Sunday, May 17, 2009

South Stream becomes a reality, while Nabucco remains a pipe dream

[South Stream becomes a reality, while Nabucco remains a pipe dream.]

South Stream deal signed in Sochi

The pipeline is a rival project to the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline, designed to bring gas from Central Asia and the Caspian to Europe bypassing Russia. The EU, nervous about growing energy dependence on Russia, is backing the project despite the current economic crisis.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom signed agreements on Friday with transit states Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Italy to push forward South Stream, another pipeline to pump natural gas to Europe.

The pipeline is a rival project to the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline, designed to bring gas from Central Asia and the Caspian to Europe bypassing Russia. The EU, nervous about growing energy dependence on Russia, is backing the project despite the current economic crisis.

The agreements with the Bulgarian Energy Holding, Greece’s Desfa and Serbia’s Srbijagas outline pre-investment cooperation and requirements for joint ventures to design, build and maintain the pipeline.

In a new additional agreement to their memorandum of understanding on South Stream, Gazprom and Italy’s Eni said on Friday they would increase the pipeline’s capacity from the planned 31 billion cubic meters of gas a year to 63 billion, Gazprom announced.

The two companies have already set up a joint venture to build the pipeline that will run through the Black Sea to Bulgaria on to Greece, Serbia, Hungary and Italy.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi traveled to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to attend the signing of the deals along with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Commenting on Friday’s agreements, Putin said they “contributed to Europe’s energy security.”

Europe has expressed concerns about being dependent on Russia, which supplies a quarter of its natural gas needs. Calls for diversified supplies intensified following bitter price disputes between Russia and Ukraine in recent years, when Moscow cut off gas to Ukraine, affecting consumers across Europe.

Moscow has argued that South Stream and another gas link to Europe via the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream, would cut its dependence on transit states like Ukraine and improve European energy security.

Echoing Putin, Berlusconi told reporters: “Under the circumstances, a major step toward boosting energy security was made.”

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Friday South Stream would cost an estimated 8.6 billion euros ($11.6 billion), and the pipeline launch date had been set for December 31, 2015, although the partners would try to complete the project earlier if possible.

Talks between Russia and its partners in the project have not run smoothly, with Italy seeking the right to sell gas from the pipeline not only domestically, and Bulgaria also planning to host the Nabucco pipeline.

In April, Bulgaria, affected by Russia’s cutting off gas supplies to and via Ukraine in January, hosted a “gas summit” of major producers and European consumers to promote Nabucco. Sources of gas supplies remain a problem for the project....

Obushma thinks a lot about gas....

Obushma thinks a lot about gas in Asia.

Pakistan, and Afghanistan, would benefit from the proposed TAPI pipeline, if it follows the route above.

The USA is in favour of the TAPI pipeline, which could take gas from Turkmenistan to India.

Above, in GREEN we see the proposed TAPI pipeline.

In RED we see the proposed IPI pipeline, by which Iran could supply India with gas.

IPI would benefit Iran, and is opposed by the USA.

Russia, Kazakstan and Iran have the most gas.

What's really going on in Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan and other such places in Asia with links to oil, gas and pipelines?

Is the USA trying to cause divisions between Pakistan and India?

The Mumbai attacks look as if they were meant to cause the balkanisation of Pakistan. (

In 2006, the Armed Force Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, which called for the redrawing of the borders of the Middle East. Above, we see Ralph Peters' Map of a Redrawn Middle East.

Would this allow gas to go from Turkmenistan to India, without going through Pakistan?

Is the USA trying to keep in with Iran?

Will there be an alliance of Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran and others?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, is the Russian-Chinese equivalent of NATO. Member states in dark green. Observer states in light green.

On 14 May 2009, Pepe Escobar, at, explained what he thinks is going on in Eurasia, in terms of oil, gas and wars. (Pipelineistan goes Af-Pak)

Among the points made:

1. There is a battle for control of oil and gas and for control of the oil and gas pipelines designed to link the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, South Asia, Russia, and China.

2. Russia and Iran control roughly 20% of the world’s oil reserves and nearly 50% of its gas reserves.

Countries such as Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran have huge reserves of gas.

3. There is a plan for a $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline.

An agreement for its construction was initialed in 2008.

The USA has tried to wreck the deal.

Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf wanted pipelines linking the Persian Gulf and Pakistan with China.

4. Iran has "observer" status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Russia and China.

Iran will probably become a full member, thus giving it the protection of Russia and China.

China needs Iranian oil and gas and has already made a $100 billion gas deal with Iran.

Russia wants to sell weapons and nuclear energy technology to Iran.

5. China wants Turkmenistan to speed up the construction of the Turkmen-Kazakh-China pipeline which goes from Turkmenistan to China.

Turkmenistan by Tom Masters

6. China needs gas from Russia as well.

7. Russia hopes to see a Russian-controlled Pipeline stretching from Kazakhstan to Greece that will control the flow of energy to Western Europe.

8. The Afghan War is about energy, heroin and military bases.

The USA would like to control the energy-rich former Soviet republics.

The USA wants to split Russia and China.

Afghanistan occupies a strategically important position.

Afghanistan is believed to be rich in natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chrome, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, and iron ore.

The heroin trade in Afghanistan uses U.S. dollars.

Afghan heroin kills 30,000 Russians annually.

In 2008, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and India signed an agreement to build a pipeline (TAPI) to take gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India without the involvement of either Iran or Russia.

It would cut through Afghanistan.

9. TAPI’s rival is IPI (India, Pakistan,Iran).

TAPI’s history begins in the mid-1990s, in the Clinton era, when the Taliban were friends of Clinton and the California-based energy company Unocal.

Brzezinski and Kissinger took an interest in the idea of an Afghan pipeline.

The negotiations with the Taliban broke down over the subject of pipeline fees.

There was a Group of Eight summit meeting in Genoa in July 2001.

At that meeting, western diplomats indicated that Bush had decided to attack the Taliban before the end of 2001.

On 9 11, 2001, Bush had his excuse for war.

Afghanistan's new leader Karzai, Pakistani President Musharraf and Turkmenistan’s Nyazov agreed to build a pipeline through Pakistan.

10. In 2006, Russia's Gazprom agreed to buy Turkmenistan's natural gas at the 40% mark-up asked for.

Turkmenistan left the Afghan pipeline project.

Russia also cornered much of the gas exports of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as well.

11. In 2008, Turkmenistan discovered new gas and found it had the second largest gas reserves in the world, ahead of Iran and below Russia.

Without Turkmen gas, Gazprom can’t export all it needs to Europe, the source of 70% of Gazprom’s profits.

Turkmenistan had signed contracts to supply Russia (and China and Iran).

Gazprom thought it controlled all of Turkmenistan’s gas exports, but, the newly discovered gas turns out not to be part of the deal.

12. Obama is working hard to win over Turkmenistan.

Obama wants the TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India).

And he also wants the Turkey-to-Austria Nabucco pipeline to thwart Gazprom.

The proposed Nabucco pipeline, which pleases the USA but not Russia.

13. In March 2009, a pipeline supplying gas to parts of Pakistan was blown up. This raises doubts about the safety of a future pipeline bringing Iranian gas to India via Pakistan (IPI). Balochistan is increasingly troubled.

In April 2009, in Turkmenistan, an explosion hit a pipeline and damaged exports to Russia.

Brzezinski still wants a pipeline through Afghanistan.

14. If Turkmenistan decides to support TAPI, a pipeline through Afghanistan, the USA may have to become friends with the Taliban.

However, at present, Russia is still in the strongest position.

15. Gwadar is a port in Pakistan.

It was built by China.

China hopes to get oil from Iran, via a TAPI pipeline, and Gwadar is to be part of the link.

Pakistan could help take Iranian gas to China, or Turkmenistan gas to Europe.

There’s NATO vs. the SCO (Russia, China).

With TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India), Iran loses and the USA is happy.

With IPI (India Pakistan Iran), the USA is unhappy.

If the Nabucco (Turkey to Austria) pipeline is abandoned, the USA is unhappy.....