No need to be an expert in geopolitics to understand that the struggle for resources now is a major cause of all conflicts in the world. Hydrocarbons are the most important component of the world economy, the control of which allows you to manage not only individual countries but also entire continents. This can be achieved in two ways: the first and most obvious is to supervise the production of hydrocarbons; and second, more sophisticated – to control the ways of their transit to the final consumers.
An illustrative example of the first method can be seen in the Middle East, where the United States is engaged in production control according to the principle: “We will pump someone else’s oil until it is possible. We always have time to make use of our resources. “Currently, America and its raw material appendage Saudi Arabia have total control over the world prices for hydrocarbons. Other countries in the Gulf are subject to their manipulation.
Natural gas may become exactly the same control lever. Ukraine has long been the largest transit of gas to Europe. More than 60% of all supplies of piped natural gas are pumped through the gas transportation system, inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Given the fact that so far the United States have been the main ‘boss’ of Ukraine, and the gas pipeline “Nord Stream” will link Russia and Germany directly, then for both the US and Ukraine this is a deprivation of ways to put pressure on Europe. After all, all the time since the coup in Ukraine, it did nothing blackmailed Europe and Russia by disruptions of gas transit in order to force out discounts from “Gazprom.”
It is for this reason that the contract for construction of another branch of “Nord Stream” causes in Ukraine such uproar, especially when you consider that the proposed price for transit will be lower than Ukrainian. And if you synchronize the end date of construction and beginning of the launch of this project, it is clear that the Russian Federation has no plans in the future to transit through Ukraine, leaving only local deliverables to the bordering countries. Russia and Ukraine’s contract on gas transit ends right in 2019, and for the same year the launch of a new branch of “Nord Stream” is scheduled.
Ukrainian economists have calculated potential losses and began voicing unfavourable forecasts in the case of transit of gas bypassing Ukraine on “Nord Stream.” So, according to estimates of Ukrainian specialists, a new gas pipeline in Europe – this is, first and foremost, a huge hole in the Ukrainian budget, because Ukraine cashes on transit approximately $ 2 billion per year. Second, the launch of “Nord Stream” means that Europe, abandoning the Ukrainian gas transportation system, will be able to exert serious pressure on Kiev in terms of implementation of the Minsk agreements. In addition, this will lead to a serious reduction of Ukraine’s funding from Europe. Third, Ukraine will not be able to receive reversible gas from Slovakia and other countries, which never ceased to be Russian, and therefore will need to negotiate with “Gazprom” again, but in this situation no one can help Kiev.
Judging by the statements of the head of “Naftogaz of Ukraine” Andrey Kobolev, the Russian pipeline to Germany – it is nothing less but universal evil for all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Kobolev believes that the “Nord Stream” will have the most negative impact on the cost of gas and, of course, Ukraine will suffer the most. Andrey Kobolev has also repeatedly spoken out about the price diktat of “Gazprom” and Ukrainian claims to the Russians regarding unfair pricing formulas. He threatened “Gazprom” with the devastation in the court, but in place of European officials, I would not take the statement of Andrey Kobolev seriously. “Gazprom” has more serious claims to its Ukrainian partners, which consist of the facts of illegal sedimentation of the transit fuel in Ukrainian storage facilities, as well as the shortage of gas carried out by “Naftogaz Ukraine,” the volume of which is fixed in the contract.
Kiev is ready to do anything for gas transportation by its pipe, even lower prices for transit, calling into question the economic viability of the construction of “Nord Stream.” But until such time as the matter is not resolved, all that remains Ukraine is only to hope for the mercy of nature and the softness of the winter, which will let do without Russian gas. The main thing for the Ukrainian authorities is to create another gas problem, that is, once again remind everyone of its existence, beg more money from the IMF and pull Moscow’s nerves.
It only remains to understand whether Europe wants to deal with Ukraine and its pipe, making sure that as a partner, this country is not a model of honesty or a supporter of compliance with the agreements. And this fact has been repeatedly confirmed not only in the implementation of the provisions of the international gas contracts.
Trying to keep a foot in both worlds simultaneously, Ukraine was defeated in the fight for transit, despite the sluggish apology of one of the Polish officials. “In the matter of OPAL gas pipeline, which is an offshoot of “Nord Stream,” Ukraine has become hostage to the Western business and political interests of the EU. Therefore forgive us,” Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said. But for the key players, such as Germany, Ukraine’s arguments will be insufficient in this project. Germany will never abandon the construction of the pipeline, simply because it will bring Ukraine income and to what extent it will be able to get rid of American influence.
Marina Zheynova, the DPR People’s Council deputy