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German economy minister says no alternative to Russian gas

Public Policy

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said there was “no sensible alternative” to Russian natural gas imports and it was unlikely Russia would stop deliveries because of the crisis over Ukraine, a German daily reported on Friday.

“Even in the darkest hours of the Cold War Russia respected its contracts,” the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung reported Gabriel, who is also energy minister and vice chancellor, as telling an energy forum.

Europe’s biggest economy is heavily reliant on Russian gas, which accounted for about a third of its gas imports last year, BDEW figures show. Germany’s top utilities E.ON and RWE receive most of their gas from Russia’s state-controlled gas producer Gazprom.

Russia’s seizure of the Crimea region and its threat to cut off gas to Ukraine, a transit route to the rest of Europe, has prompted European leaders to consider strategies to curb the bloc’s energy reliance on Russia.

Gabriel also said that two current business deals with Russia by German companies BASF and RWE, which have been of media interest since the Ukraine crisis broke, were “company decisions” and “essentially unproblematic”, according to the newspaper.

RWE is to sell its oil and gas unit DEA to investors led by Russia’s second-richest man Mikhail Fridman. Senior German politicians have criticised the deal, warning Germany’s energy dependence on Russia was already too high.

German gas and oil exploration company Wintershall, owned by BASF, is due later this year to hand its European gas trading and storage activities to Russian partner Gazprom under a swap agreement that will give it more shareholdings in Siberian gas fields.

The newspaper said Gabriel also told the forum that Europe’s now shelved plan to build the Nabucco pipeline from the Caspian Sea to provide natural gas and make Europe less reliant on Russia was not a serious option to ensure energy security given that Iran would have been “at the end of the pipeline”.

The project was shelved last year although EU officials say it could still be built one day if more Caspian gas becomes available.


11 Comments on "German economy minister says no alternative to Russian gas"

  1. Davy, Hermann, MO on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 11:22 am 

    Well, see, as I have said, cooler heads will rule when the reality of energy and the integration of the global system is realized. Be sure there are folks in the Kremlin tellin the “Blue Eyed Devil” the same thing. I am not sure about the pathetic American leadership. I admire Putin don’t get me wrong. I admire Russia and its people. Yet, Russia and its leadership are no better than what we complain about here with the American leadership. We must have mutual self-interest in a collapsing world if we are going to have a soft landing. You can be sure when things get bad there will be no mutual self-interest. I was in a disco in the 80’s in Biarritz France and someone tossed a smoke grenade into the place. Everyone panicked and ran for the one door. It was a crush of desperate people. Believe me if you are not afraid in a situation like that then you had too much of the local beverage. That is what it is going to be like when things get bad. “SO” “NOW” we “MUST” try to get along in our sick global world for all of our benefit. Of course with one eye on the door is that not Human nature?

  2. Makati1 on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 11:26 am 

    The spin on this one makes me dizzy!

    The EU has put themselves in a corner they cannot get out of except under a lot of financial pain, thanks to the good old partner across the big pond and their cousins in the City of London. Funny how the US manages to get others to bleed and suffer on their own lands to the benefit of the Us which seems to be untouched physically.

  3. Arthur on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 11:43 am 

    As I wrote an hour ago on the forum of the German commie NWO newspaper der Spiegel, and surprise, surprise they published it (30% of my posts don’t make it, after all Americans, not Germans, are the free speech champs. Did you hear that, Davy?)

    “Was until now ‘admirer from a distance’ of Angela Merkel, but that has changed in one stroke. She simply does not have spine to defend herself against the Amis. For the rest is Gabriel making a mistake is he thinks that the Russians will stick to their treaties, just because they did so in Soviet times. We are living in an age where oil and gas are getting ever more scarce and with ever more potential new clients around, first and foremost Asians. If we corner the Russians too much, they could take the fatal strategic decision and turn their backs toward Europe. And that’s exactly what the Amis want.”

  4. Davy, Hermann, MO on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 11:57 am 

    Arthur said Germans, are the free speech champs. Did you hear that, Davy?)

    Yeap sure did (AGREED). It seems the American political industrial leadership learned from 1940’s Germany. Yet, Arthur facts are facts and we are smart enough here to pick through them and see a message even with the BS political ideological US message. Facts not spoken about can be found on so many other locations on the net. I might add political ideology is taken to a high point here with you, Makati, DC, and others. I rank you higher than US as professionals. At least you guys are highly intelligent and entertaining compared to the garbage coming out of the US mainstream media focused on 3rd grade mentalities.

  5. Davy, Hermann, MO on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 11:59 am 

    Wow, Arthur “Amis”. I must hand it to you what a great term. Did you invent that?

  6. Davy, Hermann, MO on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 1:07 pm 

    Arthur, now this is an American site. Do you think this is BS? just so I know?

  7. Arthur on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 2:10 pm 

    “Amis” is the standard term Germans use for Americans, when they want to criticize them, but don’t want to let it sound too hard.

    About Zerohedge… since yesterday night I know where ‘Tyler Durden’ comes from, watching the movie ‘Fight Club’. ‘Tyler Durden’ is the nick for a Bulgarian Jew whose real name is Daniel Ivandjiiski. He is convicted for insider trading.

    About the ‘Ukrainian Nazis’… the NWO crowd has a very hard time deciding who they hate more: ultra-nationalists (‘Nazis’) or Muslim fundamentalists, for the simple reason that you can’t integrate both these kind of people in their global empire. However, the NWO can still use these people in trying to hurt the real adversary: Russia. And that’s what is (was?) happening in Syria and the Ukraine. In the latter case, the nationalists with baseball bats were used to get rid of Yanukovych, but after that job was done, the nationalists became a liability rather than an asset. A few days ago one of the nationalist leaders was liquidated and his followers blame the secret service, probably correctly. Now the nationalists have surrounded the parliament. Classic example of the revolution consuming it’s own children. The Americans used the nationalists, but at the same time the nationalists are using the Americans. The Ukrainian nationalists have an agenda that goes way beyond the borders of the Ukraine and they want to instigate a right-wing revolution in Europe.

    youtube . com/watch?v=-Inu_-0dcSU

    (2 min, English subs)

    So, like in Syria this little revolution in Kiev could backfire again against the NWO and unleash a wave of nationalism in Europe, just like the actions of the ‘Amis’ in Iraq unleashed fundamentalist Islam of both flavors.

    Here is a map made by Arte, a German-Franco pro-EU tv-channel and shows the state of (rightwing) ‘populism’ in Europe:

    The countries in red are in the ‘danger zone’ (according to Arte), meaning: leaning against a revolution, read: against Islamisation and mass third world immigration. The ‘worst’ is usual suspect Austria as well as Hungary, Belgium and Greece, closely followed by Holland, with 7 on the ‘scale of Hitler’. I personally think that France is at least 7 as well and France could very well be the first country to blow up the western status quo, leave NATO, EU, euro and turn to Moscow and start to deport at least criminal Muslim offenders back home (before the population does).

    Now the Ukraine is hands down the most rightwing country in Europe. In the coming elections for European parliament a massive turn to the right is expected. The EU won’t be abolished, but the shift to the right will in all likelihood be significant. So the EU folks should really rethink if promoting the accelerated ascension of the Ukraine to the EU is such a good idea.

    For the record: I am pro EU, pro euro, pro Atlantic alliance (plus Russia), NATO –> Northern Treaty Organisation (NTO), but against MIC. I am in favor of massive American defense cuts (is going to happen anyway after the crash) and that Europe should pay more and that NTO defense spending should be more or less be equal to that of China.

  8. rockman on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 2:41 pm 

    Arthur – Great to have a more EU centric input IMHO. Keep it coming.

  9. Kenz300 on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 2:48 pm 

    Every country needs to develop a plan to become more energy secure and economically secure.

    Relying on unstable energy resources from any other country can be a problem.

    The continuing transition to safer, cleaner and cheaper alternative energy sources must be sped up.

    Wind, solar, wave energy, geothermal and second generation biofuels made from algae, cellulose and waste are the future.

    Every landfill can be converted to produce landfill gas, energy, biofuels and recycled raw materials for new products. It is time to stop looking for big centralized solutions to energy supply and get with decentralized, local energy generation solutions.

    Produce local jobs and local energy.

  10. DC on Fri, 28th Mar 2014 8:10 pm 

    Haha Rueters, look at what their real ‘worry’ here is. Their real concern, and you dont have to even read between the lines, is that Russia or Iran are the ultimate supplies of energy to Europe. And why is that a problem? Because both countries are sovereign independent nations, not run by London and New York. Not because Iran and Russia are ‘evil’ or have dubious motives(though that is the message the LSM constantly puts out). Nope, the real root of ‘Reuters’ concern, is that Moscow and Tehran control their own resources. The uS sure as hell doenst give a rats ass about how much germans pay for a 1000m3 of NG. They do care-deeply, that this arrangement is outside uS control and domination. The uS, in effect, wants the ultimate leash to keep the EU subservient to Us control. The fact they dont have that, enrages amerikan and it jewish oligarchs to no end.

    Q/The newspaper said Gabriel also told the forum that Europe’s now shelved plan to build the Nabucco pipeline from the Caspian Sea to provide natural gas and make Europe less reliant on Russia was not a serious option to ensure energy security given that Iran would have been “at the end of the pipeline”.

    That says is all really. Never explained is why having Iran at the end of a pipeline is a problem in the first place. I have never heard of Iran and its nationalized oil or banking sectors doing any other than honoring all their agreements. Unlike the uS, which routinely uses oil as a weapon-I am not aware of any instances were Iran has done anything remotely like that. Iran doesn’t embargo its customers or the world like the uS does, nor does Russia.

  11. Kenz300 on Sat, 29th Mar 2014 8:09 pm 

    The energy transition tipping point is here – SmartPlanet

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