My Asharq: Russian oil to India, 40% of imports, ousting traditional suppliers. Borell wanted resale into EU stopped. OPEC: Investments must surge before Q3/Q4 Asian demand-&-price rise.

Asharq, Dubai (Bloomberg, Dubai) in Arabic, with Jordanian expert and myself. 22May23

I was interviewed (from Berlin) by Asharq (Bloomberg affiliate, Dubai) along with Jordanian oil and energy expert, Dr. Amer Al-Shobaki (from Amman) about OPEC leaders’ assertions that oil investment is urgently needed to meet an expected demand rebound, especially in Asia, in Q3-Q4 2023.

Investments have been precariously low for a long time, throughout COVID and even after 24 February 2022, with Russia’s full-on aggression against Ukraine. Now, OPEC warns later-2023 can bring big price spikes and deep economic problems.

I should note, this demand-and-price boost would be a boon to Russian oil prospects, complicating Ukrainian’s allies’ attempts to reduce Russian profits and limit the resale of Russian oil refined in India into the EU market. The G7/EU adoption of the USA-proposed price caps on Russian exports (enforced via constraints on oil-shipping insurance and banks financing of sales) instead of an “old fashioned” sanctions regime (such as specifically restricting Russian oil sales step-by-step via direct and secondary sanctions) has finally begun to significantly restrict the normally expected flow of oil-export-sales cash back into Moscow’s coffers, after a 2022 of high oil prices and big Russian profits.

EU foreign minister, EU Commission foreign relations chief, Josep Borell, has rightly asserted that the EU must do something to stop this resale, by adjusting present sanctions. However, unfortunately, the EU has now backed down substantially on this ambition.

On air, I referred to a report by Marianna Pàrrage, at Reuters, whose research has found that from January to April 2023, 1.69 million barrels per day (mbd), and 1.89 in May, went to India, now accounting for about 40% of India’s total. This has displaced India’s former Venezuelan, Middle East, African and USA suppliers.

Interestingly, Moscow has sold its oil, banned in the EU, USA and UK, in a very focused manner to India, China and Turkey, not Asia broadly, which could have market advantages for Moscow.

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My Asharq with Saudi expert: MENA green hydrogen exports will be inefficient & counter-productive for climate. Renewables still almost “nonexistent”, nuclear is pragmatic.

My Asharq interview, along with Mohammed Al-Dabai, Saudi energy journalist, on 13 April 23. (This post has English interpreter’s audio and my voice over the Arabic. View in Arabic here.)

At about timestamp 5:30, I discuss the difficulties with the Gulf states exporting “green hydrogen” to Germany and the EU.

So little renewable carbon-free energy is produced in MENA and esp. in Gulf states (i.e., almost none), and it would be so inefficient to convert this into “green hydrogen” and then further into “green ammonia” (as many in Germany and the EU now advocate), and then to ship it all the way to Germany or elsewhere in the EU, that it would make little sense, except in so far as Germany and EU states are willing to pay a good price.

However, it would also leave the MENA region with little improvement in their carbon-heavy electricity consumption. Mr. Al-Dabai generally concurred on the “scientific” problems, as he described them, of producing and exporting green hydrogen.

We were discussing a recent Ember consultancy report (London, link below) on the progress of renewable electricity worldwide, and how there is little progress in the Gulf and larger MENA region.

However, I briefly pointed to nuclear developments, the building of new So. Korean Generation 3+ plants in the UAE, and to Saudi plans, as very promising.

However, as with other renewables-focused outfits, Ember doesn’t seem to see any value in this pragmatic approach, not to mention the benefits of coal-to-natural-gas switching as a very reasonable, carbon-emmissions-reduction strategy.

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My Sky News: Germany-Mauritania green hydrogen plan is complex, costly & slow. Not mentioned: Mauritania & Senegal to soon export LNG.

Note: The Arab-to-English interpreter’s voice has been inserted over the interviewers. T.O’D.’s is direct.

Sky News Arabia asked me to assess the memorandum Mauritania signed on 8 March with German project developer Conjuncta, UAE firm Masdar and Egypt’s Infinity to produce “green hydrogen.”  I tried to give Sky News a data-driven assessment of this project.

According to Conjuncta CEO Stefan Liebing, “(This project) will have a strong link to Germany both as a technology provider and a potential offtaker of green energy.” (“Consortium signs $34 billion MoU for hydrogen project in Mauritania,” Reuters, 8 Mar 23.)

The German public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, seemed impressed: “It has a planned capacity of 10 gigawatts – the output of roughly five to six standard nuclear power plants. The first phase of the project is set to be completed by 2028” (“Mauritania set to export green hydrogen to Germany,” DW Business, 09Mar23 archived at YouTube.)

While indeed, this MOU was advertised as aiming for “10 gigawatts” of electrolyzers, the initial goal is actually 400 MW (i.e., 0.4 GW) by 2028. That’s one-twenty-fifth the total  According to the announcement, this means 8 million tonnes/year of green hydrogen by 2028.

How significant is this?

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EU/G7’s Russian diesel price cap is on. Now, as prices rise, Ukraine’s allies can squeeze Putin’s revenues, short of a price spike. Putin’s no longer decides his business terms.

My Asharq: EU & G7 debate Russian oil-products’ caps. Two-caps needed by 5 February. High impact likely later this year.

Video: My answers in English; Host’s questions in Arabic.

Tom O’Donnell, on Asharq, 28 Jan 23. Written explanations of my answers are below.

Note: Questions in Arabic; my responses in English.

I explained how the crude oil cap is thus far successful. This bodes well for the products’ cap effectiveness.

The market situation is relatively favorable for application of EU sanctions on all Russian refined products on 5 February. Demand is still soft as Europe, even if it is not going into recession, and it is coming out of an unusually war winter that also softened demand. Also, China is not yet roaring back from its COVID reopening attempts.

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My Kyiv Post | Opinion Exclusive: “Reflections on Scholz’s Leopards’ Stalling Strategy”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks on prior to deliver a speech at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on January 18, 2023. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

26 January 2023.

LINK to read at Kyiv Post

Summary (Added only on blog, T.O’D.): Scholz’s resistance to sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine has freed up many in Germany and beyond with reservations about the direction of the West’s strategy to become vocal.

Scholz is opposed to the recently changed USA-NATO strategic understanding that Putin’s new, long-war-of-attrition strategy could give sufficient time for his larger economic and energy war on Europe to bear fruit, seriously disrupting the West’s solidarity with Ukraine.

Biden and the NATO majority concluded that Putin’s long war of attrition strategy must be smashed. This requires large numbers of heavy weapons – tanks, aircraft, etc. – for Ukraine.

However, Scholz’ faction in Germany and in other EU states see a stalemate (e.g., war of attrition)) as likely positive, as it might lead in time to the two sides accepting a negotiated settlement or frozen conflict. This, they feel, is the path to ending the dangerous Russian-EU energy and economic war.

However, the majority pro-escalation camp, expects that a war of attrition (aka stalemate) risks the destabilizing effects of a prolonged and costly economic-and-energy “Cold War. 2” on Western stability and solidarity.

Scholz’, by demonstrably stalling NATO’s ability to send German tanks, effectively signaled his leadership of the no-escalation and pro-stalemate EU-wide faction, which is of significant size. In Germany sections of every political party now align with Scholz’ strategy. He and his faction wait for their time, when and if the new NATO escalation strategy fails.

All German parties were deeply involved in the previous energy partnership with Moscow; there is no significant organized opposition faction able to take leadership from Scholz and implement a Zeitenwende. This vacuum drives a gathering German – and EU – political crisis

Moscow is well aware of these matters. (Kyiv Post Opinion piece follows)

LINK to read at Kyiv Post | Link to copy at

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s resistance to sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine has freed up many in Germany with deep reservations about the direction of the West’s strategy and policy, to voice their frustrations, fears and, for many, an unwillingness to join in a Russian-Ukraine war, as opposed to containing it.

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My Asharq: Will Iraq be able to supply Germany natural gas? Not likely soon: Iraq has risky 40 % reliance on Iran gas, just like Germany’s was on Russia. Also, Iraq announced the same contract to capture flared gas 3X in six years, with little progress.

ABOVE is the ENGLISH audio track with the translator. (Arabic video is below)
Asharq interview (9m 30s) with myself and expert in Baghdad. 13Jan23

The interview is self-explanatory. I think it is of utmost necessity for Iraq to capture the huge amounts of associate natural gas, a byproduct of oil extraction, which it now flares off, and instead use this gas to displace the huge amounts of Iranian gas it imports. Not only is Iran an obviously dangerous, autocratic regime, which threatens Iraqi sovereignty, it itself has gas shortages every winter.

Iraq currently has a very rational plan it has repeatedly contracted with Baker-Hughes oil-and-gas service company to carry out. If it ever actually carries out this plan (it was announced in 2018, again in 2020 and then December 2022), it should, in my view, first use this gas domestically to displace Iranian imports. Once it gets beyond this serious energy security issue, it will clearly be able to build a large-scale natural gas export business.

The plan German Chancellor Scholz and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani discussed today in Berlin, would accomplish sending Iraqi gas to the EU, and eventually Germany, it exported to |Europe via a new pipeline or pipelines into Turkey for transport via pipelines to Europe. This is all do-able and Erdogan would welcome the business.

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My Al Jazeera | Germany takes first USA LNG | Putin suffers Winter setback in energy war vs EU, likely lasting to 2026-27 | This is a 2nd front of Russia’s failing Ukraine War.

3 January 2023 interview.

Al Jazeera’s English service asked me about the importance of the first-ever delivery of USA LNG to Germany on 3 January, as it was arriving at the newly installed Hoegh Esperanza FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit), in the Nord Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, near Hamburg.

The terminal is operatated by Fortum subsidiary Uniper, the recently nationalized German gas firm, and is the first of seven such terminals various firms and the German state plan to install over the next two-to-three years to help offset the loss of Russian gas imports it formerly relied on for about 60% of the nation’s natural gas.

I emphasized that Russia has locked the EU into what is expected to be a several-years-long energy war. This energy war against Europe should be understood as a second front launched by Putin’s Russia in support of its failing hot-war in Ukraine.

In addition, the aggressor in this energy war, like in the Ukraine War proper, is Russia. The aim is of weaponizing the continent’s overdependence on Russian exports, is to cause energy and economic hardships sufficient to undermine the solidarity of Germany and other EU Member states with Ukraine.

With the exception of the joint agreement between German Chancellor Scholz and USA President Biden to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, before it was ever commissioned, if Putin invaded Ukraine, the EU and USA have not imposed any further sanctions or restricted the import of Russian gas into Europe, and payments for this Russian gas was not sanctioned.

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My DW live: Russia ban on oil sales to price-cap nations has no significant effect. Russia will be selling less oil over time & sanctions complicate shipping insurance. Meanwhile, Ukraine-allies’ price cap encourages India & China to demand lower prices from Russia without officially joining cap.

The title and brief interview is rather self-explanatory. The interview starts after a brief intro, after 30 seconds.

Thanks to Daniel Winters, German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s ( English language Business News host for this invitation. We spoke, in Berlin, only a few hours after the cap was announced in Moscow.

My Al Jazeera: Putin’s decree banning oil sales under the cap is “a bit of bravado.” – The EU/USA can squeeze Russia by “stepwise lowering the cap” & “bringing other, new oil online.”

Al Jazeera asked for an online commentary within an hour of Putin’s announcement. These were my initial thoughts.

I also spoke to AJ Arabic, and a couple hours later, on Germany’s Deutsche Welle’s English language service elaborated on these points (see video, next blog post).

The question is where will the EU-USA-g7 western alliance go from here. If they stepwise lower the cap, and also work hard to get new oil online (from OPEC and the USA), they can gradually keep lowering Russia’s market share. However, as I indicated, the coming recession – esp. in Europe – and the uncertainties of Chinese demand as it exits COVID shutdowns in early 2023, complicate calculations of whether the globala oil market will be short or long on supplies and if the price will spike or not. I said this will be “a chess game.”

Comments are most welcomed. Tom O’D.

Roundtable, London asked us: “Is the US making a profit from the conflict in Ukraine?” — In my view, this complaint reflects Scholz & Macron’s continued longing to escape the USA’s transatlantic strategy towards Russia & China.

My comments are at (1) 4:19, (2) 16:20, and at (3) the end 23:15.


  • Nicholas Lokker, Research Assistant at the Centre for a New American Security
  • Marie Jourdain, Visiting Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center
  • Dr. Thomas O’Donnell: Energy and Geopolitics Analyst

Host: Philip Hampsheir, sitting in for David Foster.

From the TRT YouTube page blurb:

Dec 7, 2022 – Top European Union officials are accusing the United States of profiting from the war in Ukraine through high natural gas prices and weapons sales, while Europe struggles with rampant inflation and a cost of living crisis. Amidst rising tensions, a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his American counterpart in Washington saw both attempt to send a message of unity.

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My Aljazeera [English] Today’s start: EU sanctions Russian imports & G7-EU price-cap. As USA planned: no market shock.

FIRST: Here’s my AM Al Jazeera-ENGLISH), today 05Dec22. [About 30s. at start is lost]

SECOND: Here is my ENGLISH AUDIO of my AM AL Jazeera-Arabic interview

English Audio above,

EU sets $60 Russian-oil-price cap. What now? [My Al Jazeera & Asharq (Blmbrg) interviews]

FIRST: Al Jazeera, 10:05 AM, 02.12.22 CET, Berlin & Doha: — English audio below, then Arabic video.

SECOND: Asharq (exclusive Bloomberg affiliate, Gulf) , about 10:00 PM, 02.12.22 CET, Berlin & Doha — English Audio below, then Arabic video.

My Al Jazeera: EU debates where to set Russian oil price cap. Over time this price “will be lowered as [new oil] comes online,” shrinking Russia’s market. “The Americans just don’t want a shock removal.”

English Audio above — Arabic video below

This interview (Arabic video; English audio above) was recorded the evening of 29nov22 as the EU struggled over how low to set the price cap.

Soon, it will be agreed, and will gradually become devastating for Russia.

As new non-Russian oil resources are developed (e.g., in Guyana, Suriname, UAE, Iraqi and other fields) and/or oil fields come back online (e.g., Venezuela, Libya, …), the EU and G7 will feel confident to further lower the price further and further below the price of Brent and WTI crude.

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My Polish press interview: “Europe can replace Russian oil & gas by 2027” but “in war there are casualties” (Pl. & Eng.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture-pap-poland-energy-war-25nov22.jpg

This interview with Artur Ciechanowich (Polish Associated Press-PAP, Brussels) appeared on Sunday, 25 November 2022 in several Polish press, TV and radio outlets (links below this post). Polish & English (via Google Translate) versions follow:

ENGLISH – via Google Translate

Europe without gas and oil from Russia? An expert gives a possible date

If the European Union does not bow to the Russian energy attack, it may completely replace gas and oil imports from this country with raw materials from other sources within four to six years, said Thomas O’Donnell, an energy market analyst and lecturer at a university in Berlin …..

  • Russia is waging an energy war against Europe, which is part of a larger war between Russia and Ukraine. We see that the war on the battlefield is not going Russia’s way, so the Kremlin is counting on its energy policy to cause enough economic problems for Europeans to divide the EU and withdraw from solidarity with Ukraine, says O’Donnell.

The question of replacing gas and oil imports from Russia

  • Vladimir Putin has a much greater influence on Europe through the supply of gas than oil. This is because gas is mainly supplied by pipelines. Around 2027, Europe, the United States, Qatar and others will increase the export capacity of liquefied natural gas enough to replace the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and allow gas prices in the EU to fall to levels close to the low prices in the US, the analyst predicts.

However, he does not hide that before this happens, citizens of EU countries will have to go through a more difficult period. “This is an energy war, and in a war both sides suffer – consumers and businesses in the EU will suffer. It will take at least four years to implement huge new LNG export projects from the US and Qatar, he cautions, adding that the EU will also need to receive as much gas as possible from Algeria, Egypt and Norway.

  • This year Europe filled up its gas storages. It will be harder next year. It should be understood that the storage facilities – under normal conditions – have never been used to provide normal gas supplies to consumers. They’re just too small for that. They were created with the idea of ​​storing the raw material saved in the summer and using it in the winter, when the Russian and Norwegian pipelines could not keep up with the demand, explains Thomas O’Donnell.

He points out that, therefore, Germany has repealed the regulations requiring the maintenance of a minimum temperature in homes, and in some EU countries there are debates about power cuts for citizens. – Europe has become dependent not only on Russian gas, but also on completely unpredictable wind energy. If the wind is weak – as in the 2020-21 season – combined with the lack of appropriate transmission networks and the lack of technical capacity to store electricity on a large scale, it can mean a disaster. These are the facts. In times of war, citizens must know the whole truth, the expert argues.

He emphasizes that Russia is waging an energy war against Europe in order to break its solidarity towards Ukraine. – In the US and Qatar, but also in Norway, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Israel, Egypt and so on, there are plenty of new gas reserves, financing opportunities, technologies and functioning markets. In four to six years, Europe’s dependence on Russia will be completely replaced by imports from other directions. This also applies to crude oil. Russia, meanwhile, will be reduced from an energy superpower to an OPEC second or third tier country, concludes O’Donnell.

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Source: PAP

Main photo source: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

POLISH – as from PAP

Europa bez gazu i ropy z Rosji? Ekspert podaje możliwy termin

Jeżeli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed rosyjskim atakiem energetycznym, to w czasie od 4 do 6 lat może całkowicie zastąpić import gazu i ropy naftowej z tego kraju surowcami z innych kierunków – stwierdził Thomas O’Donnell, analityk rynku energetycznego i wykładowca na prywatnej berlińskiej uczelni ….

  • Rosja prowadzi przeciwko Europie wojnę energetyczną, która jest częścią większej wojny Rosji z Ukrainą. Widzimy, że wojna na polu bitwy nie idzie po myśli Rosji, więc Kreml liczy na to, że jej polityka energetyczna wywoła u Europejczyków wystarczające problemy ekonomiczne, by podzielić UE i odstąpić od solidarności z Ukrainą – mówi O’Donnell.

Kwestia zastąpienia importu gazu i ropy z Rosji

  • Władimir Putin ma znacznie większy wpływ na Europę poprzez dostawy gazu niż ropy naftowej. Dzieje się tak, ponieważ gaz dostarczany jest głównie rurociągami. Około 2027 roku Europa, Stany Zjednoczone, Katar i inne kraje zwiększą możliwości eksportowe skroplonego gazu ziemnego na tyle, aby zastąpić zależność UE od rosyjskiego gazu i pozwolić na obniżenie cen gazu w UE do poziomu zbliżonego do niskich cen w USA – przewiduje analityk.

Nie ukrywa jednak, że zanim to się stanie, to obywatele państw Unii będą musieli przejść przez trudniejszy okres. – To wojna energetyczna, a na wojnie obie strony ponoszą ofiary – ucierpią konsumenci i firmy w UE. Co najmniej cztery lata zajmie wdrożenie ogromnych nowych projektów eksportu LNG z USA i Kataru – zastrzega, dodając, że UE będzie musiała otrzymywać jak najwięcej gazu także z Algierii, Egiptu i Norwegii.

  • W tym roku Europa napełniła swoje magazyny gazu. W przyszłym roku będzie trudniej. Należy rozumieć, że magazyny – w normalnych warunkach – nigdy nie służyły do zapewniania normalnych dostaw gazu konsumentom. Są na to po prostu za małe. Powstawały z myślą przechowania surowca zaoszczędzonego latem i wykorzystania go zimą, kiedy rosyjskie i norweskie rurociągi nie nadążały z zaspokojeniem popytu – tłumaczy Thomas O’Donnell.

Zwraca uwagę, że w związku z tym, Niemcy uchylili przepisy nakazujące utrzymywanie w domach minimalnej temperatury, a w niektórych krajach Unii toczą się debaty na temat przerw w dostawach prądu dla obywateli. – Europa uzależniła się nie tylko od rosyjskiego gazu, ale postawiła też na całkowicie nieprzewidywalną energię wiatrową. Jeśli wiatr będzie słaby – jak w sezonie 2020-21 – to w połączeniu z brakiem odpowiednich sieci przesyłowych i brakiem technicznych możliwości magazynowania prądu na wielką skalę, może to oznaczać katastrofę. Takie są fakty. W czasie wojny obywatele muszą znać całą prawdę – przekonuje ekspert.

Podkreśla, że Rosja prowadzi wojnę energetyczną przeciwko Europie, aby rozbić jej solidarność wobec Ukrainy. – W USA i Katarze, ale też w Norwegii, Algierii, Azerbejdżanie, Izraelu, Egipcie i tak dalej, istnieje mnóstwo nowych rezerw gazu, możliwości finansowania, technologii i funkcjonujących rynków. Za cztery do sześciu zależność Europy od Rosji zostanie całkowicie zastąpiona importem z innych kierunków. Dotyczy to również ropy naftowej. Rosja tymczasem zostanie zredukowana z supermocarstwa energetycznego do drugoligowego lub trzecioligowego kraju OPEC – konkluduje O’Donnell.

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Źródło: PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Here are links to some of the Polish media where the PAP interview was published:

* Europa bez gazu i ropy z Rosji? Ekspert podaje możliwy termin › biznes › ze-swiata

1 day ago — … 4 do 6 lat może całkowicie zastąpić import gazu i ropy naftowej z tego kraju surowcami z innych kierunków – stwierdził Thomas O’Donnell, …

* Ekspert: Europa może poradzić sobie bez gazu i ropy z Rosji … › aktualnosci › ne…

·Translate this page

21 hours ago — Rosja tymczasem zostanie zredukowana z supermocarstwa energetycznego do drugoligowego lub trzecioligowego kraju OPEC” – konkluduje O’DonnellZ …

* UE może obejść się bez gazu i ropy z Rosji. „Jeśli pozostanie … › ue-moze-obej…

1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

* Ekspert: UE może w ciągu 4-6 lat całkowicie zastąpić import … › wiadomosc

·Translate this page

1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

* Ile lat potrzeba UE aby uniezależnić się od importu ropy i gazu … › artykul

1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

Czy Europa jest wystarczająco silna, aby poradzić sobie bez … › artykul

27 Sept 2022 — Czy Europa jest wystarczająco silna, aby poradzić sobie bez ropy i gazu z Rosji? … Polska, podobnie jak pozostałe państwa Unii Europejskiej, …

gaz w › gaz › T…

Ile lat potrzeba UE aby uniezależnić się od importu ropy i gazu z RosjiEkspert wyjaśnia. Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym …

* Ekspert: Polska jest dobrze przygotowana na odcięcie dostaw gazu … › …

Ekspert: Polska jest dobrze przygotowana na odcięcie dostaw gazu z Rosji, … sprawę z takiego niebezpieczeństwa – mówi w rozmowie z PAP Thomas O’Donnell, …Open document settingsOpen publish panel

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