Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gasputin? Nato fears Russian plans for ‘gas Opec’ - Financial Times

David Seaton's News Links
Gasputin? All the multicolored "Springs" have led to this. Hardly a day goes by without some editorialist somewhere wagging his finger at Putin, but all the scolding in the world isn't going to change the facts... It will take a great deal of global warming before the European winters stop being cold. Algeria seems to see the "synergies" too. The good news? Thanks to the Chinese the price of eiderdown quilts is coming down. DS

Nato advisers have warned the military alliance that it needs to guard against any attempt by Russia to set up an “Opec for gas” that would strengthen Moscow’s leverage over Europe. A confidential study by Nato economics experts, sent to the ambassadors of its 26 member states last week, warned that Russia may be seeking to build a gas cartel including Algeria, Qatar, Libya, the countries of Central Asia and perhaps Iran. The study, by Nato’s economics committee, said Russia was seeking to use energy policy to pursue political ends, particularly in dealings with neighbours such as Georgia and Ukraine. On Monday night, Dmitry Peskov, deputy Kremlin spokesman, insisted there was “no substance at all” to the suggestion that Russia was seeking a gas cartel. “I think the authors of such an idea simply fail to understand our thesis about energy security,” he said. “Our main thesis is interdependence of producers and consumers. Only a madman could think that Russia would start to blackmail Europe using gas, because we depend to the same extent on European customers.” Although there is disagreement over whether Russia could create any such cartel, the report highlights the deepening tensions between Western Europe and Moscow over energy security.(...) yesterday, EU foreign ministers failed to agree a line on Russian energy, with Poland continuing to seek a tougher stance in future talks with Moscow. Last month, before an EU summit with Russia, Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, highlighted a Russian deal with Algeria, which he said stopped Algeria selling majority stakes in gas projects to foreign investors. “We are witnessing some form of mutual agreement as Russia and Algeria restrain investment,” said one industry analyst. READ ALL

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