Wednesday, July 18

US to rest of world: Nobody buys Russian energy, nobody gets hurt

Note how the American regime is determined to pressure  NATO into increasing U.S. energy imports. For the moment the organization's secretary general is having none of the American machinations, saying that decisions about purchasing Russian energy are a national issue for each member country of NATO. We'll see how long he maintains the independent stance if the U.S. levies sanctions on all nations participating in Nord Stream 2.

"Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russia's Gazprom, France's Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, UK-Denmark’s Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall."

July 18, 2018 - 20:36

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A new draft law introduced in the US Senate would impose sanctions on Russian energy projects including Nord Stream 2 in a bid to protect the United States' allies, Senator Bill Barrasso said in a press release on Wednesday.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin uses Russia’s natural gas to extort and threaten our allies and our partners,” Barrasso said in the release. “The ESCAPE Act will take this geopolitical weapon away from Russia by sanctioning the Nord Stream II gas pipeline and facilitating the export of more American natural gas to our allies."

The Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe (ESCAPE) Act would authorize mandatory US sanctions on any development of Russian energy pipeline projects including Nord Stream 2, according to the text of the legislation.

It would also require the energy secretary to speed up approvals for US natural gas exports to NATO countries or other allies such as Japan in order to promote American national security interests.

If passed, the legislation would also require the US administration to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase the energy security of the United States' NATO allies and partners, Barrasso said.

The US has repeatedly stated its opposition towards the Moscow-initiated Nord Stream 2 project. Earlier in June, the US State Department noted that companies working in Russian energy export can face restrictive measures, insisting that Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline threatens the EU's energy security and stability.

At the NATO summit in Brussels last week, US President Donald Trump lambasted Germany, saying that its heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas supplies was "inappropriate," and called Berlin "a captive" of Russia.

Germany, however, disagreed with Trump's stance, stressing that Berlin was not a prisoner of Russia or of the United States but "one of the guarantors of the free world."

Russia, in turn, stressed that US liquefied gas (LNG) suppliers were trying to force European consumers to buy more expensive gas, calling it a manifestation of "unfair competition."

Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian energy giant Gazprom and France's Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, UK-Denmark’s Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall.

The pipeline will run under the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to a hub in Germany and have an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. The pipeline is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2019.


See also this report from Sputnik:

After Helsinki Summit Trump Admits Germany's Right to Take Part in Nord Stream 2

On July 11 Moon of Alabama's German author "b" untangled President Trump's muddled statements about German participation in Nord Stream 2:
The big advantage for Germany is that the [Nord Stream 2] pipeline does not run through any other country. Other pipelines from Russia, built in the 1970s, run through the Ukraine and Poland to Germany. They are used by all three countries to receive gas from Russia.
Whenever Ukraine has no money to pay Russia for gas and does not pay its dues, Russia will send less gas through the pipeline. The gas for Germany and Poland is supposed to continue to flow without Ukraine taking any of it.
But Ukrainians cheat. They steal the gas that is supposed to pass through without paying for it. In the end Germany has to give money to Ukraine so that Ukraine can pay Russia. This happened in 2006, in 2008 and again in 2014.
Enough is enough. Nord Stream [2] prevents such blackmail of Germany by Ukraine. That is the main reason why Ukraine lobbies against it.

Poland is not rejecting gas from Russia even as it claims to do so. It has a long term contract with Russia and will receive plenty of gas through the Ukraine pipeline up to at least 2022. Since 2014 it also imports gas from Germany through the new bi-directional pipeline pumping station at Mallnow.
Germany receives the gas its exports to Poland through the Nord Stream system from Russia and pumps it through the Opal pipeline and Mallnow to Poland. It is extremely hypocritical for Poland to lobby against Nord Stream when it significantly contributes to Poland's energy security.
Trump claims that Germany "will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline". Of the primary energy Germany uses only some 20% comes from natural gas. Less than 40% of the natural gas Germany uses comes from Russia.
Thus Russia delivers 7-8% of the primary energy Germany uses. If need be Germany can do without this. It is not a strategic issue.

Trump also claims of Germany: "They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear." Germany did not get rid of its coal plants. It builds new ones with higher efficiencies. Germany is phasing out nuclear energy. It will not build new nuclear plants. But there are currently still nine nuclear plants running. Their planned shutdown date is 2022 but this will likely be extended. Without nuclear power it will be extremely difficult to reach the set greenhouse gas limit.
As usual Trump has the facts all wrong. But the U.S. is producing more natural gas than it needs and wants to export it. Compressing U.S. natural gas into liquefied form for sea transport takes so much energy that the price is inevitably much higher than Russian gas delivered through pipelines. In Germany it will never be competitive to Russian gas.
It is understandable that Trump wants Germany to buy U.S. produced liquefied gas. But without competitive pricing and a more plausible sales argument he will have no luck.

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