Turkey stands to gain major business from both of these huge projects running through Turkey. Our Zionist Empire is causing all this nation-building ruckus for oil and pipelines. Period. In the end, we do not EVER fight wars for human rights or noble causes. We fight them to pirate somebody's oil/gas and other resources, pipelines, strategic locations, banking. I am yet to find a war motivated by anything else.....
The developments around the Trans-Caspian Pipeline project supposed to provide an undersea energy supply link between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are about to reach a critical point. Brussels and Ashgabat are determined to go ahead with the construction regardless of the fact that as of today the Caspian states have failed to reach consensus on the status of the landlocked Caspian Sea, while Moscow and Tehran express opposition to the implementation of any energy transit projects before the existing legal disputes are resolved.
Over the past year, the EU took a series of steps evidently meant to put Russia under greater pressure over the Trans-Caspian pipeline project. In line with the strategy, Brussels threatens to bloc Moscow's South Stream pipeline project. Last September, German diplomacy chief Guido Westerwelle visited Ashgabat to hold talks with Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and to attend the Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan - 2011 international exhibition. Westerwelle's visit – notably, the first one since the 2006 presidency change in the country – was prepared without publicity and announced only when the German foreign minister was already en route to Turkmenistan. The issues on the negotiating table were deeper EU-Turkmenistan cooperation, the situation in Afghanistan, and the plans for the Nabucco construction. Judging by Westerwelle's expressions of confidence that the talks over Nabucco would be successful and that Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan would both join the partnership, his mission was to defuse the current discord between the two.
A few days ago, Ashgabat rolled out the results of the second phase of its gas reserves audit which was conducted by Gaffney, Cline & Associates. According to Turkmen vice premier Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov, fresh estimates put the reserves at 71.21b tons vs. the former 44.25b. Roughly a half of the amount is localized within the South Yolotan field, the resource base of the Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan – China pipeline inaugurated in 2009. Gaffney, Cline & Associates assess the South Yolotan field as the world's second-largest with an estimated total of 26.2 trillion cubic meters. The data combined with Turkmenistan's plan to raise the annual outputs of oil and gas to 67m tons and 220 bcm by 2030 seem to guarantee the task of export route diversification a line on the Turkmen agenda.
Gazprom deputy CEO A. Medvedev called the above estimates into question in a November 18 interview to Russia's Rossiya 24 state-run TV channel. He said that no serious study had been conducted in Turkmenistan to back the audit results and no research report had been presented, further stressing that the country does have gas fields but they lie in technologically difficult terrains. Medvedev cited the Soviet-era explorations which marked the launch of the Turkmen natural gas industry to explain that a full picture of Turkmenistan's reserves is no secret to Gazprom. There is certainly a point in Gazprom's position: Gaffney, Cline & Associates released bottom-line estimates with no in-depth study report, making their credibility impossible to gauge.
On November 19, Turkmenistan's foreign ministry lashed out at Gazprom in response, calling Medvedev's statement unethical and disrespectful to the country which remains a key partner in the energy sphere for Russia. Ashgabat charged that Medvedev deliberately gave a distorted description of the situation with the Turkmen natural resources and the Russian media increasingly attacked Turkmenistan over its “independent energy policies”. Moreover, the Turkmen foreign ministry voiced a projection that the South Yolotan field may prove to contain more than 26.2 trillion cubic meters on natural gas as the north-western, south-eastern, and western borders of the deposit site are yet to be defined. Based on the recent audit results, on November 18 the Turkmen president issued a decree by which the South Yolotan – Osman field was bracketed with several others located nearby under the title Galkynysh.
As a parallel process, Ashgabat is pouring increasing efforts into its east-bound energy policy. President Berdimuhamedow toured Beijing on November 22-25 and penned 14 energy deals, the main one being to add 25 bcm to Turkmenistan's annual export of natural gas to China. At the moment, the export targets for mid-2012 and 2015 are 30 bcm and 65 bcm respectively. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan similarly plan to supply 10 bcm and 12-15 bcm of natural gas to China. For Turkmenistan, the gas contracts with China are evidence of success of its export diversification policies which should prompt Russia and the EU to compete over the Turkmen energy resources.
It somehow evaded the media that the money for the field exploration and pipeline construction in Turkmenistan was borrowed from China. Under the arrangement, Turkmenistan has to supply gas to China at discount prices, and the revenues drawn from the country cannot offset Turkmenistan's losses incurred in gas transactions with Russia.
The expansion of gas supplies from Turkmenistan to China essentially puts obstacles in the way of the Trans-Caspian pipeline project as the question arises whether Ashgabat has sufficient resources to feed to all of its export avenues. For the EU, the rivalry with China, the country about to become the top-buyer of natural gas from Turkmenistan, looms on the horizon in any case. Azerbaijan, a Trans-Caspian project partner, is not as keenly interested in having the pipeline constructed since the Azerbaijani supplies via the Baku – Tbilisi - Erzurum pipeline to Turkey would be exposed to extra competition when the Turkmen gas starts to reach the country. Due to the reason, the diplomacies of the Nabucco partners are pushing Baku and Ashgabat to overcome their current disagreements. Finally, it is unclear how Turkmenistan and its partners are going to construct the Trans-Caspian pipeline absent a compromise on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Neither Russia nor Iran would tolerate infringements upon their interests in the Caspian region, while Kazakhstan whose own gas reserves are modest maintains neutrality in the dispute.
An escalation is imminent if drastic steps to advance the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline are taken. The US, which at the moment intends to shift some of its military infrastructures from Afghanistan to Central Asia, will likely intervene in the conflict.
Aleksandr ShustovProspects for the European Union's favored Nabucco natural-gas pipeline project appear to be dwindling, weeks before a consortium of Caspian Sea producers is due to choose one of four planned pipelines to carry its gas to Europe,
This week, Azerbaijan said it plans to build its own pipeline through Turkey that would run parallel to Nabucco's planned route. At the same time, the U.S. softened its years-long support for Nabucco, saying it now backs any of the four alternatives so long as they will deliver gas to the most "vulnerable" EU states.....
Nabucco has been planned since 2002 as a 2,400-mile (3,900-kilometer) pipeline that would carry up to 31 billion cubic meters of gas per year from eastern Turkey to a gas hub in Austria. The idea was developed to be a means of reducing the dependency of the EU on Russia for its gas supplies.
But the amount of non-Russian gas needed to fill Nabucco hasn't yet materialized. With budgets under severe strain and financing tight, the risk that the pipeline could remain unfilled for years before more gas becomes available looks increasingly unsustainable, analysts say.
"Nabucco, I think, commercially is a buried product. It's dead," said Borut Grgic, an energy specialist at the Atlantic Council, a U.S.-based think tank, echoing the consensus among numerous energy executives and analysts at the council's Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum in Istanbul, which ended Friday.
Ambassador Richard Morningstar, the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, issued a statement Thursday denying reports earlier in the week in which he had appeared to say the U.S. now preferred one of the shorter, cheaper alternatives to Nabucco.
"Nabucco continues to be a highly desirable political and strategic option. As with any pipeline, it must be commercially viable," Mr. Morningstar said.
The statement demonstrated a shift of U.S. policy from support of Nabucco specifically to support of any pipeline that would ensure energy-security goals. It went on to set out conditions to support Nabucco's smaller competitors.
To be sure, political support for Nabucco remains strong. The European Commission, also represented at the two-day conference, says it remains fully committed to the pipeline project. "Nabucco is also the only project in the Southern Corridor that will enable economies of scale and diversification of gas sources to Europe. We are operating off a very strong basis and there is no reason why, on the political, economic or commercial level, our project won't succeed," said Christian Dolezal, spokesman for the Nabucco consortium.
Rovnag Abdullayev, chief executive of Azerbaijan's state energy company Socar, said Thursday at the conference that Azerbaijan would build a pipeline through Turkey but that it wouldn't affect Nabucco.
Speaking in Moscow on Friday, another senior Azeri official appeared to suggest Nabucco as a longer-term solution. "I think Nabucco's time will come," said Azeri Energy Minister Natig Aliyev, adding that once all Azerbaijan's projects come online—not just its offshore Shah Deniz field—as well as gas from third countries, Nabucco could be the best option.
"Europe is obviously lobbying for the Nabucco pipeline," Mr. Aliyev said. "But we believe that apart from Nabucco, which has certain elements of uncertainty about the timeline of its development, there are other projects that can be seen as attractive."
Frustration over Nabucco's slow progress in securing gas and contracts has been growing in Baku, the Azeri capital, as well as in transit countries.
"If Nabucco is as strategic to the European Commission as they claim, they should have funded it by now. On one side we say it's strategic, but we're haggling about every single thing," said Trayko Traykov, Bulgaria's energy minister, in an interview on the margins of the energy forum.
After more than a decade of discussions, the consortium that is extracting gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field, led by BP PLC and Norway's Statoil, is evaluating the four pipeline proposals and putting them together with offers from the consumers that each pipeline would supply.
Nabucco's competitors include the Interconnection Turkey Greece Italy, or ITGI, project, and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, both of which would take up to an initial 10 billion cubic meters of gas transmitted through Turkey's existing gas network to the Turkish border, and then move it across Greece and underwater to Italy, as well as to countries in the Balkans.
BP proposed a fourth alternative at the last moment, which was to build no pipeline at all, but instead to construct a series of interconnectors to join the gas networks of ex-communist countries in southeastern Europe that are currently dependent on Russia for up to 100% of their gas supplies.
All three alternatives would be much less expensive to build than Nabucco, which is expected to cost well above its official estimate of €7.9 billion ($10.6 billion).
The European Union currently consumes more than 500 billion cubic meters of gas a year, making even Nabucco a relatively small addition. But political and commercial competition over the route has been intense because it would blaze a non-Russian trail that could ultimately bring much larger quantities of gas to Europe from Central Asia, Iraq and Iran, analysts and diplomats said.
If anything, Europe's demand expectations for gas have increased in recent months. Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italy's Eni SpA, said Friday in a speech to the Istanbul Forum that Germany's decision to accelerate closure of its nuclear plants in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster would boost demand for gas by 30 billion cubic meters per year.
That, he said, increased the need for Russia's answer to Nabucco, called South Stream, an even bigger and more expensive 63 billion cubic meter pipeline project that would take Russian gas across the Black Sea to Europe, in which Eni is a partner.
Mr. Scaroni then poked fun at South Stream's non-Russian rivals. "What strikes me about this list of projects is that there seem to be rather a lot of them, while possibly there may not be enough non-Russian gas," he said.—Jacob Pedersen
On the afternoon of September 9th, a massive power outage in the American Southwest blackened cities from California's San Diego and Orange counties to eastern Arizona and Mexico's border cities, including Tijuana. In spite of the fact that power was restored within twenty-four hours to most of the customers thrown-offline, the power cut caused the San Onofre nuclear plant to go offline, trains to be cancelled, the airport in San Diego, California to close down, massive traffic problems and delays due to non-functioning signal systems, and it shut down sewage stations, causing raw sewage to spill into a lagoon, a river and a portion of San Diego Bay. The blackout, just two days before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, attributed to an employee generated accident, understandably caused nerves to fray. More importantly it is yet again another wake-up call to the US general public, and for global power consumers for that matter, about just how vulnerable electrical transmission systems are and or to look at it another way just how dependent modern life is on uninterrupted power flow. It is not fear-mongering that prompts this reflection but a healthy dose of uncertainty as to whether the right policies are being pursued to provide strength and resilience to America’s power grid; if they are not then what are our options? While all the details of this blackout, the largest in Southern California history, will play out over the following weeks and months the JES will certainly follow with detailed analyses on what actually transpired.
World energy sensibilities were also raised by a few other incidents over the past weeks that are worth noting. The first was the inauguration on September 6th of the Nord Stream pipeline, ultimately a 55 billion cubic meter pipeline system that will send Russian gas directly to Germany. In doing so it will emasculate the winnowing political leverage Russia’s major gas transit state, Ukraine, has in negotiating with the Russian Federation over everything from the future ownership of Ukraine’s gas infrastructure to Russia’s naval presence in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Nord Stream is undoubtedly a major political commercial victory for Russia attested to by the fact that Russia’s Prime Minister Putin attended the ceremony which he initially launched as President. What remains to be seen is whether this pipeline, and more like it such as Russia’s South Stream project, will add to or detract from European energy security. It is interesting to note that in the water realm, where trans-boundary water agreements have been concluded, this has lead to a formidable decrease in trans-border water related conflicts. These water agreements take their genus from the unwritten general rule that established democracies do not go to war with one another given the multiple sub-sets of linkages in trade, cooperation, and security that underscore democratic-to-democratic relationships. Can the same be said of trans-boundary pipeline projects such as Nord Stream? This certainly hasn’t been the case for Russia-Ukraine disputes arising from Ukraine’s transiting of Russian gas across its territory but then again Russia isn’t a democracy and Ukraine a fledgling one. Another development in German-Russian energy relations has been Gazprom’s play to take a major stake in Germany’s second largest utility RWE. RWE, having lost a reported 20% of its power generating capacity with Chancellor Merkel’s shut down of Germany’s nuclear power industry and a further loss of 30% in market value due to these developments, needs a cash infusion that Gazprom is more than willing to provide. According to a Reuter’s report, due to these developments RWE has seen its net profit plunge by some 40% over the first six months of 2011. Unless the Merkel decision is overturned by a German court, an unlikely event, Gazprom will more further integrate its vertical gas stream integration strategy into power generation in Europe’s largest industrial nation.
Finally, the European Commission doesn’t seem to be taking all of this on the chin. The Commission, having long failed to create a unified European external energy policy, announced at the beginning of September its desire to have member states share information on energy deals with foreign suppliers. Given RWE’s financial woes and Gazprom’s desire to cement this RWE-Gazprom deal into legal stone the pressure is on to conclude the contract in the event the Commission is successful in its efforts. Reluctance on the part of EU members is high if only because they would cede even more power to Brussels’s policy makers that already drive approximately 80% of legislation [law] across all EU-27 nations through a complicated process that seems to escape the knowledge of EU citizens themselves. Energy policy has also long been the prevue of national governments and oil and gas companies reluctant to submit what they consider confidential information to the non-elected in Brussels for their take on what they consider commercial decisions. These events including many more around the world in the energy and security domains demonstrate the increasing dynamism of energy as a security issue and the complexity of decisions which must be taken to protect citizens, regardless of local, access to power and commodities that ensure their present and future security. The nagging question to be asked is while ‘energy’ is a product that is generated, bought, and sold how ‘energy security’ can be bolstered as a public good not unlike national defense, the integrity of electrical power systems, or from the systematic transfer of industries critical for national security to foreign powers.