Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Nord Stream 2 Natural Gas Pipeline Is A Game Changer For Gazprom

We had planned to link to a Euractiv post on the new pipe when Oilprice came up with one.
So now you get both.
First though some orientation:

From Oilprice:
It’s difficult to imagine an energy company that’s more hated and more closely monitored than Gazprom.

Perhaps in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP attained similar levels of public oversight.

Nevertheless, defying most trends, 2017 will go down in history as one of Gazprom’s successful years: for the first time in history, its share in Europe’s gas consumption reportedly reached 40 percent.

Despite seemingly crippling U.S. sanctions specifically targeting Gazprom’s European endeavors and the EU’s hastily engineered gas rules, the construction of Nord Stream 2 has been going forward as planned, moreover, the project’s European partners (Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, Wintershall) wholly fulfilled their financial obligations.

Gazprom increased gas sales to almost all its buyers in Europe. Germany’s intake reached a historic maximum of 53.4 BCm (Nord Stream-I utilization rate was equally at an unseen high of 93 percent). Turkey took in 29 BCm (18 percent growth). France totaled 12.3 BCm (7 percent growth). A combination of cold weather, low price and shrinking domestic gas output in Europe led Gazprom to a spectacular increase in production, too — its year-on-year growth amounted to 52 BCm/year.
Despite regularly occurring fakes that Gazprom is running short of gas, the gas giant is still keeping idle at 100-120 BCm/year of surplus production, mostly on the Yamal peninsula. So technically it can increase its supplies even further, but the real question is whether there will be sufficient demand to meet it.
Further dramatic Europe-bound increases are unlikely until Nord Stream 2 gets onstream. The next few winters might not be as cold as previous ones; oil-pegged gas prices start to appreciate and demand is constrained by existing supply routes. Still, once a pipe dream, now Nord Stream 2 increasingly stands out as Gazprom’s future claim on further European consolidation. The European Commission antitrust enquiry is effectively retracted from the DG Comp’s agenda after Gazprom agreed not to object to cross-border sales of resold Russian gas and make destination clauses flexible.

The EU legal service’s legal opinion on the applicability of the Third Gas Package to an offshore pipeline Nord Stream 2 (it found it was not) all but buried any future European Commission aspirations to block the project. The European Council chief, Donald Tusk, keeps on urging member states to adopt new EU gas rules which would specifically target maritime gas pipelines feeding the EU, however, Germany and France seem highly reluctant to go along with it. If the required legislation is not passed unilaterally before Nord Stream 2 is built (and its construction is already well underway and expected to be finished in 2019), Germany could treat the gas pipeline as a domestic matter, similarly to Nord Stream 1, and act without the EU’s supervision....

HT: ZeroHedge

And from Euractiv:
EU need not fear new Russian gas pipeline
DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.

Europe’s continuing need for Russian gas – for reasons of proximity and price – is a reality, but it need not leave the EU over a barrel, writes Noah Gordon.

Noah Gordon is a researcher at the Centre for European Reform (CER), a London-based think tank.
Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has fuelled fresh debate about the European Union’s dependence on gas from Russia.

Critics say that although Western Europe would benefit from cheaper gas, the new pipeline would give Moscow more power over Central Europe’s energy supply and damage Ukraine’s economy. But the risks to the EU can be mitigated if the bloc continues to build a better-integrated, better-connected gas market.

The proposed new pipeline would follow the route of Nord Stream 1 in the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany, doubling its capacity. The backers of the project are Gazprom, the state-owned Russian company, and five energy companies from Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Germany, which promises to become a more important energy hub if the project goes ahead, is supportive, as are Austria and the Netherlands. They argue that the new pipeline makes commercial sense and could also increase security of supply, citing the pricing disputes between Russia and Ukraine that disrupted gas flows to Europe in 2006 and 2009. In 2016, 53% of Russian gas exports to the EU went through Ukraine. With Nord Stream 2, Gazprom could reduce gas exports to the EU that go through Ukraine to around a quarter of current volumes.

However, a group led by Poland and the Baltic States want the pipeline cancelled. They argue that it is a political project to boost Moscow’s hand in the region, and note current import pipelines are only running at around 60% capacity. Moscow has previously interrupted gas flows for political reasons. They say the Nord Stream 2 project runs counter to the EU’s efforts to diversify its energy sources – in 2015 Russia was the EU’s largest single supplier and accounted for 37% of the EU’s natural gas imports.

Critics also note that additional revenues for Russia from Nord Stream 2 would soften the impact of EU sanctions against Moscow and deprive Ukraine of much of the €1.8 billion (nearly 2% of GDP) it earns annually in gas transit fees. It’s unclear how the EU can permanently frustrate Gazprom’s effort to circumvent Ukraine, but those losses would undermine European efforts to support the country. The European Investment Bank has lent Ukraine billions of euros to improve its gas infrastructure, while the EU is working with Ukraine’s state-owned energy company to clean up this notoriously corrupt sector....MORE
August 2016
New Russian Pipeline In Baltic Sea Could 'Collapse' Ukraine
May 2014 
EIA Natural Gas Weekly Update: Russian Exports to Western Europe
April 2012 
Putin, Russian Oligarchs Rattled By Rising Importance of EU Shale Gas

See also:
"Berlin, Moscow Negotiate New Trade Accord".
-Reading Eagle
Feb. 12, 1940 

Plus maybe a hundred posts on Gazprom and a thousand on natural gas. Use the 'Search Blog' box if interested.