded by Catherine the Great as Russia's main military port in the Black Sea.

It had special status when Crimea was part of the Soviet Ukraine, and also when Ukraine became independent. Russia had a long-term arrangement with Ukraine for using Sevastopol.

Russia also has a large military port in Novorossiisk (Russian part of Caucasus); but you are right, Sevastopol is deeper, bigger and more convenient.

Duncan Idaho says: 02/06/2017 at 9:18 am
Also, the Russian State originated in the Ukraine.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rurik_dynasty

Rurik set up rule in Novgorod, giving more provincial towns to his brothers. There is some ambiguity even in the Primary Chronicle about the specifics of the story, "hence their paradoxical statement 'the people of Novgorod are of Varangian stock, for formerly they were Slovenes.'" However, archaeological evidence such as "Frankish swords, a sword chape and a tortoiseshell brooch" in the area suggest that there was, in fact, a Scandinavian population during the tenth century at the latest.[3] The "Rurikid Dynasty DNA Project" of FamilyTreeDNA commercial genetic genealogy company reports that Y-DNA testing of the descendants of Rurikids suggests their non-Slavic origin.

Kiev was the Capital of Russia when Moscow was still a hunting camp

AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 5:38 pm
Boomer II,

It's your choice to use Facebook as the main source of information on the oil and gas industry, but please don't repost this BS on the oil-dedicated thread.

Exxon Mobil didn't lease any land in Russia. It is the operator of the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia' Far East (very far from Ukraine); and oil produced from this project is exported by sea (Pacific ocean).

Exxon's JV with Rosneft has also found an oil field in Kara Sea (Russian Arctic), but this project was suspended due to the sanctions.

In the past Russia was exporting a small part of its oil by the "Druzhba" ("Friendship") pipeline through Ukraine and was paying normal transporation fee, not taxes.

Now all Russian oil is exported via Russian oil terminals near Novorossiisk (Black Sea) and Ust-Luga and Primorsk (on the Baltic Sea). New transporation routes include East-Siberia – Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline linking Russian oil fields in Siberia with the ports on Pacific Ocean and with China's Daking; as well as oil terminals in the Arctic (Varandey).

If US sanctions on Russia are lifted, Rosneft and Exxon will be able to develop their joint project in the Artcic, but oil found there certainly is not worth "half a trillion (500 Billion) dollars', and cannot seriously change the global supply-demand balance.

clueless gave you a good answer on Crimea

BTW, 1) there is no oil terminal in Crimea;
2) Russian oil is taxed in Russia

Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 5:59 pm
"It's your choice to use Facebook as the main source of information on the oil and gas industry, but please don't repost this BS on the oil-dedicated thread."

I never use Facebook as a source of information on the oil and gas industry. The topic never comes up among my Facebook friends or my news sources on Facebook. When I want gas and oil info, I use Google to look at legitimate news sources from industry observers.

I just wanted some people's thoughts on that. Your reaction actually tells me a lot about how you think about it.

We've had quite a few discussions here about how politics, both domestic and international, shapes oil production, so I was just inquiring about any insight. I'm rather surprised that you are telling me not to even post a question on the subject. Touchy, maybe?

The relationship between Trump and Russia has triggered some questions, not just among Democrats, but also the GOP. And some people are wondering if there is some tie in about oil.

I just asked, that's all.

AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:31 pm
"some people are wondering if there is some tie in about oil."

The only "tie in" is Exxon's frozen investments in the Pobeda (Victory) field in the Kara Sea. But that's no secret; you can find information on this project on Exxon's and Rosneft's websites and in international business media.

The Sakhalin-1 project is not covered by the sanctions and is being successfully developed.

Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 6:08 pm
And basically what I was asking is this? Will a flood of Russian oil affect US oil prices?

If you are playing US politics, do you want to put more foreign oil on the market?

AlexS says: 02/05/2017 at 6:23 pm
"Will a flood of Russian oil affect US oil prices?"

US and EU sanctions only affect Russian offshore projects in the Arctic and development of Russia's tight oil. If sanctions are lifted, projects with foreign participation in these two areas will be able to produce meaningful quantities of oil not before 2025. But these volumes will not be sufficient to flood the market.

Russia is participating in OPEC-non-OPEC supply cuts and certainly is not interested in flooding the market and exerting a downward pressure on prices.

Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 8:56 pm
So is it possible that the time frame is so far in the future that it's dead to Exxon even if the sanctions are lifted?
AlexS says: 02/06/2017 at 6:05 am
I think Exxon could re-enter the project if the sanctions are lifted. If sanctions are not lifted for several years, Rosneft will likely develop this field independently, but it would take more time as Rosneft lacks experience in offshore projects.

The only Russia's offshore Arctic project is Prirazlomnoye field developed by Gazpromneft without foreign participation (already producing oil).

In general, even if there were no sanctions, Arctic projects would be developed relatively slowly, due to high costs and environmental issues. Russia's long-term energy program anticipates more or less meaningful volumes of oil production in the Arctic offshore only in the 2030s.

Watcher says: 02/05/2017 at 5:53 pm
Politics aside, it's just factually inaccurate.

"Exxon Mobil, under Rex Tillerson, brokered a deal with Russia in 2013 to lease over 60 million acres of Russian land to pump oil out of (which is five times as much land as they lease in the United States), but all that Russian oil would go through pipelines in the Ukraine"

Almost all pipelines through Ukraine are nat gas. Not oil. There is some minor oil flow. "All" is just profoundly absurd.

Russia's oil output is going to Asia and northern Europe via Transneft lines to Poland and Belarus. Not through Ukraine. Haven't looked for where those Exxon leases are, but I'm pretty sure that's the Rosneft joint venture up around the Arctic.

Nowhere near Ukraine. This is all just completely wrong.

Boomer II says: 02/05/2017 at 6:10 pm
Ok. This response is much more helpful.

Now back to my question about prices. What happens when the sanctions are lifted?

Duncan Idaho says: 02/05/2017 at 6:45 pm
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
– Alice in Wonderland
Survivalist says: 02/06/2017 at 12:56 am
FedBook, er I mean Facebook, is a ghetto of sentimentality. I suggest deleting from it. I joined Facebook once for a very short time and the only thing I learnt from it was that most of my friends are idiots.
Fred Magyar says: 02/06/2017 at 2:01 pm
+10
Duncan Idaho says: 02/06/2017 at 3:06 pm
Also +10
One has to be an idiot to be on Facebook
Fernando Leanme says: 02/06/2017 at 9:36 am
Everything in that stuff you wrote is baloney. Russia's Black Sea exports go through Novorossysk and Tuapse. There isn't an oil pipeline going to Crimea. Furthermore, putting an oil loading port in Crimea is nutty (because the oil comes from the East and it makes much more sense to load as far to the East as possible). There used to be some oil loaded in Odessa, but that was never a big deal.

Regarding the Exxon deal, that's also baloney. But I don't feel like trying to explain the basics to somebody who picks up information from Facebook.

GreenPeople's Media says: 02/06/2017 at 1:14 am
From all that I've read, I would conclude that a "flood of oil" out of Russia is about as likely as a "flood of new fracked oil from shales in the United States, not yet drilled." That is, it's rather low on the probability meter.

Again from what I've read (numerous sources) the Russian oil fields are being extracted just about as heavily as they can be at this time, as are the Saudi fields, again relying on a number of different sources.

Without getting too "tinfoil-hatty" I'd say most of the stories about the global oil markets which promise big bursts of production from (heretofore undisclosed) big new oil fields are in the category of "fake news." These stories serve to boost U.S. consumer confidence and U.S. automobile and light truck sales, but contradict what people in the industry (such as Art Berman, Tadeusz Patzek et al.) are saying about future supply.

VK says: 02/06/2017 at 7:20 am
Why target Russia? Is it because of an impending Seneca cliff in Saudi Arabia? They were supposed to peak 10 years ago but water and nitrogen injections kept them afloat. Now?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/jack-perry/?ptype=article

"I've gotten a couple emails from people who have asked me what I think the "end game" is in regards to Russia. And, indeed, the government is going into extra innings with this whole Russia vilification project. This is worse than someone who has held on to a grudge for years. The government does that, too, but they haven't done it over ideology (as with Cuba) for quite some time now. What, then, is the motive?

The motive is perfectly clear: Oil. You see, Russia has already eclipsed Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer. This means the big Saudi oil fields are drying up. And the government knows that, but they can't tell us this because it'll create a panic. One would think this would motivate the United States to get cozier with Russia. However, what the United States government fears is that if we do that, Russia will twig to the motive for it, and realize it has the United States over a barrel. An oil barrel. At which point the price goes up. Not to mention extracting concessions in the global sphere of influence.

Thus, what the United States is playing at here is trying to install a different "regime" in Russia. That being, one that Vladimir Putin does not control or have any influence over. This is easier said than done and the United States knows this. But the stakes are quite a bit higher than controlling the dwindling oil supply in the Middle East. Russia is obviously in control of most of the world's remaining oil reserves. The United States needs a puppet regime in Russia to have access to that oil without paying the correct market price for it.

At some point, this gambit will fail. Russia is not the Middle East. A war with Russia cannot be won or cease-fired out of. Nor can a United States-backed "regime change" succeed over there. This is not the 1990s Russia of Boris Yeltsin. The United States, however, cannot come clean with the truth to the American people. The reason is because if the American people knew the truth, they'd never sleep nights anymore. The truth is this: Our entire economic system is based on petroleum and low-cost petroleum at that. But the actual nightmare is that our entire agricultural system is based on cheap oil."

George Kaplan says: 02/06/2017 at 2:50 pm
Saudi has had water injection for much longer than ten years on pretty well all it's fields and I don't think they are using nitrogen injection anywhere, there may be some small CO2 EOR projects though. Their production has been maintained by developing three old, heavy oil fields that were mostly dormant (Manifa, Khurais and Shaybah), by using a lot of in-fill drilling and intelligent wells (where water breakthrough can be controlled) on maturing fields and by extensively redeveloping offshore fields with new wellhead platforms and adding artificial lift. I don't think their fields are anywhere near drying up; they may be hitting some limits in surface facilities – probably to do with water injection or treatment of produced water which means they have to continually choke back so as not to damage the reservoirs.

[Oct 29, 2016] European Union on Friday lifted limits on Gazproms use of a link from its offshore Nord Stream pipeline to Germany

Notable quotes:
"... Hello …According to Reuters , the European Union on Friday lifted limits on Gazprom's use of a link from its offshore Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, allowing Russia to pump more gas to Europe and bypass its usual routes via Ukraine. ..."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
abynormal October 28, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Hello …According to Reuters , the European Union on Friday lifted limits on Gazprom's use of a link from its offshore Nord Stream pipeline to Germany, allowing Russia to pump more gas to Europe and bypass its usual routes via Ukraine.

…soooooo they're going to begin rebuilding Syria

[Oct 25, 2016] The Next Ukraine

Notable quotes:
"... The Russian-Turkish plan to pipe Russian gas through Turkey and then on to Macedonia and thence into southern Europe has long been opposed by the West, which is seeking to block the Russians at every turn. Now the Western powers have found an effective way to stop it: by overthrowing the pro-Russian government of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski . ..."
"... Speaking of which: the government of President Petro Poroshenko is leading the country into complete financial insolvency and veritable martial law. ..."
"... which makes it a crime to criticize the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) that fought on the side of the Germans during World War II. ..."
May 22, 2015 | Antiwar.com
The Russian-Turkish plan to pipe Russian gas through Turkey and then on to Macedonia and thence into southern Europe has long been opposed by the West, which is seeking to block the Russians at every turn. Now the Western powers have found an effective way to stop it: by overthrowing the pro-Russian government of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

The original plan was for the pipeline to go through Bulgaria, but Western pressure on the government there nixed that and so the alternative was to pipe the gas through Macedonia and Greece. With the Greeks uninterested in taking dictation from the EU – and relatively impervious, at the moment, to Western-sponsored regime change – the Macedonians were deemed to be the weak link in the pro-Russian chain. That was the cue for the perpetually aggrieved Albanians to play their historic role as the West's willing proxies.

After a long period of dormancy, suddenly the "National Liberation Army" (NLA) of separatist Albanians rose up, commandeering police stations in Kumanovo and a nearby village earlier this month. A 16-hour gun battle ensued, with 8 Macedonian police and 14 terrorists killed in the fighting. The NLA, which reportedly received vital assistance from Western powers during the 2001 insurgency, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Simultaneously, the opposition Social Democratic Union party (SDSM) – formerly the ruling League of Communists under the Stalinist Tito regime – called for mass demonstrations over a series of recent government scandals. SDSM has lost the last three elections, deemed "fair" by the OCSE, with Gruevski's conservative VMRO-DPMNE (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity) enjoying a comfortable majority in parliament. But that doesn't matter to the "pro-democracy" regime-changers: SDSM leader Zoran Zaev declared "This will not be a protest where we gather, express discontent and go home. We will stay until Gruevski quits."

Sound familiar?

Macedonia has a long history of manipulation at the hands of the NATO powers, who nurtured the Muslim-Kosovar insurgency to impose their will on the components of the former Yugoslavia. As in Kosovo, the Albanians of Macedonia were willing pawns of the West, carrying out terrorist attacks on civilians in pursuit of their goal of a "Greater Albania."

During the 2001 Albanian insurgency, an outgrowth of the Kosovo war, the EU/US used the NLA as a battering ram against the Slavic authorities. The NLA was never an authentic indigenous force, but actually an arm of the US-armed-and-trained "Kosovo Liberation Army," which now rules over the gangster state of Kosovo, crime capital of Europe. A "peace accord," the Ohrid Agreement, was brokered by the West, which kept the NLA essentially intact, albeit formally "dissolved," while the Macedonian government was blackmailed into submission. I wrote about it at the time, here and here.

Follow that last link to read about the George Soros connection. Soros was originally a big booster of Macedonia, handing them a $25 million aid package and holding the country up as a model of multiculturalism. However, the Macedonians soon turned against him when he sided with the Albanians in their demands for government-subsidized Albanian-language universities and ethnic quotas for government jobs. When he told them to change the name of the country to "Slavomakejonija," they told him to take a walk. Soros, a longtime promoter of Albanian separatism – he played sugar daddy to a multitude of front groups that promoted the Kosovo war – is now getting his revenge.

Prime Minister Gruevski, for his part, charges that the sudden uptick in ethnic violence and political turmoil is the work of Western "NGOs" and intelligence agencies (or do I repeat myself?) with the latter playing a key role in releasing recordings of phone conversations incriminating several top government officials. A not-so-implausible scenario, given what happened in neighboring Ukraine.

Speaking of which: the government of President Petro Poroshenko is leading the country into complete financial insolvency and veritable martial law. Aid money from the West is going into the prosecution of the ongoing civil war, and the country has already defaulted on its huge debt in all but the formal sense. Opposition politicians and journalists are routinely murdered and their deaths reported as "suicides," while it is now illegal to describe the ongoing conflict with the eastern provinces as anything but a "Russian invasion." Journalists who contradict the official view are imprisoned: Ruslan Kotsaba, whose arrest I reported on in this space, is still being held, his "trial" a farce that no Western journalist has seen fit to report on. Kotsaba's "crime"? Making a video in which he denounced the war and called on his fellow Ukrainians to resist being conscripted into the military. Antiwar activists throughout the country have been rounded up and imprisoned. Any journalist connected to a Russian media outlet has been arrested.

Yes, these are the "European values" Ukraine is now putting into practice. Adding ignominy to outrage, a law was recently passed – in spite of this Reuters piece urging Poroshenko to veto it – which makes it a crime to criticize the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) that fought on the side of the Germans during World War II. As Ha'aretz reports, a group of 40 historians from major Western academic institutions issued an open letter protesting this outrage:

"Not only would it be a crime to question the legitimacy of an organization (UPA) that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of ethnic cleansing in the history of Ukraine, but also it would exempt from criticism the OUN, one of the most extreme political groups in Western Ukraine between the wars, and one which collaborated with Nazi Germany at the outset of the Soviet invasion in 1941. It also took part in anti-Jewish pogroms in Ukraine and, in the case of the Melnyk faction, remained allied with the occupation regime throughout the war."

Ukraine is showing its true colors, which I identified last year, to the point where even the usually compliant Western media is forced to admit the truth.

[Sep 10, 2016] Oil and gas crunch pushes Russia closer to fiscal crisis

It is pretty interesting and educational to read such articles one year after they are published.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia is already in dire straits. The economy has contracted by 4.9pc over the past year and the downturn is certain to drag on as oil prices crumble after a tentative rally. Half of Russia's tax income comes from oil and gas. ..."
"... Core inflation is running at 16.7pc and real incomes have fallen by 8.4pc over the past year, a far deeper cut to living standards than occurred following the Lehman crisis. ..."
"... This man "forecasted" Russia's demise last year. He has to show that that forecast is still liable to happen ..."
"... What Colby said is palpably true. That is why we don't hear real news and instead we are bombarded with news about their "celebs" ..."
"... He should know. And certainly, Western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis demonstrated to many millions of people in the West that major Western media is almost all controlled by the US neocons. Anyone with half a brain can see that - but clearly not you. ..."
"... Russia is not interested in invading anyone. The US has tried to force Russia to invade Ukraine in an iraq style trap but it didn't work. So they had to invent an invasion, the first in living memory without a single satellite, video or photo image of any air campaign, heavy armour, uniformed soldiers, testimony from friends & family of servicemen they could pay to get a statement, not even a mobile photo of a Russian sitting on a tank. ..."
"... As the merkins tell us a devalued dollar is your problem.. the devalued rouble is the EUs problem! ..."
"... So the political sanctions are bankrupting Russia because they dared to challenge EU expansion. Result millions of poor Russians will start to flow West and the UK will have another flood of Eastern Europeans. But at least we showed them our politicians are tough. ..."
"... Spelling it out for Russia (or Britain) that would mean giving up Byzantine based ambitions and prospering through alliances with the Muslim Nation or Countries, including Turkey. In the short term such a move would quell internal dissent of the 11m immigrants in Russia, reduce unsustainable security expenditure with its central Asian neighbours, open and expand market for Russian goods in the Middle East, Far East and North Africa, and eventually form and provide a military-commercial -political alliance (like NATO) for the Muslim nations with Russia (with partner strength based upon what is mostly commercial placed on the table (see the gist in the Vienna Agreement between P5+1 and Iran). ..."
"... The formation of such an alliance would trump Russia's (or Britain's) opponents ambitions and bring prosperity. ..."
"... Propaganda. Laughable coming from the UK hack when the UK has un-payable debt and Russia has little external debt plus we have no Gold and Russia has probably 20,000 tonnes. NATO surrounds Russia yet they are the aggressors. ..."
"... In the end, Ambrose is too ideological to be credible on the issue. Sure, Russia has couple lean years ahead, but it will come out of this ordeal stronger, not weaker. There are already reports of mini boomlets gathering steam under the surface. ..."
Jul 23, 2015 | Telegraph

Russia is already in dire straits. The economy has contracted by 4.9pc over the past year and the downturn is certain to drag on as oil prices crumble after a tentative rally. Half of Russia's tax income comes from oil and gas.

Core inflation is running at 16.7pc and real incomes have fallen by 8.4pc over the past year, a far deeper cut to living standards than occurred following the Lehman crisis. This time there is no recovery in sight as Western sanctions remain in place and US shale production limits any rebound in global oil prices.

"We've seen the full impact of the crisis in the second quarter. It is now hitting light industry and manufacturing," said Dmitri Petrov from Nomura.

"Russia is going to be in a very difficult fiscal situation by 2017," said Lubomir Mitov from Unicredit. "By the end of next year there won't be any money left in the oil reserve fund and there is a humongous deficit in the pension fund. They are running a budget deficit of 3.7pc of GDP but without developed capital markets Russia can't really afford to run a deficit at all."

A report by the Higher School of Economics in Moscow warned that a quarter of Russia's 83 regions are effectively in default as they struggle to cope with salary increases and welfare costs dumped on them by President Vladimir Putin before his election in 2012. "The regions in the far east are basically bankrupt," said Mr Mitov.

Russian companies have to refinance $86bn in foreign currency debt in the second half of this year. They cannot easily roll this over since the country is still cut off from global capital markets, so they must rely on swap funding from the central bank.

Dave Hanson

For once, Flimflambrose paints a fairly accurate picture. His formula is to take a few facts and stretch them to their illogical conclusion to create a story that sells subscriptions to the Telegraph. Sort of like the National Enquirer. He does that well. He only mentions the other side of the story in a sentence or two, usually at the end of his column. The scary headline at the top comes true perhaps one in a thousand times, just enough to keep readers from totally dismissing him as a fruitcake. Not yellow journalism. Clever journalism.

steph borne

jezzam steph borne •a day ago

''Under Putin Russia has progressed from a respectable rank 60 on the transparency international corruption index to an appalling rank 140. It is now one of the most corrupt countries in the world, entirely due to Putin.'' http://www.theguardian.com/wor...
.
jezzam is using the Corruption Perceptions Index as fact?
but it is ''Perceptions''???
''The CPI measures perception of corruption due to the difficulty of measuring absolute levels of corruption.[8]'' Wiki
Just more nonsense from Jezzam

soton

my wife is russian, she speak's to her mother on the phone every day, from what she tell's me nothing has changed economically for the "average joe" no doubt some of the abramovich types have seen the value of their properties plunge

Rosbif2

So if Russia is financially sinking below the waves, how come AEP in other articles claimed that Russia could buy themselves into Greece and menace Europe?
It seems like Greece & Russia are two drowning men who would grab onto each other & drown even faster
AEP seems to lack "joined up thinking" in his articles

giltedged

This man "forecasted" Russia's demise last year. He has to show that that forecast is still liable to happen

What Colby said is palpably true. That is why we don't hear real news and instead we are bombarded with news about their "celebs"

Real news to show that a new world economy is being built totally outside the control of US Neocons and Globalists, that the world is now multi-polar, that for example this journalist's capital city, London, now has officially a majority of the population not merely non-British in origin, but non-European, that his own country survives because of London property sales

Richard N

And isn't AEP rubbing his hands with glee at this supposedly desperate situation of Russia!

Colby, the ex-boss of the CIA, said in retirement that there is no journalist of consequence or influence in the Western media that the CIA 'does not own'.

I often find myself remembering that, when I read Ambrose pumping out the US neocon / CIA propaganda standard lines about 'Russian aggression' in Ukraine, and so on - choosing to ignore the fact that Russia's action in Crimea was in direct response and reaction to the US Neocons' coup in Ukraine, which overthrew an elected government in a sovereign state, to replace it with the current US puppet regime in Kiev.

Of course, this collapse of oil and gas prices are no accident at all - but are part of America's full-scale economic war against Russia, aiming to get Putin overthrown, and replaced by someone controlled by the US Globalists, leaving then
China as the only major power centre in the world outside the Globalists' control.

Richard N > jezzam • a day ago

If you bothered to read what I wrote carefully, you would see that, with reference to journalists, I was simply repeating what ex-head of the CIA Mr. Colby said.

He should know. And certainly, Western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis demonstrated to many millions of people in the West that major Western media is almost all controlled by the US neocons. Anyone with half a brain can see that - but clearly not you.

steph borne

''Russian bear will roar once more, says World Bank''

01 Jun 2015

''Russia economy forecast to grow by 0.7pc next year, reversing negative growth
forecast''

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin...

steph borne > TheBoggart

Do you understand what a trade surplus is?

Russia recorded a trade surplus of 15309 USD Million in May of 2015 http://www.tradingeconomics.co...

Halou > steph borne

Carried on to the absurd extreme at which all the dollars are held outside of America, the US simply prints more money thus devaluing it's currency and favoring exports (which are then cheaper to produce and cheaper buy) people giving their currency to the US in return for goods and services and restoring economic balance.

I can understand that Russia doesn't have much experience with the 'boom and bust' cycles of market economies. They've had less than 20 years experience at it.

Did you know that in the 19th century China's trade surplus with Europe was so vast that Europe almost went bankrupt and ran out of precious metals buying Chinese goods, surely by your thinking it was truly a golden age of eastern supremacy, western failure. Ask any Chinese person what the 19th century means to them, you might be surprised.

steph borne > Halou

Shame you can't provide a link or two to back up your thoughts on trade surpluses.. altho I know amongst bankrupt countries they tell you that money/assets leaving the country is a good thing....

Strange that the Germans don't agree --

''Germany recorded a trade surplus of 19600 EUR Million in May of 2015. Balance ...reaching an all time high of 23468.80 EUR Million in July of 2014...'' http://www.tradingeconomics.co...

Obviously another country heading for financial self-destruction

steph borne

02 Oct 2014 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... 02 Oct 2014
Russias-economy-is-being-hit-hard-by-sanctions.html

01 Sept 2014 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... 01 Sept 2014 Cameron-we-will-permanently-damage-Russias-economy.html
cameron says.??? Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

29 Dec 2014 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... 29 Dec 2014 /Recession-looms-for-Russia-as-economy-shrinks-for-first-time-since-2009.html

24 Nov 2014 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... 24 Nov 2014 Russia-faces-recession-as-oil-crash-and-sanctions-cost-economy-90bn.html

22 Dec 2014 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... 22 Dec 2014 Russia-starts-bailing-out-banks-as-economy-faces-full-blown-economic-crisis.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... 29 Apr 2015
Ukraines-conflict-with-Russia-leaves-economy-in-ruins.htm
.
Still going!!!

Graham Milne

Russia has physical assets (oil, minerals and so on); we don't. It is the UK which is toast, not Russia.

billsimpson > Graham Milne

Russia is way too big & resource rich to ever be total toast. And the people are educated, even if they do drink a lot. But they could get a bit hungry in another economic collapse. All the nukes they have is the real problem. Those need to be kept secure, should another revolution occur, or the country break apart after an economic collapse.
The US & Canada would never sit back and watch the UK melt down. Witness the Five Eyes communal global spying system.
Electrify all the rail system that you can, so people can still get around on less oil. Some oil is essential for growing and transporting food.

Sal20111

Russia can't just blame it on sanctions, or price wars in oil and gas. They have not reinvested the proceeds of their prodigous fossil fuel sales smartly and neither have they diversified quickly enough - the gas sales to China was an afterthought after Ukraine.

Putin cracked down on some of the oligarchs but not all - national wealth has clearly been sucked out by a few. Nepotism and favouritism seem to be rife. They should have learnt the lesson from their communist history not to concentrate power in state contriolled organisations. Not sure whether there is much of a small to medium business culture.

With the amount of natural resources it has, and a well educated public, particularly in math and technical skills, Russia should be doing much better.

rob22

Russia is not interested in invading anyone. The US has tried to force Russia to invade Ukraine in an iraq style trap but it didn't work. So they had to invent an invasion, the first in living memory without a single satellite, video or photo image of any air campaign, heavy armour, uniformed soldiers, testimony from friends & family of servicemen they could pay to get a statement, not even a mobile photo of a Russian sitting on a tank.

Russia is too busy building up an independent agriculture and import substitution, not to mention creating economic and trade links with its Eurasian neighbours like China & India via the silk road, BRICS, Eurasian Ecconomic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

A total nightmare for the US which once hoped to divide & dominate the region (see new American century doc)

Putin enjoys about 85% approval ratings (independent foreign stats) because it knows to surrender to the US means a return to the 90`s where the nations oil revenue went to wall st and everything else

If things get bad they`ll just devalue the ruble, get paid in dollars and spend in rubles.

This is why most Russians are willing to dig in and play the long game.

Londonmaxwell

Over the top with Ambrose, as usual. Words like "depression", "crisis", "plummet", and "shrivels"; and these only in the first two paragraphs! Moscow looks absolutely normal to me: traffic jams, packed malls and restaurants, crowded airports and train stations. Unemployment is low, inflation is tolerable.

Ambrose misses some key points.

Russia's present situation is not glorious, but it is not as precarious as Ambrose portrays it to be. Be wary of writing off Russia. The great game is just beginning.

energman58 > Londonmaxwell

Except that the slack has to be taken up by inflation and declining living standards - Russia isn't unique; in Zimbabwe dollar terms almost every company there did splendidly but the place is still bust. The problem is that most of the debt is USD denominated and without the investment blocked by sanctions they are looking at a declining production, low oil prices and an increasing debt service burden. Presumably they could revert to the traditional model of starving the peasants that has served them so well in the past but I am not sure if the people with the real stroke will be quite so happy to see their assets wither away...

Londonmaxwell > energman58

Comparing Russia with Mugabeland is a stretch, but I see your point. If the sanctions stay and the oil price goes south permanently, then Moscow has problems. But I question both assumptions. Merkel/Hollande/Renzi already face huge pressure from their business leaders to resume normal relations with Russia; i.e., drop the sanctions. As for oil prices, the USA's shale sector is already in trouble. Russia's debt burden (both public and private) is manageable and can scarcely worsen since it is cut off from the credit markets. While the oil price slump certainly hurts Russia's economy, I don't see the wheels falling off anytime soon.

AEP writes well and is always thought-provoking, but his view that Russia is facing Armageddon because of oil prices and sanctions is way off the mark.

steph borne

Here come the Ukrainian Nazis.. You lot must be very happy
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/e... 18 minutes in..
Maidan number 3 on the way as I predicted a year ago.

midnightrambler

Amazing how the narrative for military action is being fostered by articles such as this one.

So many people eager for something they have no intention of getting involved in themselves

snotcricket

It is rather odd the posts on this thread accusing any & all who question the obvious US gov line in such articles.

Could it be that some have better memories ie the Ukrainian crisis was in fact created by the support of the US & EU for but a few thousand sat in Independence Sq just two years after the country had voted in the target with a majority the likes of Cameron, Obama could only dream of.

Only an idiot could not have seen the Russki response to a situation that could in but a very short timescale see NATO troops & kit but a literal footstep from Russki soil....while the ports used by the Russki fleets would be lost overnight usurped no doubt by a 'NATO' fleet of US proportions.....plainly the US knew the likely outcome to the deposing of the elected leader & replaced by the EU puppets....the Russki's had little option.....Putin or no Putin this would have been the outcome.

With regard to the US led attack on the Russki economy with sanctions....well those sanctions hurt the UK too...but of course not the US (they have lobbyist for such matters) our farmers were hurting afore the sanctions....that became a damn sight worse after the imposition.

The US attempts to turn off the oil/gas taps of Putin has done damage to the Russkis, similarly its done damage to W. Europe thus ourselves as oil prices are now held at a level by the sanctions reducing world supplies (the US have lobbyists for such matters) thus the god of the US, the market is skewed & forecourt prices too sighed Osborne as the overall taxation gathers 67% of what goes through the retailers till.

This has been rumbling for over 3 years since the BRICS held their meeting to create a currency that would challenge the $ in terms of the general w.w economy but specifically oil. They did mistime the threat & should have kept their powder dry as the US economy like our own lives on borrowed time & money.....but they made the mistake the US was in such decline they couldn't respond....of course the US have the biggest of all responses to any threat....its armed forces & their technology that advances far more rapidly than any economy.

Incidentally I write this sat at my laptop in the North of England in between running my own business & contacting clients etc..........I suspect my politics would make Putin wince.....however the chronology, actions/outcomes & the general logic of the situation has now't to do with supporting one or t'other.......& do remember the US grudgingly acknowledge without the Russkis the er, er agreement with Iran & non-proliferation would still be a can yet to be kicked down the road.

Personally I'd be more worried that Putin has made fools of the US/EU leaders so many times thus wonder just what is the intent in assisting the brokering of any deal? With the West & Iran.

steph borne

If Russia was worried about the oil price they would not have been so helpful in getting the usa & Iran together on a deal which will put more downward pressure on the oil price! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... Barack Obama praises Putin for help clinching Iran deal

oleteo

Reading this article I saw only one message to be sent to the Russians:"Russians,surrender!" The rumours about the desease and the ongoing decease of the Russian economy are greatly exaggerated.

steph borne

June 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm Boeing said it struck a $7.4 billion deal to sell 20 of its 747-8 freighters to Russia's Volga-Dnepr Group, providing a much-needed boost to the jumbo-jet program amid flagging demand for four-engine aircraft. http://www.seattletimes.com/bu...
MOSCOW, Russia (May 26, 2015) – Bell Helicopter,
a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today an agreement with
JSC Ural Works of Civil Aviation (UWCA) for the development of final
assembly capabilities by UWCA for the Bell 407GXP in order to support
UWCA in obtaining Russian registry to facilitate their operations. http://www.bellhelicopter.com/...
.
Oh business as normal at Bell looks like sanctions only to be paid heed by the useful idiots in the EU

snotcricket > steph borne

Yes the sanctions do seem to TTIP more in the US favour than their Western, er, er partners

Sonduh

Just like Brown Osborne is reducing borrowing but encouraging consumer debt which is close to 120% GDP. By the end of next year household debt will be 172% of earnings.Once household debt reaches saturation point and they start defaulting on their debt as they did in 2008 -- Game over. I hear the Black Sea is nice this time of year.

steph borne

A report by Sberbank warned that Gazprom's revenues are likely to drop by almost a third to $106bn this year from $146bn in 2014, seriously eroding Russia's economic base.''

Last year $146 billion bought 4672 billion pybs this year $106 billion will buy 6148 Billion pybs
Gazprom alone generates a tenth of Russian GDP and a fifth of all budget revenues. the Pyb devaluation vs. $ has led to a 31% increase in revenues..

Something Salmond should take notice of should the SNP want to go for independence again. Inflation at 16% may well be but its the price of imported stuff pushing up the prices.. mainly EU goods for sale .. that won't be bought!

As the merkins tell us a devalued dollar is your problem.. the devalued rouble is the EUs problem!

Nikki Santoro

What is happening is the Anglo-Muricuns are actively provoking the Chinese and Russkies into a war. However once it is all said and done, they are going to need a cover story. People are going to ask why the Russkies attacked. And then the Anglo-Muricuns are going to say that Putin put all his eggs in one basket. Yeah that is what happened but really if Putin does attack, it will be because of the endless Anglo-Muricun provocations. Just as they provoked Hilter to no end and Imperial Japan as well.

steph borne

Russian companies have to refinance $86bn....''

So what are you going to do if they default.. go in and repossess..You and who's army? They are struggling trying to get Greece to comply..

Russia's trade surplus is still in the Billions of Dollars while the usa's & UKs is mired in deficit.. Russia recorded a trade surplus of 17.142 USD Billion in May of 2015 http://www.tradingeconomics.co....

Debt public/ external debt ratios

U. K..................92%........317%
usa...................74%......... 98%
And
Russia...............8%..........40%

''And while UK growth could reach 3pc this year, our expansion is far too reliant on rising personal and government debt. ''
''The UK, with an external deficit now equal to 6pc of GDP, the second-largest in half a century,''
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin...
As ever the west points to Russia and says Look over there (for God's sake don't look here!)

Sonduh > steph borne

And don't forget all their gold reserves. And all their natural resources.

Skalla

Prosperous countries are usually benevolent (the US being the exception to the rule). Hungry countries get to be greedy and aggressive. The US with its economic and financial manipulations will turn a sleepy bear into a very awake and ravenous one, and after hibernation, the first thing bears do is FEED --

vandieman

A cynic could say that the US is driving the oil prices down to push Russia into a war.

Anth2305 > vandieman

Wait until Iranian oil comes fully on stream, which I heard some pundit on TV say could drive the cost down to < $30 a barrel, forcing the Saudis into having to eat massively into their foreign reserves.

gardiner

When the old USSR 'collapsed', what we call the 'Oligarchs' ( a collection of the most highly influential State officials who pocketed practically all the old State assets) corruption was at the very highest level, and society was at its weakest.

The economy became dependant on resource exports.

Because the country's capital was so concentrated, there was practically no 'middle class' of entrepreneurs who could invest capital in job creating, internationally competitive industry.
Although a lot further down this road than the UK - the warning is stark!

beatonthedonis > gardiner

Abramovich wasn't a state official, he was a rubber-duck salesman. Berezovsky wasn't a state official, he was an academic. Khodorkovsky wasn't a state official, he was a PC importer. Gusinsky wasn't a state official, he was an unlicensed cab driver. Smolensky wasn't a state official, he was a blackmarketeer. Fridman wasn't a state official, he was a ticket tout.

daddyseanicus

So the political sanctions are bankrupting Russia because they dared to challenge EU expansion. Result millions of poor Russians will start to flow West and the UK will have another flood of Eastern Europeans.

But at least we showed them our politicians are tough.

Busufi > Jonathan

In the East there is a saying: Why use poison when sugar delivers the same result. Or say as Deng said, It doesn't matter whether the Cat is black or white, so long it catches the mice.

Spelling it out for Russia (or Britain) that would mean giving up Byzantine based ambitions and prospering through alliances with the Muslim Nation or Countries, including Turkey. In the short term such a move would quell internal dissent of the 11m immigrants in Russia, reduce unsustainable security expenditure with its central Asian neighbours, open and expand market for Russian goods in the Middle East, Far East and North Africa, and eventually form and provide a military-commercial -political alliance (like NATO) for the Muslim nations with Russia (with partner strength based upon what is mostly commercial placed on the table (see the gist in the Vienna Agreement between P5+1 and Iran).

The formation of such an alliance would trump Russia's (or Britain's) opponents ambitions and bring prosperity.


Sonduh

" They are running a budget deficit of 3.7pc of GDP but without developed capital markets Russia can't really afford to run a deficit at all."
We are able to have a budget deficit of 4.8% and 90% national debt, 115% non financial corporate debt , 200% financial corporate debt and 120% household debt due to voodoo economics ie. countries can print money to buy your debt.

PS we also have unfunded liabilities like pensions which amounts to many hundred pc of GDP.
The results showed the extraordinary sums that Britain has committed to pay its future retirees. In total, the UK is committed to paying £7.1 trillion in pensions to people who are currently either already retired or still in the workforce.

This is equivalent to nearly five times the UK's total economic output. Such a figure may be hard to put into proportion, as a trillion – a thousand billion – is obviously a huge number.

And we think Russia is in a bad state.

georgesilver

Propaganda. Laughable coming from the UK hack when the UK has un-payable debt and Russia has little external debt plus we have no Gold and Russia has probably 20,000 tonnes. NATO surrounds Russia yet they are the aggressors.

Laughable but idiots still believe the propaganda.

tarentius > georgesilver

The entire world combined has 32,000 tonnes of gold reserves. Russia has 1,200 tonnes.

Russia has government debt of 18% to GDP, a contracting GDP. It is forced to pay interest of 15% on any newly issued bonds, and that's rising. And it has a refinancing crisis on existing debt on the horizon.

Russia's regions are heavily in debt and about 25% of them are already bankrupt. The number is rising.

And we haven't even gotten into the problem with Russian business loans.

Turn out the lights, the party's over for Russia.

Bendu Be Praised > mrsgkhan

The issue is the medias portrayal of Putin .. If the UK media was straight up with the people and just said .. "our friends in the US hate the Russians .. The Russians are growing too big and scary therefore we are going to join in destroying the Russian economy before they become uncatchable " the people would back them ..

Lets be honest .. The Russians don't do anything that we don't .. Apart from stand up to the US that is

Jim0341

Yesterday, AEP spread the gloom about China, today it is Russia. As ever, he uses quotes from leading figures in banks and finance houses, which are generally bemoaning low returns on investments, rather than the wellbeing, or otherwise, of the national economy..
Whose turn is it tomorrow, AEP? My bet is Taiwan.

Bendu Be Praised > FreddieTCapitalist

I think you will find that the UK are just pretending the sanctions and wars are not hurting us ..

Just look at the budget .. 40% cuts to public services .. America tried to destroy the Russian economy by flooding the market with cheap oil but it will come back to bite them ..

The UK should just back off .. lift sanctions against Russia and let the US squabble with them by themselves ..

I sick of paying taxes for the US governments "War on the terror and the rest of the world"

alec bell

This article makes no sense. First of all, there is no way that Gazprom is responsible for 1/10th of Russia's GDP. That is mathematically impossible. 1/20th is more like it. Second, if push comes to shove, Russians are perfectly capable of developing their own vitally-important technologies. Drilling holes in the ground cannot be more complicated than conquering space.

Whatever problems Russia has, engineering impotence is not one of them.

And third, if Russians' reliance on resourses' exports has led to "the atrophy of their industry" as AEP rightly points out, then it must logically follow that disappearance of that revenue will inevitably result in their industrial and agricultural renaissance.

In the end, Ambrose is too ideological to be credible on the issue. Sure, Russia has couple lean years ahead, but it will come out of this ordeal stronger, not weaker. There are already reports of mini boomlets gathering steam under the surface.

alec bell > vlad

vlad, JFYI: According to research conducted by the World Economic Forum (which excludes China and India due to lack of data), Russia leads the way, producing an annual total of 454,000 graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction. The United States is in second position with 237,826 while Iran rounds off the top three with 233,695. Developing economies including Indonesia and Vietnam have also made it into the top 10, producing 140,000 and 100,000 engineering graduates each year respectively.

Nikki Santoro

Don't mess with the Anglo-Muricuns. They will jack you up bad. Unless you are thousands of miles away and posting anonymously. But even still they can lens you out and cleanse you out should you take it too far. However their dominance is not some much because of their brilliance. They don't have any despite their propaganda. But rather the depths they are willing to stoop to in order to secure victory. Like blowing up an airliner and then pinning it on you for instance. Or poisoning their own farmland.

steve_from_virginia

Futures' traders got burned earlier this year betting that oil prices would rise right back to where they were a year previously. Now they have 'gotten smart'. They know now the problem isn't Saudi Arabia but billions of bankrupt consumers the world around.

Customers are bankrupt b/c of QE and other easing which shifts purchasing power claims from customers to drillers -- and to the banks. As the customers go broke so do the banks: instead of gas lines there are ATM lines.

At the same time, ongoing 'success' at resource stripping is cannibalizing the purchasing power faster than ever before. Soon enough, the claims will be worthless! When the resource capital is inaccessible, so is the purchasing power -- which is the ability to obtain that resource capital.

Business has caught itself in the net of its own propaganda; that there is such a thing as material progress out of waste ... that a better future will arrive the day after tomorrow.

Turns out tomorrow arrives and things get worse. Who could have thunk it?

Brabantian

If AEP is as right about Russia as he was about the Yank shale gas 'boom' - now collapsing into a pile of toxic bad debt -

Then our Russian friends have nothing to worry about

midnightrambler > Guest

The largest military spend - the US - bigger than the next 20 countries combined
The most bases - the US with 800, including many in Germany
Nobody wants war - but the US needs it as their largest industry is defence - apart from manipulative banking.
We are heading for a point of rupture between those who are peaceful and those whose main aim is control and conflict.
Take your pick
A few leaders choose war - most people (who will fight those wars) choose peace.
And of course all wars are bankers' wars - it is only they who profit

Timothy D. Naegele

Both Putin and Russia are in a spiral, from which they will not recover.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.... ("Putin Meets Economic Collapse With Purges, Broken Promises")

Tony Cocks > Timothy D. Naegele

"Both Putin and Russia are in a spiral, from which they will not recover."

This from someone whose former President and gang of criminal henchmen lied to the world on a monumental scale about WMD in Iraq , and waged an illegal war on that country killing hundreds of thousands in the process . Following that it was Libyas turn , then Syrias . Now its Russia the US neo con warmongers are hounding, the difference being that Russia holds the worlds biggest nuclear arsenal.
The US forces had their kicked out of Vietnam and were thoroughly beaten despite throwing everything they had at the conflict save the nuclear option.
Imagine what will happen if it eventually comes to armed conflict with Russia.

midnightrambler > Timothy D. Naegele

A yank lawyer advocating killing.
From the land of citizen killers
What a surprise
Stay away

stephenmarchant

Instead of demonising Putin and banging on about the problems of the Russian economy the MSM should be worried about indebted Western economies including the UK and US. Russian Govt finances are not burdened with nearly £2trn of debt that has funded unsustainable nominal growth. Here in the UK the real GDP growth per capita is declining at over 3% per anum so as a nation the UK is continuing its decline:-

Govt deficit at 5% per anum
Govt debt at about 80% GDP
Private debt and corporate debt each of a similar order
Record current account deficit of about 5% per anum
A deteriorating NIIP (Net International Investment Position)
Uncontrolled immigration

Our whole debt based fiat system is on the brink but few can see it whilst they party with asset and property bubbles. A few of us foresaw the first crash of 2007/8 but we now face a systemic collapse of our fiat system because of the resulting 'extend and pretend' policy of Govts and central bankers.

In the final analysis the true prosperity of a nation will depend upon its natural resources, infrastructure, skills of its workforce and social cohesion.

Graham Milne > JabbaTheCat

The scale of Russian kleptocracy pales into vanishing insignificance beside the criminality of western banks (and the government who 'regulate' them). Europe and the USA are regimes run by criminals; worse than that, they are run by traitors. At least Putin isn't a traitor to his country.

Busufi

The best way for Russia to beat the downturn in it's oil and gas is to invest in down-stream strategic production of petroleum products that would give Russia a competitive advantage on a global scale.

Selling raw natural resources is the Third World way of exports. Not smart.

[Aug 12, 2016] Poland just completed an LNG import terminal and talking about sending Qatari gas from the LNG terminal to Lithuania and the rest of Europe, to reduce horrible dependence on Russian gas, even if LNG gas is priced 3X higher than piped GAZPROM gas

peakoilbarrel.com
Watcher , 08/10/2016 at 1:32 am
GAZPROM wins. Gas will flow thru Turkey to Europe. The amounts will increase. Ukraine will soon no longer be a conduit, and lose all clout when they try to dodge paying the bill for their own.

Probably back in the Russian sphere of influence in a few years, assuming the EU won't pay their gas bill, and the present leadership will be wards of the EU somewhere in Germany. Actually, were Russia wise, they would just refuse gas to the Ukraine at any price. Surrender or freeze. Maybe needlessly heavy handed. Just impose increasingly crushing conditions. With a smile.

https://www.rt.com/business/355245-turkey-restart-tukish-stream/

Watcher , 08/11/2016 at 1:32 am

Europe Nat Gas consumption:
1.132 billion cubic meters/day (from mazama and converted to m^3)

minus Europe Nat Gas production –> about 570 million cubic meters/day imported (9.5% increase in 2015) X 365 = 208 billion cubic meters/yr

Nordstream pipeline 55 billion cubic meters/yr plans to double by 2019 to 110 billion m^3/yr. That's Gazprom thru Germany.

Ukraine pipeline(s) into Europe presently: 142 billion cubic meters/year.

Belarus pipeline(s) into Europe presently: 38 billion cubic meters/year

Adds to 235 billion cubic meters/yr which is 20 some billion more than the Euro number above because some is going to Macedonia, Serbia and other none EU countries. Relatively inconsequential.

Note that the popular phrasing that Russia only provides 31% of Europe's gas is almost certainly bogus. More like 45-50%.

Now then, Nordstream 2 (that's all GAZPROM gas) will be chopped from Ukraine's flow. Because GAZPROM can just force Belarus gas to be used by not flowing enough thru Ukraine.

The TANAP pipeline is to flow only 16 billion cubic meters/yr of gas from a non Russia source thru Turkey.

The agreement just reached between Putin and Erdogan is for a pipeline carrying Russian gas at 63 billion cubic meters/yr. Turkey will burn 14 of that (they burn 45 billion m^3 /yr) leaving 49 to flow to Europe.
The EU is already trying to interfere, saying there is insufficient capacity in pipelines north thru Greece and other countries, but clearly Greece will burn it and that reduces what's left going north.

Bottom line. Nordstream 2 will be a new 55 billion m^3/yr of GAZPROM gas. TurkeyStream will flow another 49 billion m^3/yr. This will be new from present flows. And Ukraine's flow is 142. They'll be reduced to under 40.

And that TANAP flow will cut them to 25ish.

They might as well surrender now.

Greenbub , 08/11/2016 at 2:20 am
Well, if the Russians and Turks can be best friends, maybe the Saudis and Iranians can too?
GoneFishing , 08/11/2016 at 8:17 am
It's one big family until the valves start to close.
Watcher , 08/11/2016 at 10:18 am
Ukraine gets almost $3 billion/yr in transit fees.

They have demanded just about a double of that 5 mos ago. GAZPROM has not agreed. The Ukraine transit pipeline system apparently also needs $19B in maintenance work GAZPROM had planned to pay for before Ukraine broke relations with Russia. No longer.

Ukraine GDP 90B in 2015 and is falling this year.

So either the EU picks up the $19B plus the $3B/yr in transit fees Ukraine will lose starting late next year (plus cost of Ukraine's consumption itself(they are 5th largest in Europe)), or the fat lady sings.

BTW Poland just completed an LNG import terminal. Look at those flow numbers above in the thread. Now . . . understand Poland is talking about sending Qatari gas from the LNG terminal to Lithuania and the rest of Europe, to reduce horrible dependence on Russian gas, even if LNG gas is priced 3X higher than piped GAZPROM gas. But yes, Poland is going to send gas to other countries from their LNG terminal.

Oh, and the new LNG terminal has a capacity of 5 billion m^3/yr. Repeat. 5 billion m^3/year. That's max in its final form.

Poland burns 16.

[Aug 08, 2016] China openly offers Russia an alliance against NATO

Chairman Xi Jinping is making Russia an offer that Russia can't refuse?
Notable quotes:
"... "We are now seeing the aggressive actions on the part of the United States, regarding both Russia and China. I believe that Russia and China could create an alliance toward which NATO will be powerless and which will put an end to the imperialist desires of the West." ..."
www.fort-russ.com

jfl | Aug 7, 2016 4:36:20 AM | 45

"The world is on the verge of radical change. We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy -- it is all over for the new world order. So, it will never again be as it was before, in 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia."

"We are now seeing the aggressive actions on the part of the United States, regarding both Russia and China. I believe that Russia and China could create an alliance toward which NATO will be powerless and which will put an end to the imperialist desires of the West."

V. Arnold | Aug 7, 2016 5:07:56 AM | 46

jfl | Aug 7, 2016 4:36:20 AM | 45

Great link, thanks.
Given the real world politic, I don't see that Russia has much choice. The lack of pressure by the PRC is an important note; Russia isn't being coerced but rather romanced.
My fear has been, and remains, the bat shit crazy neo-cons and their inability to let go of the imperialist dream of world hegemon.

[Aug 07, 2016] Neocon from Foreign Policy magazine are still dreaming about dismembering and colonizing Russi

Notable quotes:
"... No kidding; Kiev's ability to interrupt gas flows to Europe – which the west previously would not even discuss, since it was obviously Russia using energy as a weapon – is presented as just kittenish playfulness, and such an interruption is not a big problem because it's so amusing to watch the clever Ukrainians tweak Moscow's nose. All in good fun, of course, and transit fees are a right. There's just nothing about going around Ukraine to prevent that from happening which could be described as good fun, or tweaking Kiev's nose. Because the Ukrainians are cute, and the Russians are savages. ..."

ucgsblog, August 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Waaa! Waaa! Waaa! http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/08/05/poland-takes-aim-at-putins-pipe-dreams/

"This summer hasn't seen a lot of setbacks for Russia, not even for its Olympic hopefuls. Crimea has been annexed and fully absorbed, with the blessing of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who also calls NATO "obsolete." Russian intelligence services have allegedly been pawing through the emails of U.S. political parties, and releasing them at their leisure. Turkey, in the wake of a failed coup attempt, is rushing to mend fences with Moscow."

Couple of things, my unfellow whiner. First, Crimea has been annexed and absorbed prior to Trump's statement. Ergo it could not have happened with his blessing, since his blessing could only come after the events took place, but what's temporal physics to a "journalist" from FP? Second, at this point I think it's safe to conclude that every intelligence service of any powerful countries studied those e-mails, no need for allegedly. And we don't know if it's the Russians that are releasing them. Third, Turkey rushed to mend ties with Moscow before the coup, not after, but then again, what's temporal physics to a "journalist" from FP? This article promises to deliver mirth, let's read on!

"All of which makes last month's decision by the Polish antitrust regulator to file a formal objection against Russia's proposed "Nord Stream 2" gas pipeline more noteworthy. That regulatory spanner could be Europe's last and best chance to halt construction of a pipeline that critics say will divide Europe, beggar Ukraine, and reinforce Moscow's energy dominance for another generation."

That's a big deal? Poland's opposition to Nord Stream 2 has been well document throughout the ages. Ukraine is already beggared, but let's all blame that on Russia. Moscow's energy dominance comes from the EU being a voracious money swallowing pit, and not enough solar/wind/nuclear powerplants being built, due to, wait for it… lack of funding! Those funds are in places like Syria and Iraq. Oh, and won't the lack of construction divide Europe? Cause I doubt that Russia's going to prop up Ukraine, so if Southern Europe has no gas and Northern Europe has some, won't that be divisive?

"For years, Russia has sought to keep Europe dependent on its exports of energy, especially through natural gas pipelines. But Moscow is also desperate to cut out potentially meddlesome middlemen, like Ukraine, which sits smack between Russia's natural gas fields and millions of European consumers. That gives Kiev the ability to interrupt Russian gas flows headed to Europe, infuriating Moscow, but also earns Ukraine billions of dollars in much-needed transit fees."

Oh really? So Kaliningrad's border with EU member states are somehow attached to Ukraine? Intriguing, very intriguing, did someone skip his geography class?

"A decade ago, Russia enlisted former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to help it build a pipe across the Baltic from Russia to Germany, sidestepping Ukraine: Nord Stream. Then Russia tried to build another pipeline, "South Stream," across the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria, also bypassing Ukraine, but that was quashed by the European Union in 2014. Then, Moscow invented the idea of a "Turkish Stream," another proposed Black Sea pipe, one landing in Turkey, outside of Brussels's reach. But last fall, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian jet, and with it hopes of any immediate Russo-Turkish energy cooperation."

Really? Because in the beginning, the article claimed that "Turkey…is rushing to mend fences with Moscow." So they're rushing to cooperate, ergo there won't be cooperation? Stellar "journalism" absolutely stellar.

*drops mic*

Jen, August 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm
'… But the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection last month determined that Nord Stream 2 - which wouldn't even touch Polish territory - could harm consumers. "The Office found that the concentration might lead to restriction of competition," it tentatively concluded, adding that the project could "further strengthen" Gazprom's "dominant position." …'

Looks as if the Poles and the FP writer have a strange idea of what free market competition is. Their idea seems to be that the more middlemen there are, taking their cut, oops, share of the transit fees, and passing the costs down the pipeline, the more competition there is. Plus the journalist fails to see what's wrong with Ukraine interrupting the flow of gas from Russia to the EU to get transit fee income, unless of course he thinks extortion is a legitimate way of doing business.

Patient Observer, August 6, 2016 at 11:11 am So many succulent quotes but my favorite is:

That gives Kiev the ability to interrupt Russian gas flows headed to Europe, infuriating Moscow, but also earns Ukraine billions of dollars in much-needed transit fees.

So, when Ukraine interrupts gas flow to Europe to "infuriate" Moscow, Europe is not infuriated to contend with a crippling gas shortage? And how long is Russia expected to rely on a transit country that likes to infuriate its customer? Gawd, this guy is stupid.

marknesop , August 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm
No kidding; Kiev's ability to interrupt gas flows to Europe – which the west previously would not even discuss, since it was obviously Russia using energy as a weapon – is presented as just kittenish playfulness, and such an interruption is not a big problem because it's so amusing to watch the clever Ukrainians tweak Moscow's nose. All in good fun, of course, and transit fees are a right. There's just nothing about going around Ukraine to prevent that from happening which could be described as good fun, or tweaking Kiev's nose. Because the Ukrainians are cute, and the Russians are savages.

It looks like Russia is not going to be told that it must continue transiting gas through Ukraine, although Ukraine has been on its best behavior where transit is concerned over the last little while (to show how reliable it can be), and transit through Ukraine has actually increased, a fact they lose no opportunity to point out (as if to say, you need us now more than ever). But Kiev reserves the right to hike the transit fees whenever it needs a little more struttin' money, and while the obstructive talk is on hold for now, the Ukrainians love to shoot their mouths off and have made it clear they will simply take gas intended for Europe if Russia restricts Ukraine's supply (although they have brought their Russia supplies way, way down by buying Russian gas from other European countries, bought with gas money given it by the IMF.

Russia would very likely agree to continue supplying Ukraine through its own pipeline network, probably even at a quite attractive price – but if Ukraine started any of its special-needs antics, Russia would not have to worry about Europe's supply going through Ukraine's decrepit pipeline system. Ukraine could be cut off without a second thought, as any reasonable supplier would do if it is not getting paid or is otherwise abused by its customer – and as Europe would do in a second if it were the other way round and Russia was spending billions for European gas transited through Ukraine, which the Ukrainians poached at their leisure.

[Aug 07, 2016] Why does Nord Stream operate at less than 100% capacity?

Notable quotes:
"... Expect this issue to take center stage in the coming months, because northwest Europe, with declining production of its own gas, is going to need a reliable solution, and should be getting pretty tired of propping up Ukraine, Romania and Poland the perennial malcontents. At the present time Poland's regulatory commission is holding up Nord Stream II just because it can – but don't expect that to last. The EU is soon going to be faced with the choice of a Russian gas pipeline in whose operation they will at least have input and in whose construction European companies will share some of the lolly – or a Russo-Turkic pipeline in which they have no say at all and the gas delivery point is at the border. ..."
"... Expect Brussels to accuse Russia of 'dumping' gas on the EU market, regardless of any truth. Russia could still reduce price and make a profit, ergo not 'dumping' in any sense. I would then expect all those new gas reservoirs being built by Germany, Gasprom and others to fill up on cheap Russian gas. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , August 3, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Why does Nord Stream operate at less than 100% capacity? Because of capacity restrictions imposed by Brussels – just remember that the next time that poxy twat Sefcovic starts blabbering on about why do we need Nord Stream II when the original pipeline only operates at half-capacity? And he will, be sure of it. If Nord Stream could operate at 100% capacity, it would be half the cost of transiting through Ukraine. Just how much charity is Russia expected to offer, especially considering Ukraine imposed a transit rate hike last year for the privilege of using its leaky, whistling, rotting pipeline network?

Expect this issue to take center stage in the coming months, because northwest Europe, with declining production of its own gas, is going to need a reliable solution, and should be getting pretty tired of propping up Ukraine, Romania and Poland the perennial malcontents. At the present time Poland's regulatory commission is holding up Nord Stream II just because it can – but don't expect that to last. The EU is soon going to be faced with the choice of a Russian gas pipeline in whose operation they will at least have input and in whose construction European companies will share some of the lolly – or a Russo-Turkic pipeline in which they have no say at all and the gas delivery point is at the border.

And really, the EU's arguments make it look like it was dropped on its head as an infant. If Turkish Stream goes ahead, the story goes, it will increase dependency on Russian gas, but block Caspian supplies. How? Caspian supplies (Azerbaijan) are supposed to come via the Southern Gas Corridor, which the EU keeps saying it is pressing on with but has yet to lay a foot of. Remind you of the talking-shop that Nabucco became? How much money was pissed away on that, and they didn't build any of it. But the argument seems to be that if Turkish Stream is built, the Southern Gas Corridor cannot be. Why not? What's stopping you?

Price. The EU is scared it cannot do it as cheaply as Russia. And it probably can't. How does that bear on the consumer? Sefcovic already told you – it's not all about price. What price freedom, my friends? Aren't you willing to pay more for your gas so you can say it is Azerbaijani gas instead of Putin's gas? What do you say, European consumer? But it keeps going on about how Turkey and everybody else will get cheap gas, but is still trying to frighten Europeans that if they depend on Russian gas it will go up. Why would it, if it's costing Russia less to ship it?

Kiev should be getting scared. Because there is an increased chance Brussels will cave on the Nord Stream II issue, considering the factors I've already laid out. Or else Putin will build Turkish Stream, and the EU will have to build its own infrastructure to hook up at the border, and either solution will bypass Ukraine – through which, incidentally, transit was up 21% in the first months of 2016, as the Ukrainians try to showcase what reliable partners they are. But that route fails on price. Wah wah wahhhhhh….sorry, Kiev.

Jeremn , August 4, 2016 at 1:38 am
I think EU dithering will force the price of gas up, and then the US will rush to save us with LNG and fracking. But, then, I'm a pessimist.
marknesop , August 4, 2016 at 6:45 am
But even if the price of gas did rise due to EU dithering, Russia could still undercut American LNG price. It comes down to how much are you willing to pay to proudly say "No thank you, Mr. Putin"? It's like Sikorski and his Polish LNG terminal, where he said it costs more, but at least it flies the Polish flag, or like how you could probably sleep with the starlet of your dreams…if you were willing to do anything to get her. Prostitute yourself, sell drugs, move to another country, completely change your lifestyle, whatever it took. A lot of things that are attainable in the abstract are simply not worth it. the UK might be able to get by with no gas imports at all – it still has a little, and they could go back to coal and wood-burning fireplaces like on "Upstairs, Downstairs" (my ex loved that program", and theoretically they could do it, with just a little of that famed British pluck and a stiff upper lip. But nobody wants to do it, because the illusion of independence is not worth behaving so stupidly. It has become a game to see who can get their people deeper in self-denial so that their leader can thumb his nose at Putin.
Jeremn , August 4, 2016 at 7:54 am
It is a bit like Hinckley Point – the UK can't be reliant on Chinese involvement for security reasons (although the French suffered too when the agreement was frozen). Our elites try to get away with it by keeping the population in a state of fear. But they also reward their own chums with contracts, no matter what the cost.

So, yes, I do think they'll try to get away with it, whatever the cost (they'll just blame the utility companies).

marknesop , August 4, 2016 at 8:10 am
There would be the entry of an opposition political figure, telling the populace as much as it would listen to about how an alternate source which is cheaper is available but our political masters make us pay more in order to score political points with their master and perhaps advance themselves and their positions…if the situation were reversed and Russia were dependent on European gas, and Putin was trying to wean the Russians off of it in favour of a more-expensive but more exclusionary alternative.

In my opinion, Russia needs to do that more. Sponsor opposition politicians in enemy countries, I mean. It's a go-to western tactic.

et Al , August 4, 2016 at 9:13 am
Expect Brussels to accuse Russia of 'dumping' gas on the EU market, regardless of any truth. Russia could still reduce price and make a profit, ergo not 'dumping' in any sense. I would then expect all those new gas reservoirs being built by Germany, Gasprom and others to fill up on cheap Russian gas.

I have a question though. If gazprom fills up its CEEC/Balkan reservoirs when gas is X price at X time, is that the fixed price of the gas or if the world price drops, it can sell it for less without it technically being 'dumping'? Does anyone know what the mechanism is?

Fern , August 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Here's those good ole western values again on display here, this time directed at the peons in Europe. You wouldn't know it from our posturing politicians but fuel poverty is a massive problem in Europe affecting between 50 to 125 million people. The health consequences are dire from thousands of excess deaths in winter's maw to increases in chronic lung and respiratory diseases. And would you believe it but the Baltic chihuahuas, ever-reliably yapping at all things Russian, have large numbers of their populations living in fuel poverty. Ever read anything by Edward Lucas on this? No, me neither. So, I couldn't really do justice to how angry the behaviour of these morons makes me….people die before their time every year because they can't afford to properly heat their homes and these geniuses in Brussels paid for by us are totally OK with rocketing fuel prices as long as they can say they poked a finger in Vladimir Putin's eye. Reply

[Jul 28, 2016] Ambassador Pyatt hallusinations

marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm
Russia can no longer use gas for manipulating Ukraine – Pyatt

Ukraine has managed to get rid of its gas dependence on Russia, thus destroying the "energy weapon" of the Kremlin, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt has said.

The Ukrainian authorities over the past few years have in fact destroyed Moscow's energy weapon, which used gas in this way, Pyatt said during a meeting of the discussion club "Open World" on the transformations in Ukraine, progress and tasks for the future in Kyiv on Tuesday.

The diplomat said that Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy currently purchases gas only if it finds the price acceptable, but the natural gas has ceased to be the instrument of manipulation. Ukrainians are no longer in the situation when the Kremlin uses energy resources as a weapon, as an instrument of manipulating Ukrainian politicians, so that they should take certain decisions, he said.

Pyatt also said that the Ukrainian energy sector is undergoing serious transformations and this is very important to bring these changes to completion.

What? Buying the cheapest gas on the market is more economical than not paying for it at all, which is what they did as regards gas directly supplied by Russia?

And where does this cheaper alternative supply come from - originally, not through an intermediary?

Moscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm
Reverse supply, Pyatt! Ever heard f it?

And the wonderful terms and conditions for EU "association" that Yanukovich could only refuse?

Remember them, you twat?

And billions that the Ukraine owes Gazprom?

Moscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 9:45 pm
Perhaps Pyatt lauds this action of the Ukrainians as regards their good business practice concerning energy supplies:

На Украине не видят причин возвращать России долг в $3 млрд

Украина не должна возвращать России $3 млрд, которые были получены во времена Виктора Януковича. Об этом в программе "О политике" с Сергеем Руденко в эфире Еспресо [sic].TV заявил министр финансов Александр Данилюк. "Это был политический кредит, который нас заставили взять",- пояснил министр.

По словам господина Данилюка, эти средства в то время могли пойти на различные выплаты в государстве. "Наша позиция заключается в том, что мы не должны возвращать эти деньги",- сказал Александр Данилюк.

In the Ukraine they see no reason for paying back their $3 billion debt to Russia

The Ukraine is not obliged to return to Russia the $3 billion debt that was accrued during Victor Yanukovych's presidency.This is what Finance Minister Alexander Danyluk said live on air to Sergei Rudenko during the Espresso TV programme "On Politics". "Our position was that we were politically forced to accept this credit. Therefore, our position is that we do not have to return this money", explained the minister.

According to Mr. Danyluk, at the time they were able to use the money for the payment of various state benefits. "Our position is that we should not return the money", said Alexander Danyluk.

On December 16 last year, the IMF Executive Board recognized the official status of the $3 billion Russian loan to the Ukraine. In response, the Ukraine announced a moratorium on the payment of any debts to the Russian Federation.

Which is good business practice, according to Pyatt Twat, I presume.

marknesop , July 26, 2016 at 10:17 pm
They evidently believe Daddy Pyatt's muck that they are getting off the Gazprom tit just because they are buying Gazprom gas from someone else. I would have a quiet word with those people to warn them of the possibility that they might have to suddenly find 45% to 90% of their gas supplies somewhere else if they did not put pressure on Ukraine to pay its debts. Because it has evidently not occurred to Ukraine where they would get their gas if their brotherly suppliers did not have any to sell, and were scrambling to find enough for themselves. America would crow that Russia was using energy as a weapon, of course, but Russia should be past caring what America thinks or says because they are never going to be anything like friends no matter what Russia says or does.

Meanwhile, Daddy Pyatt is going to have some 'splainin' to do when Gazprom refuses to sell Ukraine any more gas until they pay. Because they're still getting more than 10% directly. Russia is being nice, and usually sells them gas as soon as they pay in advance for that amount. But maybe they should say, "You know what? I think you should pay all your past dues before you get any more". And they wouldn't have a leg to stand on, because it doesn't matter what 'their position' is; the debt has been recognized as legal and binding.

Moscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm
Посол США на Украине Пайетт – дурак или всё же идиот?

The United States Ambassador to the Ukraine - a fool or just an an idiot?

I thought he'd been moved to some Stan-republic?

marknesop , July 26, 2016 at 11:32 pm
He would take any criticism from Russia as an accolade, an indicator that he is doing something right, because getting up Russia's nose is his stock in trade and the reason he's posted in there. He's there to provoke confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the more the better, and he could not care less what will happen to Ukrainians after he's gone.
marknesop , July 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm
As usual, Pyatt is trumpeting nonsense, although I would love for some intrepid journalist to ask him why the USA is so resistant to Nord Stream II and preserving Ukraine's transit fees for Russian gas. If it's so easy to cut your imports of Russian gas by more than half that the poorest country in Europe can do it, why couldn't anyone do it?

Such as the countries from whom Ukraine now buys its gas – Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Of the three Slovakia is 90% dependent on Russian gas, Hungary 44%, and Poland 45%. These are the countries that scream Nord Stream II must not be built – what would happen if Russia stopped supplying them with gas? Where would Ukraine get its gas then? Where would its suppliers make up their shortfall? American LNG? Ah ha, ha, ha!! Yes, I'm sure; forgive me for laughing, I couldn't help it.

Russia is not making as much money, that's certainly true and will remain true for as long as the west can force the price down through oversupply. Who will run out first? I guess we'll see. But although profits are undeniably lower, Gazprom's exports to Europe increased by approximately 16% between January and May of this year. I think Europeans should be asking themselves how important Ukraine really is in their gas-distribution network. But bravo to Ukraine! See if you can reduce your Gazprom imports to zero! Now, there's a worthy target. Just ask Daddy Pyatt from time to time how you're doing.

Cortes , July 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm
Excellent.

Back in the day contracts were "consensus in idem" or, my version = "agreement in all essentials".

The "partners" ought to be aware that the RF (and its "emanations of the State" (c) EU Law) appears to be relying on that, hmmm, understanding of "the rule of Law".

Chihuahua yelps and Banderastan yowls and EU poodle elite yips aside, the rest of the wide world sees reality as the RF does.

[May 17, 2016] Work starts on new pipeline bringing Azeri gas to Italy

bakken.com

Construction work is starting on a new pipeline project bringing Azeri gas through northern Greece and Albania to Italy, reducing Europe's energy dependency on Russia.


The Trans Adriatic Pipeline will run for 878 kilometers (550 miles), from Greece's border with Turkey to southern Italy, and includes a 105-kilometer (65-mile) stretch under the Adriatic Sea. First deliveries to Europe are expected in 2020.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the project would create 8,000 jobs in his financially struggling country, which has more than 24 percent unemployment.

He spoke at a ceremony Tuesday to mark the beginning of the pipeline's construction in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.

TAP is a joint project by Britain's BP, Azerbaijan's SOCAR, Italy's Snam, Belgium's Fluxys, Spain's Enagas and Swiss Axpo.

[Mar 27, 2016] In 2015, the seven biggest publicly traded Western energy companies replaced just 75 percent of the oil and natural gas they pumped

peakoilbarrel.com
Greenbub, 03/27/2016 at 8:27 pm
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-giants-draining-reserves-at-faster-pace-2016-03-27

"In 2015, the seven biggest publicly traded Western energy companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, replaced just 75% of the oil and natural gas they pumped, on average, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of company data. It was the biggest combined drop in inventory that companies have reported in at least a decade."

[Mar 11, 2016] Energy Crisis As Early As 2016

This author was probably one year early in his forecasts, but the direction was right -- we might face oil shortages in 2017.
Notable quotes:
"... "In permitting low oil prices, the Saudis seek to bring the market back into equilibrium. At present, our calculation of break-even system-wide is in the $85–$100 a barrel range on a Brent basis." ..."
December 30, 2014 | OilPrice.com

Low oil prices today may be setting the world up for an oil shortage as early as 2016. Today we have just 2% more crude oil supply than demand and the price of gasoline is under $2.00/gallon in Texas. If oil supply falls too far, we could see gasoline prices doubling within 18 months. For a commodity as critical to our standard of living as oil is, it only takes a small shortage to drive up the price.

On Thanksgiving Day, 2014 Saudi Arabia decided to maintain their crude oil output of approximately 9.5 million barrels per day. They've taken this action despite the fact that they know the world's oil markets are currently over-supplied by an estimated 1.5 million barrels per day and the severe financial pain it is causing many of the other OPEC nations. By now you are all aware this has caused a sharp drop in global crude oil prices and has a dark cloud hanging over the energy sector. I believe this will be a short-lived dip in the long history of crude oil price cycles. Oil prices have always bounced back and this is not going to be an exception.

To put this in prospective, the world currently consumes about 93.5 million barrels per day of liquid fuels, not all of which are made from crude oil. About 17% of the world's total fuel supply comes from natural gas liquids ("NGLs") and biofuels.

One thing that drives the Bears opinion that oil prices will go lower during the first half of 2015 is that demand does decline during the first half of each year. Since most humans live in the northern hemisphere, weather does have an impact on demand. I agree that this fact will play a part in keeping oil prices depressed for the next few months. However, low gasoline prices in the U.S. are certain to play a part in the fuel demand outlook for this year's vacation driving season.

Related: Ten Reasons Why A Sustained Drop In Oil Prices Could Be Catastrophic

Global Demand For Hydrocarbon Based Liquid Fuels

Brent oil prices are now hovering around $60 a barrel. In my opinion, this is quite a bit lower than Saudi Arabia thought the price would go and may lead to an "Emergency" OPEC meeting during the first quarter. But for now, I am assuming that Saudi Arabia is willing to let the other OPEC members suffer until the next scheduled OPEC meeting in June.

The commonly held belief is that Saudi Arabia is doing this to put a stop to the rapid growth of production from the U.S. shale oil plays. Others believe it is their goal to crush the Russian and Iranian economies. If the oil price remains at the current level for a few months longer it will do all of the above.

My forecast models for 2015 assume that crude oil prices will remain depressed during the first quarter, then slowly ramp up and accelerate as next winter approaches. I believe that by December we will see a much tighter oil market and significantly higher prices. In a December 24, 2014 article in The National, Steven Kopits managing director of Princeton Energy Advisors states that, "In permitting low oil prices, the Saudis seek to bring the market back into equilibrium. At present, our calculation of break-even system-wide is in the $85–$100 a barrel range on a Brent basis."

Mark Mobius, an economist and regular guest on Bloomberg TV recently said he sees Brent rebounding to $90/bbl by the end of 2015.

Since 2005, only North America has been able to add meaningful crude oil supply. Outside of Canada and the United States (including the Gulf of Mexico), the rest of the world's crude oil production netted to a decline of a million barrels per day from December, 2010 to December, 2013. More than half of the OPEC nations are now in decline. We've been able to supplement our fuel supply during the last ten years with biofuels, but that is limited since we need the farmland for food supply.

Liquids Supply Since 2005

I believe the current low crude oil price could be overkill and result in the next "Energy Crisis" by early 2016. Enjoy these low gasoline prices while they last.

The upstream U.S. oil companies we follow closely are all announcing 20% to 50% cuts in capital spending for 2015. We will start seeing the impact on supply at the same time the annual increase in demand kicks in. Our model portfolio companies are all expected to report year-over-year increases in production, but at a much slower pace than the last few years.

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A study released by Credit Suisse two weeks ago shows that U.S. independents expect capital-expenditure (Capex) cuts of one-third against production gains of 10 per cent next year. This would imply production growth of 600,000 bpd of shale liquids, and perhaps another 200,000 bpd from Gulf of Mexico deepwater projects. At the same time, U.S. conventional onshore production continues to fall. I have seen estimates of 500,000 to 700,000 bpd declines within twelve months. If these forecasts are accurate, U.S. oil production growth would be barely positive next year and headed for a material downturn in 2016.

North American unconventionals (oil sands, shale and other tight formations) have been almost all of net global supply growth since 2005. If unconventional growth grinds to zero and conventional growth is falling outright, the supply side heading into 2016 looks highly compromised. At today's oil price, only the "Sweet Spots" in the North American Shale Plays and the Canadian Oil Sands generate decent financial returns to justify the massive capital requirements needed to continue development. Global deepwater exploration is rapidly coming to a halt.

Were demand growth muted, this might not matter. Demand for liquid fuels goes up year-after-year. It even increased in 2008 during the "Great Recession" and ramped up sharply during 2009 and 2010 despite a sluggish global economy. Low fuel prices are increasing demand today and my guess is that, with U.S. GDP growth now forecast at 5% in 2015, we could see demand for fuels increase by close to 1.5 million barrels per day this year. The current IEA forecast is for oil demand to increase by 900,000 bpd in 2015.

If this plays out, the oil markets will be heading into a significant squeeze in the first half of 2016.

The last extended period of low oil prices was 1985 to 1990. In 1985, when oil prices collapsed similar to what's happening now, the world had 13 million bpd of spare capacity, with 7 million bpd in Saudi Arabia alone. OPEC was well-positioned to comfortably meet any increase in demand.

Today, just about all of the world's discretionary spare capacity resides in Saudi Arabia and amounts to an estimate 2 million bpd. Lou Powers, an EPG member and author of "The World Energy Dilemma," has said that Saudi Arabia will have difficulty maintaining production at over 10 million bpd for an extended period. If we do swing to a supply shortage, Saudi Arabia may find itself in the position of needing to run the taps full out for much of 2016. In such an event, the world will be headed right back into an oil shock and we will see much higher oil prices than $100/bbl.

[Mar 11, 2016] Manking probably has 50 years to go on fossil fuel

Notable quotes:
"... If consumption is 10 million metric tons burned each day, it is 3,652,500,000 tonnes per year consumed by the gaping maws of industry to allow civilization be in the gluttony mode, with half of it gone, 150,000,000,000 tonnes to go, then there is a fifty year supply in the ground and under the seas and oceans. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
R Walter, 11/08/2015 at 12:21 pm
With regard to peak oil book publications:

Permanent Oil Schock, L.F. Ivanhoe

"The two basic factors of the world's oil supply are (1) geologic (discoveries) and (2) economic (distribution). Petroleum geologists have done such a good job of finding oil that it looks as easy as growing crops, and our engineers deliver the petroleum like clockwork. Consequently, the public and many planners consider global distribution to be the only supply problem and attribute all price swings to simple economics. They erroneously ignore critical long-term geological facts and assume that cash spent = oil found. This premise is invalid where no oil exists or where prospects are poor. Most people are unaware that the global quality of geological/oil prospects has declined so much that the amount of new oil found per wildcat well has dropped 50% since a 1969 peak. Discoveries of the most critical but easiest to find giant fields (each with over 500 million bbl of recoverable oil) are now stalled at 315 known worldwide. We are simply no longer finding enough new crude oil to replace the world's huge consumption of 20 billion bbl (840 billion gal) per year."

http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/abstracts/html/1987/annual/abstracts/0571a.htm?q=%2BtextStrip%3Aopec+textStrip%3Astatistics

Looks like the troubles are here to stay.

R Walter, 11/09/2015 at 11:32 am