Gas Wars & Nord Stream-2 vs Focus on Developing the Domestic Market: Huge Russian Natural Gas Market Still Untapped
This is an interesting twist when it comes to Nord Stream-2 and other Gasprom’s international gas projects. It is a very good idea for Germany and other EU countries to secure their quantities of the Russian gas now, while it’s available. Russia may be redirecting some of her natural gas to China and Asia, and even the US is now buying Russian LNG gas. Since last year several tankers already quietly delivered Russian gas to the USA’s East Coast, and more are expected. Imagine the paradox: this is happening despite all of USA’s muscle flexing in regards to EU/Germany, so they would buy the fracking LNG gas from the US, instead of Russian gas through Nord Stream-2. This, of course, is a typical geopolitical intimidation, so that EU/Germany toe the line the US wants.
But there is another competitor to foreign consumers of the Russian natural gas, and it is Russia’s own domestic gas market. The most spread out and the largest northern country in the world, with areas where it was impractical to provide gasification, now such untapped internal gas markets are set to begin developing.
Gasification plans are being drawn in Russia, quietly for now. In the next several years we’ll see a growth of Russian domestic natural gas consumption. When the explosion happens, it may be a very different energy spread.
One interesting signal was given by Putin during his latest Annual Q&A. Replying to a question, he said that Russia is best positioned to develop the new types of energy based on natural gas, instead of oil. This includes the cars running on gas, instead of oil or electricity. Natural gas is much cleaner and better for the environment than oil (unless it is extracted through the harmful chemicalized, invasive fracking process, as it is done in the US, but not in Russia).
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“There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars.” Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total
October 21, 2014. Tragic news: The private transcontinental jet carrying Christophe de Margerie, CEO of the French oil and gas giant Total, crashed in Moscow Vnukovo-3 Airport. Vnukovo-3 isn’t your average overcrowded commercial outfit; it is an airport designed to receive the international VIPs and their private jets. The jet in question is Falcon 50, French made, cost $170-200 million. According to experts, it is one of the most reliable jets in existence, and it is designed for long-distance flights. Such a jet carrying a VIP such as Total’s CEO would be kept in excellent condition and the pilots would be top-notch. The crew on such jet is usually paid much more than commercial pilots.
What happened based on early reports: Moscow had a heavy snow aggravated by fog. Snow clearing ploughs were operating. The jet’s wing on take-off clipped the snow plough operating nearby, but the plane took off nevertheless. The driver of the plough was unharmed, but the Russian investigators announced that he was drunk. After 40 seconds in the air, the pilot sent distress call and attempted to land, but the plane burst in flames, killing all four aboard: three crew members and one passenger, Total CEO Christophe de Margerie. Here is a report about the main investigative points on RT Russia.
The questions investigators ask are: how could a drunk person be allowed to operate a snow plough? How could a dispatcher authorise a take-off with a plough present? What role did the snow and heavy fog play in all this? Did the pilot make a mistake? Did he, for example, drive off his course in the fog, resulting in the collision with the plough?
If I were them, I would also ask these questions: 1. Who and why gave the order to the snow plough operator to clean up the snow in the take-off area at that specific time? If the take-off area needed to be prepped first due to snow, then perhaps it was the correct order. Then, the Total jet needed to wait until the area was cleared of snow. Perhaps it was a lack of coordination between maintenance, dispatch, and the pilot? Did the pilot get pressured by the VIP to take off immediately, despite bad weather?
Also, I looked at the video with the plough operator and he seemed very shocked and distressed. One thing he didn’t seem at all was being drunk. Sure, the shock could have sobered him up, but I still have serious doubts he could have been that drunk. Summary of the event video, including the plough driver.
It appears Russian authorities decided to admit their fault even before the investigation and assign the blame internally due to the delicate political situation and in order to keep peace.
But let’s take a look at what went on behind the scenes geopolitically in the run-up to the event. What was the Total CEO doing in Moscow?
Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie took a different position on world events, USA, and Russia than the prevailing neo-liberal position of his government. He was against USA interference and dictate in European affairs, and for the expanded cooperation with Russia.
Total is the French oil and gas giant, ranking #6 in the world. As a result of the US sanctions, primarily the ban on dollar-denominated loans to companies operating in Russia, American oil giant Exxon Mobil was recently forced to fold its joint operations in Russia’s north. This is a big hit for Exxon’s bottom line. The company announced that they didn’t want to leave and planned to return as soon as the sanctions were over.
At the very same time, Total, which took a position of defiance against the US and EU sanctions, re-affirmed its participation in Russian projects. Moreover, Total was negotiating stepping in and replacing Exxon and other Anglo-American companies in the $27 billion Yamal liquefied natural gas project, and possibly, in the Arctic oil project as well. To accomplish that, Total was planning on using a combined euro, ruble and yuan financing. Total was in the process of securing a Chinese financing to replace the American loans. At the bottom of this article you will find a telling quote from a NASDAQ article of 9/22/2014 about Total’s negotiations with the Chinese banks.
Total CEO was in Moscow to discuss and negotiate the expanded deal. He was scheduled to fly back to Paris at 12:10 am, after the meeting with Russian PM, Dmitry Medvedev.
Total management appears to indicate that nothing will change in Total’s position and plans in regards to Russia as these are long-term plans that get drawn for 20-40 years forward. However, having taken a bold bet on the expanded cooperation with Russia, Total’s CEO didn’t get the chance to groom a successor. “He planned to, but never got around to it.” This leads some experts to believe that now that Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie is gone, the US will apply enormous pressure on the company to change its course towards Russia.
According to this expert (link to interview in Russian), “the death of Total’s CEO will impact the future not only of Total, but of the entire French economy.”
The above leads some to suspect a foul play in the death of Total’s CEO. Whether his death was the result of a tragic coincidence, poor coordination or bad weather, or whether a more sinister scenario was at play, the geopolitical circumstances paint a very different picture of the event than seems on the surface.
If we also take into account the other events: strange disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight over the Indian Ocean early this year and the recent MH17 false flag downing in Ukraine, the picture becomes even more tainted. We should also remember the strange recent failures of the Russian Proton-M cargo rockets. Strangely, all the failures of Russian rockets occurred when they were carrying foreign satellites . These rockets use American made electronics.
Incidentally, a new Proton-M rocket was just launched from the Baikonur in Kazakhstan without a hitch: the blast-off video. I could have predicted that there would be no problem with this launch because it was carrying a domestic Russian satellite. It should be clear that the reason only foreign satellite launches of Russian rockets fail is because someone is trying to discredit Russia as a reliable business partner. Before these mysterious recent failures, Russian space industry had no failures for over 40 years. I wrote about this problem in my prior articles, where I pointed out that in my opinion the reason behind failures was the Trojan software that could be activated or de-activated when necessary. Read more: Damning Eye-Witness Video of MH17 False Flag; Plus, Strange Failures of Russian Rockets.
Add to that the fact that since General De Gaulle, France has been one of the most pro-Russian countries in the EU, plus the fact that historically, France was more willing to do business with Russia than many other Western countries, often serving as a bridge between the West and Russia. France is supposed to deliver two Mistral carriers to Russia and if it doesn’t, it will be a huge loss for the French economy. Presently, US is putting enormous pressure on France not to deliver the Mistrals, which would result in a broken contract and huge penalties.
France’s BNP Paribas earlier this year already fell victim to the US sanctions, having to pay a $10 billion penalty, essentially bankrupting the bank. Various representatives of the French government and industry have been registering timid protests against EU’s US dollar dependence and US interference in the EU affairs. CEO of Total was a very influential voice in France for cooperation with Russia.
What does all the above have to do with the Total CEO jet crash in Moscow? Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything. Time will show.
One thing is very clear: the death of Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie was against the interests of Russia, France, or Total itself.
One of the easy ways to damage a plane is sabotage. Who and why told the worker to snow-plough the take-off area at that time? Incidentally, the snow plough’s operator name is Vladimir Martinenko, a typical Ukrainian name. Is he from Ukraine, and what part thereof? How does he feel about what’s happening there? Where do his loyalties lie? Could he be bought, or convinced to do something illegal? These are all very good questions. He did survive the accident without a scratch, despite the plane’s wing getting so damaged by his plough that the jet burst into flames 40 seconds after takeoff. Does the plough operator’s name and origin have anything to do with the event? There are lots of Ukrainian citizens working in Russia, most in maintenance, cleaning, construction, driving and other blue-collar positions. Most Ukrainians are pro-Russian, but there are no guarantees. This may mean absolutely nothing, or it may mean everything. If I were investigating this occurrence, I would look into that.
Vladimir Markin, Head of the Central Investigative Commission of the Russian Federation, called the work of the airport authorities “sloppy,” and revealed the steps the investigation is taking. The snow plough driver has been arrested and the airport management may be temporarily suspended to prevent them from influencing the investigation. Interview.
Quote: Total Looks to China to Finance Russian Gas Project — 2nd Update
By Selina Williams. Published on nasqaq.com, 9/22/14 – Link to post.
“French oil major Total S.A. on Monday said it was in talks with Chinese banks to help fund a major natural-gas project in Russia in a move to get around tightening Western sanctions over Ukraine.
Chief Financial Officer Patrick de la Chevardière said the company was looking at financing its share in the $ 27 billion Yamal liquefied natural-gas project in Chinese yuan, Russian rubles and euros.
“The effect of U.S. sanctions was that Yamal LNG will be prevented from raising any dollar financing,” Mr. de la Chevardière told a news briefing in London. Total is developing the onshore Yamal project in Russia’s Arctic north with independent Russian gas producer OAO Novatek and China’s CNPC.
Total would first look for financing for Yamal from export credit agencies such as France’sCoface and Italy’s Sace and then add Chinese and Russian finance, Mr. de la Chevardière said.
Total’s move comes as U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. said last week is it winding down its drilling campaign in the Russian Arctic because of sanctions announced by the U.S. and European Union this month. The setback to Exxon’s $3.2 billion deal to explore for oil with Russia’s Rosneft in the Arctic could represent the biggest corporate casualty of sanctions so far.
Earlier this month, Russian officials said that restrictions on western technology for drilling in hard-to-reach areas such as the Arctic Sea could hurt future oil production if they persist.
Russia relies on oil and gas to provide the bulk of its revenues and Yamal is vital to Kremlin plans to increase the country’s share in the fast-growing global LNG market.
Total is in turn relying on Yamal, which is expected to start up in 2017, to provide a chunk of the French’s company’s future production growth. Yamal is estimated to hold proven reserves of 800 million barrels of oil equivalent.”
“Canada welcomes latest U.S. sanctions (against Russia – LR). While Ukraine’s interim prime minister has left his country to solicit the support of other world leaders during the crisis in his country, no G7 leader has set foot in Ukraine amid the political unrest.” – CBS News
“Harper’s visit to #Kyiv — where he will meet with Ukraine’s Interim Prime Minister Arseniy #Yatsenyuk — will be further “expression of Canada’s principled stand on Ukraine,” said the prime minister’s director of communications, Jason MacDonald in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.
This visit has been proclaimed to be “historic.” I bet this is the first time during his entire tenure that Canada’s PM Stephen #Harper found the time to personally visit Ukraine. And it’s not just any time – it’s specifically NOW, after the coup that unseated the democratically elected Victor #Yanukovich and installed the unelected US stooge Yatsenyuk, or “Yats,” as was so well articulated by Victoria #Nuland in her leaked phone conversation. Canada’s Harper also holds the dubious distinction of being the VERY FIRST foreign leader to visit Ukraine since the Kiev coup!
To remind everyone, #Canada, a member of G7, was also the first nation to start the so-called sanctions against #Russia, consisting of telling the Russian soldiers in Canada, who were there as an exchange delegation, to clear out of the country within 24 hours.
Harper’s visit to Ukraine is orchestrated by the same US and EU forces who created the area of extremely dangerous instability in Ukraine, next to Russia’s border. It is orchestrated in the same way as the recent Kiev coup to coincide with #SochiOlympics; as the un-signable trap that was the Yanukovich’s EU association agreement; as the Western Ukraine nazis’ financing and armed takeover of Kiev. For more on that, read my analytical series on this blog: “What is Really Happening in Ukraine.”
So, why was specifically Harper chosen by the G7 to start the new “trend” of visiting the unelected governments? Very simple: Harper is a very convenient figure to do that. First, Canada has practically no trade, no borders, nor any other important or far-reaching relations with Russia. It would be difficult for any EU country to start this trend; the result for mutual trade with Russia would be pretty adverse. US president Obama already met with Yatsenyuk in Washington, but of course he considers it beneath himself to fly over to Kiev. He might send Biden instead. After all, USA is “special.” Enter Harper.
To quote my fellow blogger, Tales from the World: “Once again I feel as a Canadian that I must apologize to the world for our so-called leader who is merely a minion puppet of the White House. Ask yourselves why Harper is the first foreign leader to visit the Ukraine. I tend to believe that Obama is so far behind on the popularity scale, the enormous lies are not saving the White House this time, that Harper was probably asked (told) to go and do Obama’s bidding. This Harper administration has changed the role of Canada on the world’s stage from a peaceful and liberal nation to another subsidiary of the American military complex.”
I agree, Canada used to be such nice and reasonable country – what a pity…
The above notwithstanding, in this article I will prove that this “historic” visit by Canada’s PM Harper to Ukraine goes well beyond him being a US stooge. Harper’s interest in Ukraine is more than that. Here is why:
First: Many of the old immigrants from Western Ukraine and their heirs reside in Canada. There are some of those in the US, but fewer. The immigrants from Ukraine tend to be farmers, as that is what they used to do in the old country. Canada happened to be the preferred place for Ukrainian emigration throughout the 20th century. The two main waves of the Ukrainian immigration to Canada were: 1. anti-Russian, anti-communist, ultra-nationalist Ukrainians who fled from the newly formed USSR after losing the 1918-1920 Civil War; 2. Ukrainian nazis from the Galichina SS division – the most vicious SS division of which even Hitler was afraid. After the USSR won the war against Hitler, these Ukrainian SS members fled to the USA, Argentina, but primarily to Canada.
These were the people who always hated Russia. I met some of them in the USA and I wish I didn’t. For them time stands still as they still carry their old hates and spites through all these years. For those who don’t know, SS Division Galichina, and its leader Stepan Bandera, who is considered by the Ukraine’s new government the biggest Ukrainian hero, killed and tortured to death hundreds of thousands of Russians, Ukrainians and Poles. After this, no wonder the Crimeans and Russian-speakers in Ukraine are afraid for their lives.
The descendants of these people currently form a powerful Ukrainian lobby in Canada. I am sure Canadian political insiders can put exact numbers to my words. However, from where I sit, I strongly suspect Canadian policies are influenced in no small measure by this Ukrainian diaspora. The same way as the long-standing US Cuban embargo (whether such embargo makes sense or not) continues being strongly influenced by the powerful Cuban anti-Castro lobby from Miami.
The citizens of both USA and Canada should seriously consider who, how and why is secretly pulling the strings of their countries’ political leaders behind their backs and contrary to the people’s true interests.
Secondly, here are two very interesting questions for the investigative journalists out there:
1. Does Harper himself have any Western Ukrainian roots? Considering how passionately and eagerly he is acting in this case, it seems likely.
2. Even if this isn’t so, he must show to his electorate that he’s tough. What is Harper’s electorate? Did Harper get political contributions from the Ukrainian lobby/organizations in Canada? He may be working off the money he received from his electorate, and I bet those who specialize in Canadian politics will find that a chunk of his political contributions comes from the Western Ukrainian lobby in his country.
Finally! As always, follow the money and you’ll know the truth. Both Canada and USA are actively engaged in #fracking, or hydraulic fracturing – a very harmful to Earth and nature procedure to extract natural gas. Canada’s fracking is probably even more invasive than USA’s, with huge potential consequences to the country’s nature and its future. USA/Canada are engaged in a global campaign to sell fracking as panacea for those countries that rely on natural gas exports.
To remind: Russia is the world’s largest natural gas exporter. Russia also announced that they emphatically ban fracking as the barbaric method of gas extraction.
Ukraine receives the majority of their gas from Russia. Ukraine’s debt to Russia for gas now exceeds $2bln, and it keeps growing by day, while Ukraine is broke. Actually, Ukraine’s overall debt to Russia is at least $16 bln (by some estimates $36bln), depending on whether Russia decides to press for it or not. But this is a separate story which I’ll discuss in another article.
Recently, with USA’s and Canada’s financing, technology and direct participation, Ukraine started fracking to decrease dependence on Russian gas. For Ukraine this could undermine their entire way of life. Ukrainian black soils, chernozem, are considered the richest and most productive in the world. Prized chernozem soils exist only in south-western parts of Russia and in parts of Ukraine. Fracking threatens to poison these soils and further destroy the disastrously mismanaged Ukrainian agriculture.
Citizens of New York State, where I used to live, have for years succeeded in keeping the fracking vultures out of state. Read my article here. Ohio recently announced a state-wide moratorium on fracking after the state started registering the increasing number of quakes. But look what fracking has done to Pennsylvania and Texas! It poisoned their lands and created daily tremors and earthquakes.
Profit-driven fracking companies are looking for new ways to make money as citizens in the USA start saying no. If they can’t frack freely in North America, they have to go international. This is Harper’s secret goal – securing more fracking contracts. And if they can hurt Russian financial interests in the process – they would consider that a wonderful side-effect.
Consequently, Stephen Harper’s interest in Ukraine is more than just political. He surely is there to sign more fracking deals. Meanwhile, Ukraine is being designated as their cannon fodder.
For more read new page Predictions
Check out Lada Ray’s books that take place in Russia: The Earth Shifter and Gold Train
Lots of good info with Jim Willie. The fall of #SaudiArabia, #petrodollar, #USA. Geopolitics of #China, #Russia, the #BRICS, #Iran, natural gas, #Gazprom, pipelines, #Cyprus and more.
Warning: some items in his narrative (mostly in the second half) may seem like a far-fetched “fantasy.” There is lots of interesting stuff here and the important thing is to keep an open mind. I can neither confirm nor deny some of Jim’s info or conclusions in the second half of the interview. Still, a lot of what he says, primarily in the first half, I know to be true or at least plausible. So, have a listen and use your best judgement.