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Sep 13, 2020
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Attack on Nord Stream 2 under the flag of American LNG

Awakening will have to wait a long time, but it will happen

It is difficult to get rid of the feeling that the case of opposition leader Navalny is connected with invisible threads, or rather, secret springs, with the failure of the “color revolution” in Belarus, where the president, having changed his mind, realized who his country's only ally was, as well as with the prospect of completing the Baltic the seas of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is only 160 kilometers away from reaching the German coast.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, continuing his crusade against Russia, on September 10 on the air of the TV channel ZDF announced that among the scenarios for responding to the nebulous incident with Navalny, an option is being considered, such as the suspension of the construction of Nord Stream 2.

A few hours before the corruption fighter who was in the German Charite clinic came out of a coma, Bundescanzlerin Angela Merkel corrected her previous position and stated that she was in solidarity with her foreign minister, who linked Russia's participation in the investigation of what happened with the completion of Germany's infrastructure supply system and other European countries with Siberian fuel from Gazprom.

The timing of the poisoning "à la Skripal" of opposition leader Navalny suggests that the customers might have had at least three motives.

The first: to remind the European inhabitants of ... the beastly arch-villain peeking out from behind the left shoulder of Old Man Lukashenko, which gives him confidence, according to one of the puppeteers of the Minsk Maidan, "a tough nut to crack." Second: to spoil the atmosphere on the eve of a single voting day (EDG) in the Russian Federation, albeit without the illusory hopes of pushing your clientele. Third: to fit Novichok into the agitated propaganda campaign launched in the summer by American energy companies to demonize Russia in general and the Nord Stream 2 project in particular.

The antigazprom campaign acquired political overtones long ago.

Ironically, notes BBC, criticism of the US administration, aimed at torpedoing the gas pipeline, provokes a reaction of rejection from many Germans who associate the crisis in allied relations with the figure of Donald Trump. Trump, the author writes BBC, "He is disliked in Germany and his rants against the pipeline only serve to boost its popularity"...

As an illustration, it is worth citing the opinion of two authors of the Handelsblatt newspaper, Thomas Sigmund and Matthias Bryggmann: “Trump demonstrates what a changeable foreign policy means - no one else can feel safe. Taxes on cars, steel or French wine are being arbitrarily increased. Therefore, Germany, as an exporting country, must continue to pursue a free trade strategy. This does not mean that a clear message to Moscow is not needed in the Navalny case, but stopping the Nord Stream 2 project because of this is an overkill. Anger is not politics. "...

A half-tone higher was the statement-demarche of Michael Harms, head of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy, which unites over 350 companies. Kharms, in his letter to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, demands to rebuff the pressure from the Trump administration on the participants of the Northern Channel 2 project: “The third country has successfully intervened in the strategic interests of Europe. This will cause long-term damage to the EU "... And the final message: "This is about the sovereignty of Germany and Europe"...

Nevertheless, there are plenty of American LNG lobbyists. "Nord Stream 2 is of little importance for maintaining Germany's energy security"- says Professor Christoph Weber from the University of Duisburg-Essen, because, in his mind, there is "Wide access to natural resources of Norway, the United States and North Africa"... The argument is strange for a specialist. It is known for certain that the main resource base of Norwegian hydrocarbons, located in the North Sea, is steadily drying up. Two North African countries with the export potential of gas wells have become "things in themselves." Algeria redirects an increasing share of natural gas for domestic consumption. Libya, after NATO bombing and ongoing tribal and regional strife, has lost some of its capacity and reputation as a reliable supplier.

With a planning horizon of 20-25 years, adopted in the energy community, Europe will involuntarily have to think about where and how to compensate for the outgoing export flows of hydrocarbons from the three countries. There remain, however, the United States with ambitious plans to put Europe on the LNG needle. Only in Germany itself there are still no receiving LNG terminals.

The short-sightedness of the German strategists? Or redesigning the gas industry for LNG with the abandonment of pipeline gas coming from the USSR / Russia since the 1970s? Yes, such an authority as Mark Oliver Betzuege, professor emeritus and director of the Institute of Energy at the University of Cologne, predicts that if Nord Stream 2 is buried, there will be no stifling shortage in the market. True, the professor simultaneously admits that the additional volumes of Siberian gas pumped through this pipeline, as calculated by the staff of his institute, will lower the average price of this energy carrier by almost five percent.

In Germany, two irreconcilable camps of opponents and supporters of the gas pipeline from Russia have emerged. The latter are represented by major energy companies in Europe, not used to throwing money around and making rash investments. They contributed ten percent of the capital investment that led to the mega-project. Among them are such heavyweights as Gazprom's partners - German Wintershall and Uniper, Austrian OMV, French Angie and Royal Dutch Shell (Great Britain and the Netherlands). These five foreign majors are in the first row, but in total ... 670 companies from 25 countries participate in the Nord Stream 2 project.

In addition to a weighty argument that they can lay out in any litigation in the event of a halt in the construction of the pipeline (who will return their investments and compensate for lost profits?), The figures of Europe's energy balance are on their side. Tim Koehler, Member of the Board of Directors of the Future of Gas Industrial Association (Future gas), recalls that the share of Gazprom's gas in European markets today reaches 40%, and in Germany it is almost half. Koehler reasonably summarizes: "Such large volumes of gas cannot be quickly replaced" (Such huge volumes of gas cannot be quickly replaced)...

“Refusal of Nord Stream is a shot in the foot”, - says Waldemar Herdt, member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee from the party "Alternative for Germany" (AfD)... “We will have a significant deficit in our energy balance ... From the point of view of economics and ecology, nothing can surpass Nord Stream”...

The main thesis of pro-American lobbyists is the assertion that increasing gas imports from Russia are fraught with dependence (like drug addiction, or what?) And the threat of becoming a hostage, as the BBC puts it, "a politically unreliable country." (politically unreliable country)...

You might think that in the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, the USSR at least once used the supply of hydrocarbons as an "energy weapon". No, there are no precedents. Agreements must be kept - contracts must be respected; Moscow has always remained true to its contractual obligations.

Has something changed today? Reprinted by the Anglo-Saxons and the EU that joined them, Cold War 2 in a hybrid format raises the degree of mistrust. And this cannot but force Moscow, its military-political leadership to be convinced that Russia in the 21st century, in contrast to the 19th century, as Emperor Alexander III formulated his foreign policy credo, has only three allies: its army, its navy and its military space forces (VKS).

How will the shameless outrage of the US administration over the formal sovereignty of Germany and other EU countries turn out? So far, the spring is only compressed. In Germany, which remains to this day, 75 years after the end of World War II, an occupied country where, in addition, foreign nuclear weapons are stationed, the issue of "nationalizing" the elites is still on the agenda. Awakening and awareness of the long-term interests of the nation is required. Given the prevalence of figures in the political class like Heiko Maas, awakening will take a long time. However, it will happen. Let's get some patience.

Photo: REUTERS / Anton Vaganov

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