Tag Archives: Ukraine

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 (DW.de) English language Business News host for this invitation. We spoke, in Berlin, only a few hours after the cap was announced in Moscow.

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 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.

TVN24 live – watch on TVN24 GO
The material is part of the TVN24 GO website
Author:kris/ToL

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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Materiał jest częścią serwisu TVN24 GO
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…

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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

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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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Our TRT/Istanbul: Will Turkey be Russia’s new gas hub to Europe? Can Putin save his gas sector? What’s Erdogan’s game?

We began at timestamp 1:00 minute, after TRT’s lead-in story.

With guests:

  • Dr. Thomas O’Donnell: Energy Analyst, in Berlin
  • Eser Özdil of Glocal Group Consulting; and Former President of The Turkish Petroleum and Natural Gas Platform Association. He is also an external fellow of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

and Host Ayse Suberker of TRT TV’s Straight Talk from Istanbul.

We analyzed what Putin aims to achieve, and why President Erdogan of Turkey has so rapidly accepted this proposal. This is obviously, I said, a scheme by Putin to try to save his natural gas business to Europe.

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Our TRT London: Can Moldova escape Russian energy dependence?

Our discussion with David Foster, TRT London, on Putin’s threats against Moldova’s energy supply in winter. Recorded 11 October 2022.

Our panel included the experts:

  • Klaus Larres Professor of History and International Affairs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lucia Scripcari Analyst on Moldovan Domestic and Foreign Policy
  • Thomas O’Donnell Energy and Geopolitics Analyst, and academic, in Berlin.

The energy security of Moldova, a small, pro-EU state boarding Romania, is precarious and under various and comlpex threats from Russia. This includes direct threats to its gas supplies, which overwhelmingly come from Gazprom.

Meanwhile, Moldova’s 70% of its electricity comes from its region of Transnistria, which is illegally occupied by Russia, and this electricity is produced by gas imported across Moldova by Gazprom.

The remaining 30% of its electricity comes from Ukraine, where recent Russian missile strikes have hit power plants and apparently forced a cut off the Ukrainian electricity supplies to Moldova on the day before we recorded this show.

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My Sky News: Are EU Measures vs the Russian Oil- & Gas-War Enough?

English audio track is above for Arabic video below.
Sky News Arabia interviews me last night on the fight vs. the Kremlin’s energy war against Europe, a second front to its war against Ukraine.

Dear GlobalBarrel.com readers,

Some upcoming events I’ll attend and post here:

1. I’m invited to speak at the “12th 2BS Forum, one of the leading politico-security conferences in Southeast Europe, organized by the Atlantic Council of Montenegro.” So I’ll be in Budva from 6-9 October. Ukrainian President Zelensky will deliver a keynote video speech from Kyiv. My Panel is 8 August 2022, 14.45 – 15.15:

The Climate-Energy Security Nexus, with speakers:

  • Thomas W. O’DONNELL, Energy & Geopolitical Expert
  • Alan RILEY, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Professor, City Law School, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council ONLINE SPEAKER TBC
  • Moderator: Jasmina KOS, Presenter and Reporter, Al Jazeera Balkans

2. I’m also invited to speak at

  • The 9th Annual Gulf & Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum, for which I will be in Doha, Qatar from 21-24 October. The conference title is: “Implications of the Ukraine crisis and regional and international competition for the future of security and energy in the Gulf region.”
  • The My topic will be the transformation of the German (and EU) relationship with the GCC states in energy and security matters since the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the parallel Kremlin energy war against Europe.

I plan to post on the content of these conferences and my contributions, and to try to post more of my media interviews – when they may be of use.

Continue reading

Financial Times quotes me: Germany embraced Russia’s energy for “strategic balancing” vs USA

04 Oct 22: I was asked, two weeks ago, why did Germany insist on increasing its partnership with Russia in gas even after the 2014 Ukraine invasion?  Was this “naivety”?  I said this characterization obscures a conscious German geostrategy.

Two common explanations I constantly heard in Berlin over about eight years for the Russian gas partnership was the “Neue Ostpolitik” that originated with Willy Brant’s Cold-War-era Social Democratic Party and the conservative-business version of this, “Wandel durch Handel” (change through trade), held up as an historic lesson of the late-mediaeval Hanseatic Trading League.

Indeed, these traditions certainly did motivate many elite German actors to partner with Russia on energy and on trade generally …

“But according to Thomas O’Donnell, a Germany-based energy analyst, it was also driven by a German desire for ‘strategic balancing — it was a way for Germany to break free from its dependence on the US’.

“Many in the German establishment, he said, resented US dominance in energy matters and disliked ‘this idea of a global fungible market in oil that’s traded in dollars and protected by the US navy’. That resentment, he said, was one of the reasons why Germany kept out of the US war in Iraq in 2003. And it was why it suited Germany to have direct access to Russian oil and gas.” [Guy Chazan & David Sheppard,  Germany closes long energy chapter with Russia by turning on Rosneft, Financial Times,  17 Sept 22. https://www.ft.com/content/2fbbe104-93e3-48bb-8d69-211c79069624 ]

In this short post, I can’t fully explain the near unanimity of German elites over two decades (first during the two 1998-2005 Schröder chancellorships of his SPD plus the Greens, and throughout the the five Merkel coalition governments until December 2021, of her CDU/CSU with the SPD or FDP) in support of renewing and further deepening what by 1998 was already two-to-three-decades old energy partnership with Russia.

Within this remarkable unanimigy, various parties and business interests had a variety of rationales.  [see Footnote 1, on what I see as the key German foreign policy group, the “realpolitik” group, which included Merkel and Altmaier, beyond the trade-as-geostrategy grouping mentioned above.]

However, both these sections participated/participate in a broad anti-Americanism.

I am speaking here about opposition to USA leadership of the transatlantic alliance most especially on trade matters and in the alliance’s geostrategy, especially when it may involve armed conflicts. This has various geopolitical and geo-economic aspects.

This was exacerbated during the late-Merkel years not merely by the Trump presidency’s open hostility; but by policies of administrations both before and after his administration (i.e., in “normal times”).  This has to do especially with German opposition to the bi-partisan, USA strategic posture, initiated under Obama, of “Great Power Competition,” and especially to its international trade implications of decoupling from both Russia and China.

In both the realpolitik sections of German elites, who do recognize the threat Putin-ism represents and the dangers of German reliance on his regime for energy or in any other matters, and in the Putin-Versteher sections who worship trade-as-a-geostrategic-cure-all, the one common characteristic has long been a growing resentment of the USA, aka an “anti-Americanism” as I remarked to the Financial Times. This  especially exists among party and ministry functionaries, and certain business associations, so much that this anti-Americanism has become institutionalized, a constant underlying feature of German official geopolitical and geoeconomic bureaucratic life. (Nota Bene: I am not speaking here of the German middle and working classes, where matters are generally quite different, except among various far-left and -right sections. I am speaking of elites.)

Until a few years ago (e.g., during the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty, TTIP up to ca. 2016), this official anti-Americanism phenomena was often noted and discussed by policy and academic experts on both sides of the Atlantic.  It is not clear to me why this outward recognition has diminished; but the sentiment itself certainly hasn’t, especially.

Putting aside historical and social-cultural aspects of this “resentment” of the USA, in the political realm it is no secret that, over multiple USA administrations, the German side, often along with other Western European powers, has been deeply opposed to many major USA foreign policy decisions, and indeed many of these decisions did not go well for the transatlantic alliance.

One could point back 50 years, to the VietNam War, or to US coups and interventions in Latin America, or the stationing of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in West Germany (which the Russians did also in East Germany).  All of this was clearly upsetting to broad sections of the European population; as this was often within the USA as well.

All these issues would likely have been forgotten by now; however, transatlantic-policy clashes over geostrategy have continued in the post-Cold War era.

These clashes include the two Iraqi Gulf Wars and, for many years USA Iran policy (up till the late-Geo. Bush administrationm when EU attitudes to Iran started to merge with the USA’s), the USA-led NATO intervention against Serbia to end the Balkan wars (which ushered in a renaissance for NATO within Europe that was clearly unwelcomed at the time in broad German circles), the mishandling and human-rights violations of the War on Terror post 9/11, and more recently USA policy w.r.t China and Russia – esp. the shift to a strategy of  “Great Power Competition” as it disengaged from the “War on Terror” and USA military over-involvement in the MENA regions.

More generally, the fact that, during almost any post-Cold War crisis confronting the transatlantic alliance, the USA president has been “the decider” (in the words of George Bush), became a source of palpable resentment.

Economic and trade tensions served to fortify these political and geopolitical sensibilities and has been, by far, the primary vector which drew German business circles into resentment of USA leadership of the alliance. In German political parties, this ongoing resentment has been esp. notable within the SPD; in the extreme-right AfD party and, in a less ideological, more pragmatic manner, by conservative business sections of the CDU/CSU, and as always the traditional far-left.

This gave rise to a deep urge among German business and political circles to find ways to escape dependence on and subordination to USA determination of policy within the transatlantic alliance in-general and, till now, on oil and gas in particular, linked as it has been to the Mideast Wars. This only deepened the instinctive urge to fix Germany’s connection to the Russian gas and oil supplies as a “strategic balancing” to the USA’s predominance in global energy markets and in energy geostrategy during the post-Cold War years and especially the “color revolutions” and most especially Ukraine’s struggle against Russian domination.

German elites got deeply involved in a project to guarantee continued Russian natural gas deliveries to their country and on into Europe should there ever be a conflict between Russia and Ukraine that might interrupt the flows transiting Ukraine into Germany and its EU allies’ markets.

Hence, this produced the agreements to assist Putin’s Kremlin to build the detour pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 (i.e., a mga-infrastructure plan to completely replace, using “more secure routes,” the Russian-to-Europe export pipeline system of the Cold War Era that mostly flowed across Ukraine, but Poland and Belarus as well, and which itself had only been built due to active West German [and French] participation).

In addition, German elites took the geostrategic and geo economic decision to constantly deepen the vertical integration of Germany (and with it, Europe) with the upstream Russian gas system … not in spite of Russian aggression against Ukraine, but precisely because of the threat and reality of such aggression.

From the CEE, Baltic, American and other opponents’ point of view, this amounted to “throwing Ukraine under the bus.”  But, this was precisely the conscious,  “realpolitik” decision (my characterization) by both groups of German geopolitical and geoeconomic policy elites.  For the “realpolitik” group, there was little in the way of “naivety” … it was a calculated geostrategic gamble.  This group benefited from the ideological traditions of Ostpolitik and Change through Trade groups, which had long infected broad sections of German elites, and would repeat the inane refrains this latter group believed in  … such as “change through trade” and “this is only a commercial project.”

Footnote 1: On German-elite broad groupings, which supported/support the German-Russian energy alliance:

Group 1: In my view (assessments based on my research), the group who had little illusions about the dangerous and volatile nature of Vladimir Putin’s regime is this “realpolitik” grouping.  Despite what was constantly said publicly about the renewal and strengthening of the German-Russian energy partnership being a “non-geopolitical” and a “purely commercial project,  this group was actually deeply concerned about escaping the risks associated with Russian gas having to transit “insecure” and “risky” Ukraine in order to arrive in Germany and into Europe generally.  Any potential interruption of this flow was widely seen as a looming existential risk to Germany and its EU allies’ energy and economic security.

In this regard, building Nord Stream 1 and 2, and deepening German energy integration with Russia via its Gazprom and other energy firms was seen as of the highest priority for guaranteeing German energy security, i.e., the continued delivery of Russian gas to Germany and on into Europe, no matter what might happen in Ukraine, whether it be war or internal destabilization that could undermine Russian gas transit across the country.

This group seriously misjudged what would happen in the event of a Russian war on Ukraine.  Rather than the EU cherishing the transit of Russian imported gas which Germany had “guaranteed” by building the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines as a “lifeline” during the war; Europe has largely been horrified at the Russian brazen rupture of the post-WW2 security system and its atrocities in Ukraine and had in fact made concerted efforts and plans to wean itself off any available Russian gas supplies.  The absolute insistence of the USA, esp. the Biden administration, that the new NS2 pipeline must forever be abandoned by Germany from the first day this war began, played a crucial role in pressing (forcing?) Germany to agree to not certify the inauguration of this pipeline.

I called this group of German elites the “realpolitik” group.

Group 2: On the other end of the geostrategic/geo-economic spectrum, there was the “Putin-Versteher” or “Putin understander” among German political and business actors.  Some of the most obsequious are pictured at this link from Die Welt, who, in contrast to the “realpolitik” grouping, have had such exaggerated confidence in Putin that some, in the more extreme cases, would be happy with still-deeper German-Russian economic and political integration, not only energy sector integration.

For example, there are actors on the fringes of various parties, nevertheless with positions in parliament or important business associations, who have had a habit of calling, in private meetings at least, for political “unity” with Russia and Austria, specifically adding “against” the Americans. This fringe has gone farther than, for example, Chancellor Schroeder’s public advocacy from the early 2010’s for a Free Trade Zone and some sort of unified polity “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” albeit short of Russian “full membership” in the EU.

Footnote 2: A few articles I have written related to this analysis follow:

  1. “My DW live: Gazprom Germania bailout: German policy made EU hostage to Russian energy, enabled Moscow’s Ukraine war | German strategy 1980-2022 was “strategic balancing” of Russia vs USA to carve out a space for its freedom of action within sphere of USA predominance,” [posted on 14 June 2022.
  2.  Here, I don’t use the phrase explicitly; but that German attitude to relations with the USA and within the transatlantic alliance, is explained rather clearly, IMHO: “Nord Stream 2: Berlin-Washington Mutual Intransigence Shows Transatlantic Divide on Russia,” My AICGS Analysis, posted on 14 Oct 2022. This is available at my blog or the original is at AICGS institute in DC.
  3. “Neue Neue Ostpolitik” My BPJ piece on German fury at Senate NS2 sanctions,” Posted on 14.Jul.2022. Originally published at the Berlin Policy Journal here of the DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), and later reprinted at my blog here.

My TVP, Warsaw: Assessing Energy Supplies in the EU’s Energy Crisis vs Russia.

This video is the portion of the TVP show (Warsaw, Poland, in English) with my interview on 09sep22.

We discussedthe present energy crisis in Europe vs. Putin’s Russia – as an additional front parallel to the hot war inside Ukraine.

I gave my views on the causes for Europe’s predicament: this includes over-dependence on Russian energy – long insisted upon by especially Germany and Austria – to over-dependence on variable wind energy without having any significant amout of grid-scale storage installed.

Also, on the necessity of nuclear as a zero-carbon base load generation capaciy, and the most useful applications for larger, Generation 3+ nuclear plants as versus smaller SMRs (small modular reactors). I aso commented on the Polish national energy transistion plan, wich seems much moe flexib .

[Note: TVP is the Polish state-media corporation TV channel. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telewizja_Polska

As the Wiki indicates, TVP is criticized for being partisan pro-government. In my interview, on this topic, this was not the case. I also often go onto German state-media TV, Deutsche Welle (DW), subject to my similar observations when I’ve been on that station. ]

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Al Jazeera’s video on my view: “What does Russia’s gas cut mean for Europe?”

My thanks to Al Jazeera’s Katya Bohdan, producer, and the digital team in Doha (English) for this well done “documentary” featuring my point of view on: “What does Russia’s gaas cur mean for Europe?” I think it is self-explanatory (and its short). Watch it below or directly at the AJ link here. Tom OD.

My Asharq: Russia’s War is driving MENA shortages, inflation & unrest | How Moscow uses “denazification”+”food aid” lies. What can MENA states do?

Published Aug 22, 2022 – Dr. Tom O’Donnell, GlobalBarrel.com

A more detailed blog post is below. } Above is the English Audio. Below is Arabic video.
My Asharq interview, 21 AUg 2022, with a Jordanian economic expert. Our host is in Doha; I am in Berlin.

In our Asharq interview on 21 August, a Jordanian expert and I discussed Middle East and North African (MENA) states’ food shortages, inflation, and the risk of recession and political unrest as a consequence of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

I especially commented on the troubled domestic policy responses in Egypt (and also in Turkey, which is not a “MENA” state; but deeply involved in Libya, Syria, and etc.).

Beyond the region’s domestic monetary and social policies, I stressed that in external policy, the region should collectively condemn Russia for its Ukrainian war, holding Moscow responsible for driving these crises in MENA. (Unfortunately, there was no time for me to elaborate on this latter point. Hence, I will write more in it, further below here.)

I was also asked to compare the present situation to that which led to the Arab Spring uprisings of 2010-11. (During that period, I taught a post-graduate seminar at The New School, NYC, and spoke at public events on the uprisings). Many of the same precursors exist now as then; however, at what point might this lead to protests or uprisings is not possible to say.

The further reality is that any successes by the EU and other developed states in acquiring scarce food, minerals and energy equates to more difficulty for developing states – especially Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africa and poorer states of the MENA Region – to acquire these necessities.

We both noted, however, that, at the same time, the oil-exporting and LNG-producing states of MENA are now enjoying a revenue windfall, and it is of course their responsibility along with the developed world to aid their poorer neighbors during this crisis.

Note too, that the OPEC states of MENA have reportedly earned a windfall of $1.3 trillion so far this year from high oil and gas prices.

Given the global competition for expensive and temporarily scarce food and energy commodities, poorer MENA states have little recourse. Lebanon, in particular, is in dire circumstances – much of which is the responsibility of corrupt internal political elites and Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The IMF of course is playing a crucial role now in assisting MENA states.

(I note that the USA this week, according to the UN, purchased 150,000 metric tons of grain from Ukraine to distribute to developing states.)

Meanwhile, Russia is continuing to steal and/or destroy large quantities of Ukrainian grain which would otherwise be exported to MENA states.

My first answer in the interview was rather generic; about the World Bank’s recent report on the Region,

Turkey

Later, elaborating on the attempt of the region’s central banks to fight inflation with higher interest rates, and the risks of recession this is unavoidably causing, I emphasized that Turkey, at the direction of President Erdogan, is following a highly unorthodox policy (read: monetarily incorrect, and rather corrupt) of lowering interest rates to address inflation. This counter-intuitive decision is known to be a pet theory of the Turkish president. I explained how this dangerous policy caused a spurt of inflation during the latter part of 2021, the first time the central bank implemented lower rates to “fight inflation.” It was widely assumed that would be the end of this experiment. Nevertheless, the Turkish central bank once again cut rates earlier this week. And, again, Turkish lira inflation has begun to soar. This is clearly unsustainable.

I pointed out this policy is exacerbating the crisis for Turkish business and for the Turkish people who are increasingly unable to afford food and other necessities when they are actually available. Further, the central bank is running out of foreign exchange to support the lira.

Egypt

So too, I discussed the crisis in Egypt, the most populous MENA Arab state. 80% of its flour imports, as I understand (FT), are normally imported from Ukraine and Russia, explaining why the Egyptian wheat crisis is particularly severe. Its central bank head resigned just this week, reflecting the depth of its financial and monetary crisis.

Russia’s contradictory propaganda, and MENA’s response

One point I very much wanted to elaborate, but lacked the time, was the rediculous situation where, in many developing states there are significant sections of the political and business elites who believe – or decided to ‘believe’ – that Moscow”s claim it is fighing in Ukraine to defeat “nazis” and to “preempt” supposed Ukranian and/or NATO plans to atttack Russia. In tandem with this false propaganda, Putin, Lavrov and other Russian leaders are actively offering to aid them with wheat and other aid.

This is all rather absurd in that it is Russia which is exacerbating the global post-COVID food and commodities shortages and high prices by its war, and especially by its systematic stealing and/or destruction of Ukrainian grain. It is the mark of corruption that various business and political elites of developing states are willing to pretend, along with the Putin regime, that Russia is a poor victim of Ukraine and that NATO and the USA had supposedly been positioning themselves for launching future aggression against Russia.

However, what brings this Russian narrative to the level of absurdity is that these same elites in various developing states (along with Hungary’s Victor Orban and some others inside the EU) further accept Russian claims that it is the savior of the Ukraine war’s attendant food and commodities crises. At minimum, what I can say is that this is certainly quite consistent with the tradition of the “Big Lie” pioneered by the Hitler regime in Berlin in the 1930-40’s. In fact, one should not underestimate how this narrative has found resonance among naive and also especially those who – often quite legitimately – feel lingering indignation at historical mistreatment or hypocritical policies of the USA and European powers. This indignation is being manipulated and cynically appropriated both by the Russian leadership and allied local business and political elites in various developing states, including the MENA region. This dangerous fake news (no quotation marks on this expression in this case) must be more actively combated with patient explanations and impactful refutations.

On Al Jazeera with expert in Moscow | Putin wants a “compromise” for gas. Like what, Donbas? Odessa?- In my view, EU citizens will choose the cold … & their dignity.

English audio above. — Arabic video below

My fellow expert-guest, in Moscow, Dr. Stanislav Mitrakhovich, was notably frank.

He did not insist, as have various Russian Federation officials lately, that Nord Stream 1 gas flow has been cut for technical reasons to do with the lack of a Siemens compressor.

The compressor in question was sent to Canada for repairs, but its return has been waived from sanctions restrictions. As Chancellor Scholz rightly said, the lack of a compressor is clearly not what cutting gas to Europe is about. It is political.

Nor did the expert in Moscow claim it was due to bureaucratic German-Russian difficulties with paperwork, as Putin and others have claimed..

He instead pointed out that the EU has said it will stop by year’s end the import of Russian oil, and Germany has said it will not use Russian gas in two years, and, without this and some sort of “political compromise,” gas could undoubtedly be fully flowing again from Russian into the EU.

So, I asked – rhetorically – just what possible sort of “compromise” might Putin be angling for? The Donbas for gas? Odessa for gas?

I asserted my opinion that “Europeans have their sense of dignity” and would never agree to such a “compromise.” Put that way, they will prefer to be cold this winter and to have industries and businesses have to shut for lack of gas.

We also discussed a few details of what sort of suffering – rationing of energy, low temperature heating and closing of businesses – Germany and the EU can expect to have to endure this winter.

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My Euronews: Nord Stream1 back on. Putin knows EU will be free of Russian gas in couple years; he’ll weaponize it while he still can. Killing EU-Ukraine solidarity is the target.

Euronews Now host, Mariam Zaidi, interviews me Thursday AM, 21 July, about the meaning of Nord Stream 1 coming back online (albeit by a mere 40%), and why the EU has to prepare for a complet cutoff of Russian natural gas this winter.

In two or so years, the EU will be completly free of dependence on Putin’s gas; and he knows it. So, Putin has two years to use it – as a weapon – or lose it. We have to be ready. Filling storage is not sufficient. There would be gas rationing and cutoffs.

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My Al Jazeera. Turbine-in-Canada: Germany gets it back for Russia. Ukraine objects | EU gas crisis looms: Winning this economic war will have costs

ENGLISH Audio above | ARABIC Video below
Video is in Arabic. English audio track is above.

I was interviewed today, 11 July, by Al Jazeera about the Siemens compressor for Nord Stream 1 (NS1) gas pipeline sent by Gazporm to Canada for repairs. Russia cut 60% of the usual 55 billion cubic feet/year (bcm) flow to Germany (and on into other countries) on 17 June claiming it can’t supply more without the compressor returned.

Germany asked for it to be send to Germany and they’d return it to Russia to get Nord Stream 1 flowing. Obviously, Germany is very concerned that there will be a shortage of gas and a major crisis in Germany and the EU if this pipeline flow is cut for long. Putin may cut it anyway, at any time. Certainly, he seems to be planning a 2022-23 wintertime cut to cause a crisis, hoping to disrupt the countries allied with Ukraine against his war there. This is an Economic War of the western alliance of the USA, Canada, EU and others against Russia and its few alliess alongside the hot war in Ukraine.

Ukraine objects to the turbine being returned to Russia and to any sanctions excemptions.

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My Asharq(Bloomberg): What if Russia cuts off EU gas? Do sanctions hurt Russia? How’s Putin’s oil going to India? “This is Putin’s energy war to win his Ukraine war.”

English audio above. }} Arabic video on right

Asharq, Bloomberg’s affillliate in the Gulf Region, interviewed me on the EU and German energy crisis that’s looming as a result of Russian natural gas cuts to Europe and what will this mean as far as an economic crisis?
I made clear that this is Putin’s economic and energy war on Europe in support of his war on Ukraine, to undermine European solidarity with Ukraine.
Asharq asked about how this will affect different countries across Europe.
Also, what is the effect so far of sanctions on the Russian economy. Lastly, we discussed the Russian push to export its oil, now under increasing sanctions by the EU, to India and China and how this is being accomplished and the effects

Comments/Critiques most welcomed..

Best, Tom O’D.

My AlJazeera: Russia cuts exports via Nord Stream 1 by 60%, further weaponizing EU over-dependence, as part of its war against Ukraine. EU winter gas rationing is possible.

Jun 17, 2022 Today, Gazprom announced a further cut in exports of gas via Nord Stream 1 to Germany and on into Europe. Earlier this week, they had cut 40%, now it is 60% of the 55 billion cubic meters per year (bcm) that normally flows in this pipe.

I explained that the Gazprom excuse – -that it could not re-import some compressor parts it had sent to Siemens to repair in Canada due to sanctions — appears as a convenient, manufactured excuse.

I pointed out that a one-off sanctions waiver from the USA, EU and/or Canada for the reimportation of these very specific parts could likely be easily arranged – and if the gas did not again flow fully, Gazprom’s ruse would be clearly exposed.

However, as I said, this is more accurately understood as simply another step in the weaponization of the over-dependence of the European Union (and esp. of Germany, Austria and Italy) on Russian gas imports, a game which Mr. Putin began in earnest in August of 2021.

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