We are so accustomed to live in through the looking glass that mainstream interpretation of those or other events is often not even in doubt. Here, for example, came news that the Bulgarian Government on the demand of the European stops work on the construction of the South stream gas pipeline-and many media headlines immediately draw the corresponding picture of the world: EU blackmails Russia "," Another anti-Russian move Brussels, and so on.
But it is always useful to return to the real world, to come out of Putin's matrix and ask yourself questions about what actually happened and what in this situation are the interests of Russia.
What is South stream? This record dear pipeline project valued at 16 billion euros (underwater plot is estimated at 10 billion euros), which is likely to cost even more because the increase in estimates for construction progresses we have never and has not been canceled. And most importantly, that it will be pointless to wind vykinutye money, and here's why. For example, the "northern brother" of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, despite similar high initially-even with 1990 's when he only appeared as an idea-it was some kind of rationale. It was expected that gas production in the North Sea will fall, and the countries of North-West Europe, which traditionally used to live at its North Sea gas, an unfilled niche needs new sources of gas supply. Nord Stream (North European gas pipeline, as it is still called in the late 90 's-early Noughties) was called to this new demand.
On the market of South-Eastern Europe, where goes through the Black Sea South stream, no new demand no. The economy of a number of recipient countries supply pipeline are depressed, that affects the consumption of gas. In 2013, for example, Gazprom's total imports of gas from six countries-South stream principal recipients (Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia)-amounted to 18.3 billion cubic meters against 23.8 in 2008 year. This fall by a quarter. Where 63 billion cubic metres a year to haul something assembled?
Thus, no new markets South stream does not open for Russia and, let's be frank, only its meaning to bypass Ukraine, through which today is more than half of the Russian gas transit. Actually, it never concealed.
And that's roughly comparable to the situation where you do not like, say, the physiognomy of the Concierge, which sits in your House and you see its not see, book yourself a personal elevator with a separate entrance and a separate mine worth millions. In other words, objective economic sense in such a sverhdorogom crawl of Ukraine-No.
Here it is worth mentioning that Ukraine traditionally gave Russia sverhdeševye transit tariffs compared to European prices-since the beginning of the year, the fare was $ 2.73 for the transportation of thousands of cubic meters at 100 km, in previous years, he often did not exceed $ 1-2. This is much lower than the European transit rates and that Gazprom would pay the future pipeline company South Stream AG. Savings from transport of gas through Ukrainian territory, thus, is today for Russia $ 2.5-3 billion a year. Multiply by 30 years, for example, is the question of who is subsidizing.
Damage from the overlap of transit in Europe? But both times, when the overlap occurred-in 2006 and 2009, gate overlap initiative came from the Russian side, we do not force Ukraine blocked. Stealing Russian gas? But the constant discourse about it never found its evidence in court. A few years ago Gazprom tried to appeal to the courts provided for by the contract selection of fuel gas by Ukraine on technological needs work on transit pipelines gascompressor units, but in vain. So note to all participants in the Internet wars: once talking about theft by Ukraine of Russian transit gas, immediately ask the question: is there any confirming this decision? No? Consequently, tales of it all.
Conclusion: all these years Ukraine was Russia Super-profitable transit partner, and no economic justification to seek its bypass, no. What causes manic desire to build South stream?
The first reason lies in the obvious intention to blackmail Ukraine Vladimir Putin's departure from the transit of gas through its territory to achieve a wide range of purposes, from a more down-to-Earth (gaining control of Ukrainian gas pipelines) to global policy challenges. To me it was obvious even in the early noughties, when I read the summary of the talks Putin on gas issues with leaders of European and post-Soviet States: no meeting could not be circumvented without talking about how he wants to gain control of the Ukrainian gas transport system. And since 2004 the year we are seeing persistent attempts to gain control over the political system.
The second reason is also understandable: billions of euros-it will go into space, and not native to the bone to contractors, among them stroitransgaz Gennady Timchenko (already got a contract for the construction of the Bulgarian part of the "South stream"). But there is also a "Strojgazmontaž" Arcadia Rotenberga, and "Strojgazkonsalting", 75% of which now I buy Chechen businessman Ruslan Baisarov. Baisarov, incidentally, immediately signaled that it wants to get construction contracts have just blessed gas pipeline in China-that's literally the Eurasian deal.
For such purposes, of course, you can and throw to the wind national billions. Realizing that due to the Ukrainian crisis over the "South stream" menacing clouds, Putin and Gazprom has sharply increased and began to press as quickly as possible the physical construction of the gas pipeline through Bulgaria and Serbia is the most convenient targets in terms of political relations with Moscow and coolness in relations with Brussels. Come with a vengeance and for Austria, which also recently completely evroskeptična and friendly to Putin. And this despite the fact that the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions made "South stream" even less advantageous financing plans about 70% of the project cost estimates of leveraged banks fail, money does not give, and Gazprom will have to spend their own money on the project, which will start to make a profit. not even venture to say when, if ever, will bring.
It is clear that the actions of the European Union regarding the South stream were politically motivated: returned to Crimea, return and received from Europe the political advances. "The battle for Bulgaria» in this regard was crucial, as the entry point of the pipeline to the coast is key. The ups and downs of vnutribolgarskih political showdown makes no sense and even comment on: 2014-2021 years the EU promised Bulgaria 15 billion euros of funding from the Structural and Cohesion Funds for agriculture, infrastructure and other needs, and only one is already the most powerful lever of pressure on the country, compared with which all the pathetic gazpromovskie gingerbread mean nothing. So the battle for Bulgaria, in my humble opinion, originally had no prospects for Gazprom.
Putin is apparently understands why during the Petersburg Economic Forum exasperated threw something like: "we can find and a non-member country of the EU (to make its entry point the black part of the" South stream "). This is Yes, but only there was only one such "non-member" is Turkey, which can't wait for when we have sours relations with the EU on South stream, to impose on us its terms of resale of the gas transported. Because of the partnership with Turkey on the pipeline in its time and abandoned. And the choice in favour of Turkey, even if it happens, would add even more and worsen the economy project.
So, leaving a matrix, you can say one thing: the South Stream project in Russia does not need and even harmful to it. And beneficial it just pile close to Putin raspil′ŝikov-contractors Yes as card crazy geopolitical game, which Russia absolutely nowhere. It's time to relinquish it and put up with Ukraine, the most cost-effective for us transit country. Moreover there and a new, quite dogovorosposobnyj really President.
Four reasons why the South Stream pipeline Russia disadvantageous
Another megaproject Gazprom ends barely begun, as once well-advertised Stockman. The Bulgarian Government announced that it could not allow the construction of its part of the South stream gas pipeline without the consent of the European Commission. And Commissioners give good did not intend, because the conditions of participation in the project of the Russian company flagrantly contravene the liberal market principles of the European Union.
The principles of these legally enshrined in the "third energy package", do not allow the same company to act in the role of owner of gas, as well as the owner and operator of gas pipeline system that crosses the borders of EU Member States. Monopoly must give way to healthy competition, believe Europeans.
Assurances from the Russian leadership that the South Stream pipeline strengthens Europe's energy security, not impressed by Brussels. There felt that security of supply is mainly provided by diversification of suppliers, rather than supply routes: the Russian project provided priority status and denied access to a reduced European lending.
In Moscow tried to apply the old principle of "divide and conquer" by concluding agreements with each of the countries through which must pass the "South stream" and offering to consider European and not a continuation of the Russian. The trick did not work, and monopolistu, not able to work in a competitive environment and requires special conditions for himself, pointed to the door.
The assumption that the European Commission screwing Bulgarians solely from the desire to influence the policy of Moscow in Ukraine, critics cannot stand. The most severe warning that an agreement with Gazprom were contrary to the laws and regulations of the EU, came from Brussels to Sofia with the 2010 year, long before the Ukrainian events. The Bulgarian Government has pledged to abide by all the rules on South stream, but arrangements are not reviewed, although this clearly required a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe, adopted in the year 2012.
To stop the sabotage of the "third package" and stop the project in Bulgaria decided only when the European Commission initiated a process of sanctions that could deprive the country part of Eu subsidies.
Arguments about the need for "South stream" in connection with the threat of transit gas flows to the troubled territory of Ukraine at the Brussels special impressions are not fired. The meaning of the response of the European Commission is clear: Ukraine never violated its obligations to transit, and all transportation interruptions occur when valves on the pipes blocked by the Russian side. The inability to establish normal relations with its neighbor-not the fault of the EU and not an excuse to violate the contracts for the supply of gas to Europe, insisted the Commissioners.
An unbiased look at the concept of "South stream" from the Russian side also raises doubts as to the rationality of the grand plan.
First, the demand for Gazprom in Europe is not growing. When company executives persuaded the President that to 2020 year Europeans need 200 billion cubic meters of gas per year and this gas will come precisely from Russia, industry experts spun a finger near the temple. The most optimistic projections, consumption growth will not exceed 30 billion a year, and will cover its imports of liquefied natural gas, rather than Gazprom.
Secondly, the power of the gas pipelines, running now in European "foreign countries", i.e. outside the CIS and Baltic countries, has already reached 250 billion cubic metres per year, and last year on those pipes passed just 138 billion. The additive still 63 billion cubic meters of South stream to this excess capacity does not look reasonable.
Thirdly, the laying of new routes for gas to Europe, conflicts with the Kremlin's stated strategy of conquest of the Asian markets. When Gazprom managers promise to soon call gas flows to Europe and Asia, this can only mean one thing: the European exports are scheduled to cut dramatically because more than 68 billion cubic metres per year Asians send nobody and not going.
And fourthly, it is unclear where Gazprom will take money for simultaneous funding and "South stream" (which can cost more than $ 70 billion) and, say, aimed at China gas pipeline system, "Entrails", where total value exceeds the limit for the hundreds of billions, if not the rhetoric of big bosses, and calculations of Gazprom's planners.
Begs not too beautiful and even cynical explanation for the persistence of Moscow in advance of South stream. The political weakness of the Russian leadership wants at all costs to punish Ukraine gas transit deprivation, greedy builders lobby operates pipelines, chronicled excessively bloated costs. It is worth remembering that the construction of the gas pipeline system in Russia has already begun, and the cost goes to the billions of dollars, although certainty that reached to the Bulgarian coast pipes, no.
The head of the Duma Committee on energy: South stream is not needed, but to refuse late
Today, the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Zoran Mihajlovic said that the Government will defer the construction of the South stream gas pipeline, followed by Bulgaria, which announced the suspension of yesterday. Later, the Prime Minister of Serbia, said that while the Government has not addressed this issue. The final decision depends on the European Commission. Now it is not happy that the main owner of the future gas pipeline, Gazprom itself proves that contrary to the "third" ènergopaketu laws in force in the European Union from 2009 onwards-according to him, the business during extraction and transport of natural gas should be split between different companies. However, this does not exclude that the European Commission will go to one or another compromise. For example, "Northern stream" owns the Nord Stream AG, which owns a controlling stake to Gazprom, while the remaining 49%-European gas companies.
But the grievances of the Europeans, possibly deeper. Western investors had long been interested in Ukrainian gas pipelines and storage-discussed various options for the transition under the control of foreigners (including Russia). According to "Kommersant", the Ukrainian Government already is negotiating with Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron. Russian pipeline bypassing Ukraine clearly disadvantageous.
SLON asked the head of the Duma Committee on energy Ivan Grachev explain whether we continue to fight for the "South stream" (by the way, a former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov, argues that it is not necessary). He believed that the fate of the project depends on Russia-if we agree with the Europeans on the joint management of the Ukrainian gas transport system, they would not oppose the South stream.
the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on energy
-Pause "South stream" is bad for Russia?
Of course, bad, because we have already invested in this South stream.
-And there are estimates of how much we've invested money?
-I do not know, but reliably guess that already significant digits, because the designation of land is already underway, maritime link began to build. In Bulgaria, too, began to boil[трубопровод]. (Gazprom has not yet responded to the request Slon on actual costs of the project today. East European Gas Analysis analysts estimate the total cost of South stream to 56 billion euros. -Slon)
-And your personal opinion, it is the safety net of the[альтернатива транзиту через Украину]se huge expenditures on South stream?
-Initially I thought it was not worth it. I felt that the priority to negotiate with Ukraine by connecting Europe. I always assumed that the "South stream" is the story of extreme. Because Romania and Bulgaria, where we[по этому проекту] enter Ukraine is no better in terms of economic, political, whatever. Therefore, if completely disconnect from Ukraine and go there, then the risks will be no less. Therefore, the correct version is if we with Ukraine still agree. I think that in this case, resistance South stream has dramatically reduced.
-And why do we need South stream, if we agree with Ukraine?
-Actually the decision was made because there were two wars, now the third (meaning "oil and gas war with Ukraine. -Slon). Given that the economic situation in Ukraine is unlikely to significantly improve in the next 15 years, they will always have problems with payment. And this means that there will always be questions.
-But until there were only two transit stops, and both times the gas stopped Russia …
-Yes. There were two cases of supply disruptions due to the fact that Ukraine had carried out illegal gas.
-Where it is known?
-They do not themselves denied this during the crisis years of 2008, they just interpreted differently: we is theft, and Ukraine-both non-delivery by Gazprom. But in fact to Europe came less than we send.
-And why we have not investigated this in court did not?
-Because Europe has held the position of proukrainskuû and we would be no court won. At best there would have been some lengthy history for many years.
-How would you assess the chances that we will come to agreement with Ukraine, and when this might happen?
-If our just as they are with Èttingerom,[еврокомиссаром по энергетике] began to speak with Europe on Ukrainian pipes (i.e. offer to exchange the debt for gas to share in the management of the gas transport system of Ukraine. -Slon), would agree to in months. I see no fundamental difficulties, because the Germans are interested in, the business part of Ukraine also is interested. I just recently at a Conference in Munich from current Ukrainian oligarchs heard that they are interested in this option. If Russia clearly and unequivocally said that this version of her suit, would agree in the shortest possible time.
-That is the question now only in gesture on the part of Russia?
-And in Europe, and Russia. Because if only Russia will be initiated, the Ukraine for political reasons would be difficult to agree with this. Need to leave either jointly or by Europe.
-And really go such talks or not?
"I know that the European business goes through different channels and in the Ukraine and Russia and their Government. But as our negotiators, that I don't know.
-Think Europe would abolish regulations on the third ènergopakete», which is now as if bracing South stream?
-"Nord Stream", in fact, and so partially inferred from the third ènergopaketa. And I think that the South will agree. I'm sure ènergopaket will be the third to modify, because European energy business is categorically against the idea to build the pipe, and then half pay uncle from any abstract considerations. In fact the slightest evidence that this is correct, does not exist in nature. Caught under it really all European energy companies.
-Gazprom because counted on borrowed funds in the construction of South stream, and now you can see that money will not give him, and then there's the cost of the Chinese contract.
-In my opinion, Russia does not need any loan funds. Russia lie 500 billion in various reserve funds.
-And why should state reserves should splurge on a private project of Gazprom?
-Why private? When they say Gazprom dokapitalizirovat′, what's wrong with that, if the public will grow with this package? If it goes, Gazprom after a certain period of time will be five times bigger capitalization cost. And why not pick up part of the packag[государству]e?
-You don't believe in reducing gas consumption in Europe?
-Absolutely. I always said that this utopia and bluff. That they would still need an additional 100 billion cubic meters.
-And why the power of Nord Stream only 60% approximately uploaded?
-Ibid. with its branch in Germany, with "Opal", there is a problem, and by the end they are not resolved. (OPAL-is the German section of the pipeline, which goes further than the Russian gas to Europe. Due to limitations on "third" ènergopaketu Gazprom may use only half the OPAL. Now the European Commission is discussing options, how to expand supply. -Slon) Problem again because the third ènergopaketa», and not due to the fact that Germany could not be further necessary volumes of supply.