Tag Archives: Poland

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.

PAP
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.

PAP
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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Autor:kris/ToL

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

https://tvn24.pl › 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 …

https://www.pap.pl › 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 …

https://www.tvp.info › 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 …

https://www.bankier.pl › 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 …

https://polskieradio24.pl › 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 …

https://mycompanypolska.pl › 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 PolskieRadio.pl

https://www.polskieradio.pl › 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 …

https://www.gospodarkamorska.pl › …

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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EU Commission openness to nuclear as green, betrays falling confidence in the German 100%-renewables model [English & Polish]

Dr. Thomas W. O’Donnell, Berlin 27.01.22 (Polish original 22.09.22)

Printed in Polish by Banker.pl as Komisja Europejska może uznać energetykę jądrową za “zieloną” 2021-09-22, from a written interview with Artur Chierskiwsky (PAP, Brussels) Here’s the unpublished English.-Tom O’D. [Edit:: Headline word “betrays” was initially miswritten “belays”].

Reportedly, the EU Commission plans to soon include nuclear power in its green finance taxonomy, finally making it eligible for favorable financing and carbon credits on a par with wind and solar.[1]

This could be spun two ways: as a victory for science over populist capture of climate policies, or as a tipping point in Brussels angst at the growing complexities and costs of the “100% renewables and no nuclear” model.

In reality, it’s some and some.

On the one hand, in March, the Commission received reports solicited from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), its scientific expert arm, finding that nuclear waste is “manageable”, posing no “significant” harm to the environment, and that nuclear energy has been demonstrated to be eminently safe.[2]

However, these assessments are not surprising. Had the Commission requested these years ago, they undoubtedly would have concluded similarly. Nuclear, public-health, risk-assessment and other expert bodies have been saying these things for years (full disclosure: my PhD is in experimental nuclear physics [3]).  

The question then is, why is this scientific consensus only now becoming actionable for the Commission?

Continue reading

My Kongres590/Warsaw talk: “Building a Joint Three-Seas-Initiative Nuclear Energy R&D-and-Training Center” [Polish & English]

Note: The Polish Interpreter’s voice dominates; however with headphones I could follow the English. Apologies, there’s no separate English audio.

“Cooperation in energy transformation and trade to increase the economic strength of the Three Seas Region …”

Kongres590 – Warsaw – 14 October 2021

  • Moderator: prof. dr. hab. Zbigniew Krysiak, Chairman of the Program Council of the Institute of Schuman Thought
    Panellists:
  • Dr. Thomas W. O’Donnell, (PhD Nuclear Physics; Lecturer in Berlin & Energy & Geopolitical Analyst),
  • Julius Zellah, (President of the Light for Africa Online Foundation)
  • Paweł Kotowski, (Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Jarosław Malczewski, (President of the Polish Dairy Group),
  • Dr. Krzysztof Malczewski, (President of the B-2M Company)

Key points of my talk:

1. Poland has no previous experience in nuclear energy; and this is a difficult problem that needs to be tackled starting now. Also, any institute needs a sufficient scale to guarantee both high standards and employment security to those trained for industry, academia, safety, and planning.  It is for this reason that nuclear training in Poland’ should be done jointly, together with all 12 of the Three Seas Initiative members (i.e., the eastern EU member states, and this may soon include also Ukraine – many of which countries already have established nuclear programs). And, as part of the Three Seas Initiative, this means also in conjunction with the USA, in particular its Department of Energy with a vast network of nationl laboratories and obviously decades of nuclear experience to draw on. Continue reading

“EU leaders will consider creating a strategic gas reserve” [TVPoland explains I proposed this in August: “Ukraine as a Central Bank of Energy”]

ursula_von-der-leyen_EU_gas_strategic_reserve_tvp_pap_03oct21For explanation of  my proposal, go below to bold text on my August Tagesspiegel Op-Ed.

RAJA ME  |

EU leaders will discuss the idea of ​​creating a strategic EU gas reserve and decoupling electricity prices from gas prices, said the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

– When it comes to gas, we are dependent on imports – 90 percent. gas is imported. The economies in the world are growing, so is the demand. But the supply is not correspondingly greater. We are very grateful that Norway is increasing production, but it seems that this is not the case in Russia, noted the head of the European Commission, visiting Estonia. In her opinion, the solution to the problem are investments in renewable energy sources, which should make the Community independent of imports and stabilize prices.

– In the short term, we will talk at the European Council, not only this evening (Tuesday), but in two weeks’ time at the formal Council of Europe, how to deal with storage, the strategic reserve and we will look at the overall price structure on the electricity market. Electricity prices are high due to high gas prices and we have to consider the possibility of (them) decoupling because we have much cheaper energy from renewable sources, said von der Leyen

On Tuesday evening, an informal meeting of European leaders will take place in Slovenia ahead of the EU-Western Balkans summit scheduled for Wednesday.

According to unofficial diplomatic sources in Brussels, Poland wants the European Commission to conduct investigations into the manipulation of the natural gas market by the Russian company Gazprom, which are causing the increase in gas prices in the EU. This issue is expected to appear at the EU summit on October 21-22.

Back in April, American energy market analyst Thomas O’Donnell predicted that Russia would use gas supplies to build strategic domination. The EU’s response should be to create a kind of gas ‘central bank’ in Ukrainian warehouses and use this country as a buffer, he proposed.

Ukraine is a key element of the strategic gas reserve

– Shortly after the beginning of the Maidan revolution and the Russian aggression, Ukraine, with the support of the EU, quickly made technical modifications to the export pipelines to Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania in such a way as to enable a reverse. This quickly freed Kiev from having no alternative to buying Russian gas, said the expert.

– Moreover, the Kremlin cannot so easily promote favorable oligarchs – he envisaged adding that the implementation of this idea was only a matter of legislation.

– The EU could designate warehouses in Ukraine, Germany and France as the so-called strategic reserves that must always hold a certain minimum amount of gas. In the event of any aggression by Russia against Ukraine or other countries, these warehouses would be launched by a special EU-US committee or within the OECD, and Russian pipelines would be cut, the analyst suggested.

– Gas belonging to Gazprom, which stores huge amounts of gas in Germany and other EU countries, should in this case be nationalized – the expert believes.

Responding to the objection that such ideas sounded a bit fantastic, he explained that this is almost exactly how the international oil security system has operated for 50 years: in the event of a crisis, 90-day strategic oil reserves are deployed in each member state of the International Energy Agency.

Reply of IEA’s Dr. Fatih Birol to my critical questions on Germany’s “100% renewables & no nuclear” at P-TECC in Warsaw

Video is set to Dr. Fadi Birol’s interesting answers to my two critical questions. However, I recommend going back and watching his entire talk – and others.

I was quite happy with the answer of IEA (International Energy Agency*) director, Dr. Fadi Birol, to two critical questions I posed, first on how the European Commission should include nuclear power in its “green financing taxonomy,” and secondly, against German over-reliance on variable renewables (I termed this “renewable fundamentalism”) which I said produces high “organizational entropy,” that is, unworkable and unaffordable, completely “reinvented” so-called “smart grids” with “grid scale stage” whose technology is not sufficiently developed all to cope with the problem of unavoidable wind and solar energy fluctuations, which become more massive as the percentage of installed renewables increases. This is a significant contribution to Germany’s (and the EU’s) present crises of energy supply and price security. (The video above is set to start at my two questions.)

Continue reading

My Warsaw Op-Ed: Nord Stream 2 deal marks a German win in setting allied strategy on Russia & Ukraine | Niemcy nie boją się Rosji. Boją się ryzyka płynącego z Ukrainy.

My Op-Ed on German motives for Nord Stream 2 appeared in the Dziennik Gazeta Pravwna 4 Aug. 2021 (no. 149 dziennik.pl, forsal.pl), derived from an English interview (below here) with Artur Ciechanowiicz (PAP, Brussels). [Polish Op-Ed link]

Read the Polish Op-Ed (PDF) “Germany is not afraid of Russia. It fears risks coming from Ukraine”

Here is my full English interview, expanded for clarity:

1) [AC] What are the consequences of the Nord Stream 2 deal between Washington and Berlin?

[T O’D] Stepping back a bit: this deal marks a victory by Berlin in its long and intensifying contest with its ally, the USA, over which of these two biggest transatlantic powers will decide the alliance’s strategy with respect to Russia and China. The two allies deeply disagree on this matter.

In the USA, both Democrats and Republicans have agreed since the Obama administration that “Great Power Competition” must be the strategy for the alliance versus Russia and China. The Americans strongly feel it is necessary to “decouple” from globalism’s deep trade and tech integration with China and Russia, that these states must either change their disrespect for global trade rules and moderate their increasingly aggressive geopolitical activities, or be isolated and forcibly contained.

Germany, with almost 50% of its GDP from global trade, deeply disagrees with this US strategy [i.e., German exports provide 46.9% of GDP, the USA’s only 11.7%]. Berlin likes global rules; but its unbalanced economy cannot afford trade decoupling and it broadly opposes forceful military containment of China and Russia. Instead, it wants only negotiations and occasional sanctions.

So, Nord Stream 2 is an iconic example of this clash, this “leadership fight” between the USA and Germany over the transatlantic alliance’s strategy towards Russia. Berlin wants to maintain energy ties at all costs, while the USA has long advocated maximum European energy independence from Russia, and to constrain Russia (and defend Ukraine) by forcing Putin to continue having to send gas across Ukraine to reach his European customers.

Russia, for its part, wants to re-incorporate former-Soviet Ukraine [plus Belarus, Moldova and Georgia, and minimally keep them outside of the EU and NATO], and has wanted to avoid having to send its gas to Europe via Ukraine. Moscow’s transit dependence on Ukraine not only provided income for Ukraine, this constrained Russian subversion and military aggression there, for fear that the transit pipelines could be interrupted by either Ukrainian state or non-state actors.

For Germany, the “insecurity” of having to import Russian gas through Ukraine deeply alarmed Berlin. And so it made a strategic decision over 20 years ago to partner with Russia, to build new pipelines to bring gas directly from Russia to Germany [via Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2] and on to European customers long supplied with the same Russian gas but via Ukraine. The aim was to make Germany the new hub for distribution of Russian gas in Europe.

Given Berlin’s logic, the 2014 Russian war on Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea only made it more sure than ever of the dangers of relying on Russian gas imports that have to transit Ukraine, and it redoubled its efforts to complete NS2, notwithstanding this would undermine German relations with three consecutive US administrations and with many of its EU allies, esp. Poland and East-Central Europe – a region where its much-prized soft power has been sacrificed.

Continue reading

Nord Stream 2: Berlin-Washington Mutual Intransigence Shows Transatlantic Divide on Russia | My AICGS Analysis

Credit: Gerd Fahrenhorst via Wikimedia Commons

My analysis of the US-German crisis over Nord Stream 2 and policy towards Russia, published in Washington by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), 8 October 2020. Read it at AICGS website\. Or, continue here. Comments & Critiques welcomed (below or via email)

Nord Stream 2: Allies’ Crisis

Two decades of Washington-Berlin collisions over the Nord Stream 1 and now the Nord Stream 2 pipelines have come to crisis.

The U.S. Congress stopped Nord Stream 2 construction in December 2019 by enacting sanctions under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA), and is poised to enact a much harsher “Clarification” of PEESA, sanctioning any entity that resumes or aids in resuming construction in the Baltic Sea. German officials insist the project will, nonetheless, be completed, denouncing U.S. sanctions as “extraterritorial” interference in “European sovereignty.”

In reality, the project appears dead. Statements by businesses interests, as opposed to political actors, support this.[1] To resume construction, companies, ports, officials, and insurers would require guarantees against ruin, including being personally sanctioned, which is difficult to imagine the German state providing. And there is no evidence of preparations to do so. Nevertheless, Russia’s Gazprom continues preparations to resume work.[2]

Complicating matters, the U.S. Congress, having mandated sanctions against the pipeline, would have to approve any compromise. On the other side, the German Bundestag roundly “savaged” a motion by the Green Party to abandon Nord Stream 2 in response to Navalny’s poisoning, unprecedentedly uniting the CDU/CSU of Chancellor Merkel and her SPD coalition partners with both the far-left Die Linke and far-right Alternative for Deutschland.[3]

Continue reading

My interview: on US troops redeployed in Germany & Poland | O’Donnell: Żołnierze u granic Rosji to sygnał dla Kremla [Wywiad]

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Soldiers deployed in Poland are a kind of warning to the Kremlin. –  Source: GazetaPrawna.pl

My interview on Trump’s announced US troop draw downs from Germany and partial reassignment to Poland appeared in the Polish economic press Gazeta Prawna on 25 June 2020 by the Polish journalist Artur Ciechanowicz.  You can read it (a) in ENGLISH below (via Google Translate, with minor fixes) or (b) in the POLISH original at this link.

O’Donnell: Soldiers at the borders of Russia are a signal to the Kremlin [INTERVIEW]

From a military point of view, deploying too many troops too close to the border with a potential enemy is dangerous because there is a risk that they can be overrun rapidly – says Dr. Thomas O’Donnell, energy and international affairs analyst, and adjunct faculty at Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Question: US President Donald Trump has decided to increase the US military presence in Poland, while also reducing the contingent in Germany. Where do these decisions come from?

On the one hand, they logically result from the American National Security Strategy (NSS) of December 2017. Work on it began during Barack Obama’s term of office and was completed by the Donald Trump administration. According to the NSS, the US priority is no longer the war on terror and the situation in the Middle East, but competition with China and Russia. It is therefore quite natural that the United States moves its troops and increases its military presence in countries closer to Russia – the Baltic States, Poland and Romania. The second factor that led to these decisions was the personal involvement of Donald Trump, who is running his election campaign.
Poland’s security will increase?

As a rule, increasing the US military presence in Poland is of course good news. The Pentagon’s activities have been moving in this direction for some time, although the US military is of the opinion that this should be done a little slower and not at the expense of Germany. From a military point of view, deploying too much of the army too close to the border with a potential enemy is dangerous because there is a risk that it will be overrun too soon. There is therefore a tactical reason to keep some of the army a little further from the Russian border. Therefore, the rapid relocation of a significant number of soldiers to Poland is viewed skeptically by some American commanders. Remember, soldiers deployed in Poland are a kind of warning against the Kremlin. There are enough of them for Vladimir Putin to think twice before doing anything. However, not enough – even after increasing the quota – to stop the first strike. The rule is simple here: if Russia decided to attack Poland and American soldiers would die, it would mean a war with all the power of the US. Neither any president nor Congress would hesitate a single moment.

Some American commanders are opposed to the permanent presence of US troops in Poland. Why? Continue reading

Europe’s Gas Crunch:  The Pending Crisis Around Nordstream 2 & Ukraine Transit

My public talk in Washington, 12 June:

pic_my_12jun_kennan_talk_european_gas_crisis

Despite Berlin and Moscow’s rush to make the Nordstream 2 (NS2) pipeline construction through the Baltic Sea a fait accompli, opposition from several EU states has stalled its completion. Meanwhile, Gazprom’s transit contract with Ukraine will expire in January and Moscow has put unacceptable preconditions on negotiating a new one. Once again, Europe must brace itself for a Russian gas-supply crisis. Professor Thomas O’Donnell will discuss European states’ various interests and heightened energy anxieties, the prospects for the NS2 pipeline, and Russia’s strategy.

Speaker:  Thomas O’Donnell, 

Instructor, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin;  Title VIII Short-term Scholar, Kennan Institute — Scholar’s Research-Project Page at Kennan

RSVP Now

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
2:00pm-3:00pm  –   5th Floor Conference Room

Directions

Wilson Center
Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20004   Phone: 202.691.4000    kennan@wilsoncenter.org

Washington interviews: Energy Relations of Russia, Germany, Poland & Ukraine (Kennan Fellow)

g7-trump-merkel-round-9jun18-jezco_denzel_ger_gov_photo.jpgWhat are US experts’ and officials’ views on the increasingly conflictive energy and geostrategic relations between Russia, Germany, Poland and Ukraine? 

Greetings. I’m in Washington as a “Title VIII” fellow of the Kennan Institute in the Woodrow Wilson Center, interviewing people in think tanks and government (legislative and executive) on these topics. I’ll also give a public talk on this at Wilson on 12 June, at 2 PM (more info soon). putin_wink-round-hnewkremlinstooge-wordpress

I’m interested to hear anything readers think should be asked and of whom.  Don’t hesitate to write me at twod(at)umich.edu or my (temp) Wilson email: thomas.odonnell(at) wilsoncenter.org

A central issue: why is Germany so adamantly for Nordstream 2 despite the negative security consequences for Ukraine and despite the tremendous hit this project is causing to German soft-power not only with Poland, but with most Central and Eastern European (CEE) and Nordic states?  (Here’s my own analysis.)  How do US experts see this? Continue reading

Pipe Dream? Polish ruling complicates Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Gazprom & EU partners [My Berlin Policy Journal piece]

bpj_online_odonnell_nordstream2_cutHere’s my latest analysis in Berlin Policy Journal (German Council on Foreign Relations -DGAP).Pipe Dream? The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is in danger of being derailed.
THOMAS W. O’DONNELL , SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 

A pipeline project to double Gazprom’s export capacity to Europe has always been controversial. A recent ruling by Poland’s competition authority could seriously undercut the support it has accrued, leaving its European backers at odds.

The proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has bitterly pitted European states that back the project, including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and France, against project opponents, including Ukraine, Poland, and other former Soviet-bloc states. The project aims to double the capacity of the existing huge, 55-billion-cubic-meter-per-year Nord Stream 1 pipeline, running in parallel to it under the Baltic Sea from near St. Petersburg in Russia directly to Greifswald in Germany.

This dispute has exposed two very different views of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas-export monopoly, and of Vladimir Putin’s Russia itself – one side sees it as a “necessary” and “reliable” energy supplier, the other a dangerous and manipulative adversary. This dispute is but one more collision inflicting lasting harm on the European Project.

Polish competition authority rejects project

The latest row involves a ruling in late July by the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urzed Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentow, or UOKiK) rejecting an application by five private western European energy firms proposing to partner with Gazprom to build and operate Nord Stream 2. The firms are Germany’s E.ON (soon to be Uniper) and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, Anglo-Dutch Shell, and France’s Engie.

Shortly before the Polish announcement, the five companies agreed to withdraw their association proposal to avoid UOKiK initiating a legal process against them. The commission’s president, Marek Niechcial, declared categorically on August 12 that the Polish rejection was definitive, asserting “This will stop the [Nord Stream 2] deal.” The five firms have nevertheless made it clear they are seeking a strategy to work around the decision, and expect to proceed as planned. Gazprom has said the same.

So why go through this proceeding in the first place? To understand these events better, I spoke with several experts and diplomats working on these matters in Moscow, Berlin, Washington, Paris, and Warsaw.

Commercial Arguments

An often-heard line of argument is that at least some of the five companies might actually have little commercial interest in the project, but need to preserve their relationships in Russia where they have large investments in energy projects. After all, the Kremlin has a track record of taking over projects from foreign partners with whom it has fallen out. A further theme in this vein is that Nord Stream 2 is not really needed in northwestern Europe, even though the Groningen field in the Netherlands and Norway’s reserves in the North Sea are declining, because future demand in northwestern Europe is overestimated and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be available from the United States. This view led to press speculation that the five firms likely welcomed the Polish decision, allowing them a graceful exit.

However, virtually all the experts I spoke with had no doubt Nord Stream 2 would be a lucrative commercial enterprise over the long run, and that the five firms seem genuinely enthusiastic. Continue reading

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