Archive for the ‘Gazprom’ Category

Russia and Ukraine Reach Deal on Gas, Europe Sceptical

January 19, 2009

The prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed Sunday to resolve their gas dispute, with an understanding that prices would be pegged to the price of oil, but with a discount for 2009 that means Ukraine could pay little more than it did last year.

By Andrew Kramer
The New York Times

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and his Ukrainian ... 
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko meet for talks in Moscow early January 18, 2009.(Alexander Prokopenko/Pool/Reuters)
The deal, expected to be signed Monday, came after a din of criticism from officials in Europe, where more than 20 countries have been affected since a Jan. 6 cutoff of natural gas and at least 12 people have frozen to death in a dispute that is ostensibly over prices and transit fees, but that is also deeply entwined in post-Soviet politics.

If the agreement holds — and previous deals have not — the gas dispute would essentially end where it started in terms of prices, in what would be a baffling result considering the hardship caused by the embargo. It was unclear after the announcement when gas would start flowing back to Europe.

Read the rest:


Europe Not Sure if Russian – Ukraine Gas Agreement Can Be Trusted

MOSCOW, (AFP) – Russia and Ukraine were set to finalise a deal on Monday to get natural gas flowing again, but the European Union remained sceptical about an imminent end to its worst-ever gas crisis.

Millions of Europeans have been left shivering without heat in winter after gas supplies were turned off due to a bitter dispute between the two ex-Soviet neighbours.

The details of an accord reached by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko on Sunday were to be worked out by the two countries’ state gas companies, Gazprom and Naftogaz.

In a joint appearance Sunday to announce their agreement after marathon late-night talks, Putin said gas flows to Europe would resume “shortly” while Tymoshenko said the two companies had until Monday to draw up the agreements.

A spokeswoman for Tymoshenko said she intended to return to Moscow on Monday for the signing ceremony.

The EU cautiously welcomed Sunday’s agreement but said the real test was whether gas would start flowing again.

“We welcome the announcement of a political accord, but we are quite cautious because there have been too many broken accords and promises not kept,” a spokesman for the Czech presidency of the EU said in a statement.

In televised comments, Czech Industry Minister Martin Riman said he was only “slightly optimistic” about the deal.

“If the deliveries don’t resume despite such strong declarations by the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers, there will be a total crash in the confidence of EU consumers, citizens and the enterprise,” he added.

Read the rest:


Ukraine needlessly pokes Russia

January 16, 2009

As in 2006, many in Europe are again shivering through a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural-gas prices. But if only money were at stake, this row would be easily resolved, and gas would be flowing freely to the 18 countries downstream from the pipeline disruption.

Europe receives about 25 percent of its gas from Russia, and most of it travels via Ukraine. Kiev and Moscow will talk again this weekend, but they’ll have to put aside deep political resentments if they are to reach an agreement.

From the Christian Science Monitor

Workers inspect gas tubes in the main gas station in Vodice, ... 
Workers inspect gas tubes in the main gas station in Vodice, Slovenia. Ukraine prepared Friday to host a summit of eastern European chiefs of state ahead of new talks on its gas war with Moscow, as Europe batted aside a Kremlin proposal for a summit in Moscow to resolve a feud that has left millions of Europeans freezing(AFP/Matej Leskovsek)

The gas interruption has gone on for two weeks, but the underlying tensions stretch back further: to Russia’s invasion of neighbor Georgia in August, to Ukraine’s NATO aspirations, and to its “Orange Revolution” in 2004 that set it on a westward democratic course away from Russia.

The crisis tests Russia’s role as a reliable energy supplier and responsible world player. Last week, the Monitor’s View suggested that if Russia held up a mirror, it would see that its own policies exacerbate its economic and energy woes.

If Russia hadn’t spent a gusher on renationalizing its energy sector, for instance, monolith Gazprom wouldn’t be so desperate to raise cash and gas prices. If the hefty bear weren’t so belligerent toward its neighbors, Ukraine might not now have its own hackles up.

Read the rest:

Power, politics fuels Russia-Ukraine war

January 15, 2009

More than a week after Russia halted natural gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine, about one-fifth of Europe’s supplies remains hostage to a conflict that goes far beyond energy prices.

By DOUGLAS BIRCH, Associated Press Writer

While the dispute has commercial roots, it is revealing itself increasingly to be a political struggle rooted in Ukraine’s embrace of the West, domestic politics on both sides, and the Kremlin’s ambition to expand its role as an energy superpower.

So far neither side seems in a hurry to resolve the crisis, which has crippled parts of eastern Europe particularly. Instead, each may be jockeying for long-term advantage in a high-stakes confrontation that could reorder Europe’s energy grid.

Negotiations broke down Dec. 31, leading Russia’s Gazprom to cut off the delivery of gas intended for Ukraine’s domestic consumption the next day. Gazprom cut off all shipments through Ukraine to Europe a week later, claiming Ukraine was siphoning gas that had been meant to transit its territory westward to Europe.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has taken a tough line on negotiations — demanding Ukraine’s Naftogaz pay Russia the same as far wealthier western European customers….

 Russia’s Real Gas Pain is Pro-Western Ukraine

“Russia once again proves to be a petulant bully”

Read the rest:

Russia restarts pumping gas to Europe

January 13, 2009

Russia’s Gazprom state gas monopoly on Tuesday resumed pumping supplies to Europe via Ukraine after a six-day cutoff, a company spokesman said.

The company turned on the taps after 10 a.m. Moscow times (0700 GMT), said Gazprom spokesman Boris Sapozhnikov at Sudzha gas metering station on the border with Ukraine.

Russian and European Union officials said it would take at least a day for gas to reach consumers in Europe after the first gas is pumped into Ukraine.

Associated Press

Russia had accused Ukraine of stealing gas intended for Europe and only restarted supplies after a EU-led monitoring mission was deployed to the Ukrainian territory to track gas flow.

Ukraine fiercely denied the siphoning charge, but Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko warned Monday Ukraine will have to use some gas from Russia as so-called “technical gas” to power compressors that push Europe-bound gas through the pipelines.

Gazprom has insisted it’s Ukraine’s duty to provide the gas, setting the stage for more bickering and possible supply interruptions.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Gazprom to reduce supplies if it again sees Ukraine siphoning gas, and suspend it completely if it believes Ukraine continuously steals gas.

Read the rest:

Crisis puts Putin’s power “tandem” in doubt

January 12, 2009

A plunging rouble, ravaged stock prices and rising unemployment are threatening to upset the delicate power structure used by Vladimir Putin to rule Russia from beyond the Kremlin. Skip related content

When Putin left the Kremlin for the modest confines of the prime minister’s office in May, he still controlled a vast flow of petrodollars that helped keep everyone from senior generals to factory workers firmly behind his leadership.

But as a growing economic crisis touches ever more Russians, analysts are starting to question the sustainability of the two-man “tandem” that Putin has built to share power with his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev.

“There are very serious grounds for a plunge in the ratings of Putin and Medvedev, which are now too high for such a crisis situation,” said Nikolai Petrov, a Moscow-based political analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Centre.

“This is very dangerous for the whole political system,” he said.

In one of the first hints a gap could be opening up between the two men, Medvedev on Sunday criticized Putin’s government for not acting quickly enough to deal with the fall-out from the financial crisis; though he did not mention his mentor by name.

Read the rest fro Reuters:

U.S., Russia At New Cossroads

January 11, 2009

In August of last year, a new Russia presented itself to the world. From the battlefield of Georgia, Russia seemed to be saying “We are no longer seeking the good opinion of the West.” The new taste for confrontation was seen by many as a byproduct of oil and natural gas wealth, which had given Russian leaders the confidence to risk international isolation. In the title of a book he published in April, the scholar Marshall Goldman offered a one-word explanation: “Petrostate.”

That thesis may end up having a short shelf life. Russian leaders, who no longer believe the ruble will become an international reserve currency, now face a confluence of disasters: The price of a barrel of oil has slid below $40; shares of Gazprom fell 76 percent in one year and more than a quarter of Russia’s cash reserves have been spent shoring up the ruble.

But does that mean the world can expect a thaw in relations between Russia and the United States? The question is being raised at a moment of high tension. The deadlock between Russia and Ukraine on natural gas prices has drawn in all of Europe and the threat of renewed violence in Georgia persists.

By Ellen Barry
International Herald Tribune

There appear to be two potential paths for Russian-American ties. The first scenario is one of cooperation in times of a global financial collapse. Henry Kissinger, who traveled to Moscow last month, offered the view that the global financial crisis could lead to “an age of compatible interests” between the two countries. Or, as Alexander Rahr of the Council on Foreign Relations in Germany put it: “We have all become weaker. We have all become poorer.”

Read the rest:

Russia, Ukraine: Cold Gas Diplomacy Thaw?

January 9, 2009

Russia and the European Union clinched a deal on monitoring gas shipments through Ukraine, paving a way for the resumption of deliveries to EU countries.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reached an accord with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who holds the EU’s presidency, on deploying a monitoring commission. Russia and Ukraine still have to resolve their dispute over gas prices, fees and debt that’s hit supplies to at least 20 nations.


Since a previous dispute over gas prices in 2006, European Union nations have diversified their sources of fuel and improved inventories. They are also using more gas, the source of 24 percent of the world’s energy in 2007, to reduce emissions linked to global warming. OAO Gazprom suspended transit flows on Jan. 7 after accusing Ukraine of siphoning off gas destined for other buyers, a charge the country denies.

“It’s high time the EU gets serious about gas security and presses ahead with the creation of a single gas market,” Pierre Noel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in an e-mailed statement. “The EU must be instrumental in the push for investment” in eastern states.

The deal came after talks in Brussels involving Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller, his counterpart at NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, Oleh Dubina and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stalled as the EU sought to negotiate an end to the dispute.

The agreement “should lead” to Russian gas supplies to the EU being restored, the Czech presidency said on its Web site.

Read the rest:

Ukraine-Russia Gas Talks End With No Result; Europe Shivers

January 8, 2009

Gas talks overnight between Ukraine‘s state energy firm Naftogaz and Russia’s gas export monopoly, Gazprom, ended with no concrete results, the head of Naftogaz was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Interfax-Ukraine quoted Naftogaz chief Oleh Dubyna as saying the talks in Moscow with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller ended without result but that they would be continued.

Austria's OMV gas refinery -- one of Europe's largest -- has seen its deliveries from Russia cut.

Above: Austria’s OMV gas refinery — one of Europe’s largest — has seen its deliveries from Russia cut.

The news agency also quoted Dubyna as saying that three-way talks in Brussels, involving the European Union, had been canceled at the behest of the Russian side.

(Reporting from Reuters by Yuri Kulikov, writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Christian Lowe)


From the BBC
Some EU states are getting no gas at all or have seen supplies sharply cut.

Ukraine denies Russian accusations that it is stealing gas passing through export pipelines on its territory.

Russia cut gas to Ukraine itself a week ago as a row over allegedly unpaid bills escalated.

Read the rest:


From CNN
Oleh Dubyna, the chief executive of Ukraine’s Naftogaz, told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the Thursday meeting in Brussels between himself, the European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Gazprom boss Alexey Miller had been cancelled by the Russians.

Dubyna said talks would, however, continue in Moscow.

“What matters most now is to restart gas shipments to Ukraine,” he said.

Read the rest:

General view of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom's headquarters ... 
General view of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom’s headquarters in Moscow, January 6, 2009. Gazprom said on Tuesday it had supplied around 65 million cubic metres of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Tuesday, compared with around 300 mcm in previous days.REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin (RUSSIA)

Russia’s Putin Shuts Off Gas to Europe

January 7, 2009

It seems somewhat off to us that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia has said he’ll fully support a negatiated cease fire in Gaza.

Never mind that Russia is arming Syria and others around Israel.

What really causes us to wonder is Putin’s demonstrated use of power over ngotaiation in Georgia, Ukraine and now to all of Europe.

Putin and former head of Gazprom Dmitry Medvedev got Russia rich and powerful again with gas and oil.  Now they are using that power, and the very gas and oil all need, to “negotiate” with the Westward-leaning government of  Ukraine, and along with them all of Russia’s friends in Europe.

From the Associated Press:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered Gazprom to stop all shipments of natural gas to Europe through Ukraine.

Russian gas is already not getting through the pipelines that cross Ukraine. Gazprom has blamed Ukraine, saying Russia has delivered the gas but Ukraine has shut down the pipelines and is stealing gas intended for Europe.

Ukraine insists that Russia stopped supplying the gas on Wednesday morning.

Putin told Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to go ahead and stop deliveries. He said this should be done “publicly and in the presence of international observers.”

Sixteen countries have stopped receiving Russian gas or have seen a sharp drop in supplies.

Europe depends on Russia for a quarter of its gas, 80 percent of which goes through Ukraine.

Ukraine Accuses Russia of Cutting Off Gas to Europe

January 7, 2009

Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that Russia had cut off all gas supplies through pipelines crossing Ukrainian territory, the latest move in a devastating pricing dispute between the two neighbors that has already left a number of countries without gas.

Valentyn Zemlyansky, spokesman for state gas company Naftogaz, said Russia’s gas giant Gazprom completely stopped sending gas to European consumers at 7:44 a.m. (0544 GMT). Eighty percent of Russian gas is shipped via Ukraine.

By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer

“Words fail us,” Zemlyansky said of Gazprom’s move.

Russia confirmed the cutoff but said it was Ukraine’s fault because it had shut down the last pipeline carrying gas from Russia.

The Russia-Ukraine natural gas dispute has hit Europe with the force of a winter storm. It has affected at least a dozen nations. Tens of thousands of people were left without heat and governments scrambled to find alternative energy sources.

Before Wednesday, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey had all reported a halt in gas shipments, while France, Germany, Austria, Poland and Hungary had reported substantial drops in supplies from Russia.

Read the rest: