Thursday, April 24, 2008
EU Not to Lower Energy Dependence on Russia
Apr. 22, 2008 - Kommersant - Unstable supplies of the Central Asian gas to Europe is one of the highlights for the EU nations that do utmost to lower dependence on Russia’s gas. But as long as Russia is the owner of the world’s biggest gas wealth, it will remain the key exporter of gas all efforts of the EU notwithstanding, the analysts say. For Europe, the issue turned into a priority in 2006 in the wake of the gas clashes of Russia and Ukraine. Nabucco project was elaborated to diversify the supplies but it won’t be easy to execute it, the analysts predict. The current plans are that Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Egypt and even Iraq will take part in Nabucco. But their gas won’t suffice to secure supplies via the pipeline worth $7.21 billion. So, the forecast of the analysts of the International Crisis Group is that big money will be injected in developing new fields and improving the infrastructure in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. What’s more, the skyrocketing growth in fuel prices changed force alignment on the global market of raw and the change wasn’t for the benefit of foreign companies, the analysts say, specifying that a nonresident company faces more difficulties in Russia today. In 1970s for instance, global oil giants controlled roughly 75 percent of crude oil fields and 80 percent of production. But they currently control only 6 percent of crude oil resources and 20 percent of the gas ones, and the national corporations have the remainder. For Russia's gas industry, the key problem is the delay in some projects. The launch of Shtokman field in the Barents Sea, which reserves are enough to meet gas requirements of the whole world during a year was slated for 2003. At present, however, Gazprom promised to start gas production in the region no sooner than in 2013. The dragging development of the Arctic shelf is another concern. Gazprom needed roughly 10 years to finally agree on the list of participants and find foreign partners.