Friday, February 02, 2007

Russia, Iran and gas: pure Python

David Seaton's News Links
George Bush is beginning to look and sound more and more like a character out of a Monty Python sketch... Which one? Take your pick.

The principal Python ingredient is people talking total rubbish in dead earnest... Oblivious to reality... Like the scene in "The Meaning of Life", where two suburban couples entertain the "Grim Reaper" at home...(Hint: It was the Mayonnaise.)

Here Bush is threatening military action against Iran, while Russia and Iran are about to corner the market of natural gas. This will have little effect on residents of the USA, which has its own supplies, but will split off most of America's allies, read: Europe, Japan, India etc, who are totally dependent on imported natural gas. Without firing a shot it weakens America's most important strategic alliances. It's like taking candy from a baby, really. DS

Russia and Iran Discuss A Cartel For Natural Gas - Wall Street Journal
Abstract: Russia and Iran -- which hold nearly half the world's natural-gas reserves -- are talking about creating an OPEC-like organization for gas, a move that has the potential to unsettle energy markets and redraw geopolitical alignments. Gas accounts for a growing share of global energy use, but the nations that produce most of it don't work together to influence markets. That's a stark contrast to the oil market, in which members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries manage output to keep prices at levels they favor. During his annual news conference in the Kremlin yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "a gas OPEC is an interesting idea. We will think about it."(...) The prospect of Russia and Iran working together to influence markets can't be comforting for Western countries. While Russia doesn't have the same pariah status as Iran, Moscow has under Mr. Putin faced increasing criticism for using its vast energy riches as a diplomatic lever. Early last year, state-controlled gas giant OAO Gazprom cut off supplies of natural gas to neighboring Ukraine in a pricing dispute that briefly reduced the volumes delivered further down the pipeline in Europe. Together Russia and Iran hold more than 40% of the world's known gas reserves, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Moscow has cultivated relations with Tehran in recent years, building a nuclear-power plant in Iran and last year selling it air-defense missiles. Moscow has also resisted efforts to increase international pressure on Iran over concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. (...) Mr. Putin has been working to strengthen Moscow's ties with other major gas producers. After he visited Algeria last year, Gazprom last month reached a series of cooperation agreements with Algeria's Sonatrach, Europe's No. 3 supplier. European Union Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs called for an explanation from Algeria and Russia, since they could use their 35% share of the European market to potentially fix prices. Next week, Mr. Putin travels to the Persian Gulf on a trip that will include the first-ever visit by a Russian leader to Qatar, which controls the world's third-largest gas reserves.
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