jueves, 4 de diciembre de 2014

¿Un cambio en la correlación de fuerzas?


Mientras la prensa europea continúa calladita, sin decir ni mu, continúan las repercusiones en todo el mundo sobre el “Niet” ruso al proyecto gasífero South Stream. Veamos esta nota de Alexander Donetsk aparecida hoy en el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation:   


Título: Russia – Turkey Relations Change Balance of Forces in Europe and Middle East

Texto: The work on Black Sea undersea gas pipeline going around Ukraine started in June 2007 in the wake of gas war with Russia initiated by Kiev. Along with the offshore North Stream in the Baltic Sea the South Stream was to bypass the politically unstable Ukraine to ensure regular supplies to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Greece and Italy. The planned capacity of the $16 billion project was 63 billion cubic meters. The beginning of construction was slated for 2013 but Gasprom changed the plans to hold the kick-off ceremony led by Russian President on December 7, 2012. The offshore section of the pipeline was to be launched in December 2014. Pipes were transported to the Bulgarian city of Varna. 

The United States vehemently opposed the project. In July, 2009 Bulgaria left the South Stream in favor of US-backed Nabucco connecting Europe with Azerbaijan and the Iranian South Pars gas field. By the end of 2010 Sofia joined the project again. In January 2011 Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Energy, called on European states to dissuade Russia from building the pipeline and make it change the plans in favor of Ukrainian route. In April 2014 the European Commission adopted a resolution against the South Stream. The US influenced the decision. In early June Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski announced that the laying of the South Stream gas pipeline will be discontinued until all the issues with Brussels are resolved. In September the outgoing European Parliament called on the states involved in the South Stream to leave the project no matter a lot of money had already been spent to build the pipeline’s land section. 

Bulgarians are still to estimate the damage inflicted by the government that ceded its position to the detriment of national interests under the pressure from the US and the EU. According to the accords reached at the 10thinternational Investment Forum, the South Stream would get 2, 5 euros a year for gas transit. With the South Stream abandoned Russia signed an agreement with Turkey on the extension of offshore Blue Stream pipeline which would have capacity of 63 billion cubic meters - the same as the South Stream. The existing pipeline is going to be upgraded to increase the current deliveries (26-30 billion cubic meters) by 3 billion cubic meters a year. Around 16 billion cubic meters will go to Turkey. The rest will be shipped through Turkey’s pipeline network to Europe. 

Of all South Stream transit countries Bulgaria will top the list of losers. Serbia and Hungary will also suffer heavy losses as the construction of land section was underway. These two countries can make up for the loss as the plans envision the construction of gas hub on Turkish soil in the vicinity of Greek border. Gas flows could be redirected to Serbia where some sections of the South Stream have been built. Then gas deliveries may return to the previous route. The Greece-Italy section will remain almost unchanged. 

The agreement concluded by Russia-Turkey on December 1, 2014 changes the balance of forces in Europe and the Middle East. The extension of Blue Stream kills two projects backed by Washington and Brussels: Nabucco closed in 2013 though the idea is not completely forgotten and TANAP (the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline), a natural gas pipeline stretching from Azerbaijan through Turkey to Europe. The Iranian South Pars gas field may become part of the Blue Stream as Tehran has plans to sell gas to Europe too. The Leviathan, a large field located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, is another potential source of gas to fill the Blue Stream pipeline. There is another fact that was mentioned during the visit. With the sanctions imposed by the USA remaining in force, the Moscow-Tehran talks are on the way on purchasing Iranian manufactured goods and agricultural products by Russia. 

The South Stream is shelved. Russia is to deliver the same amount of gas to Southern Europe as planned before. It also gained some strategic advantages. Russia and Turkey, a large regional power, established the relations of stable partnership. The US can no longer influence the plans for gas supplies to Europe by Azerbaijan and Iran. South European states could see with their own eyes the damage inflicted as South European states joined the anti-Russia sanctions. The pro-US stance of Brussels and Sofia deprived them of stable gas supplies from Russia. Anyone can see how destructive the EU Third Energy Package is. It imposes limits on economic sovereignty of EU-member states. It is also an attempt to dictate prices and deal conditions to producer. 

The deal signed by Russia and Turkey envisions the construction of gas hub near the Greek border with a leg stretching to Europe. To secure long-term supplies a second «input» hub may be required to bring together the flows from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. 


***

Acá va una más, del sitio web SOTT (Signs Of The Times):

Título: EU losers! Russia scraps South Stream pipeline project, announces major alternative gas deal - Did Putin just poach Turkey?

Texto

'The Russians are slow to saddle their horses, but they run really fast'... And as Dmitry Orlov said in an interview a couple of  days ago: "They're not very interested in communicating. They're far more interested in acting. So, what we'll probably see is a constant stream of surprises coming from Russia that will be completely unannounced and not predicted by anyone."

It should be added that when they act, it is significant. And boy did they act recently! Putin announced yesterday the decision to scrap the South Stream pipeline and simultaneously open a new one to Turkey with the same capacity, which thus makes NATO member Turkey a strategic partner for Russia. 


Bye, bye South Stream

That was a surprise and it didn't take long for the fallout and finger-pointing to begin. The Bulgarians, who have several times blocked the South Stream pipeline under the excuse of 'following EU directives', didn't see this coming. After not taking Russia seriously at first, they're now blaming Russia for the project's collapse! 

Of course, who else to blame, when one is under the spell of US anti-Russian hysteria, incapable of taking responsibility for wrong-headed decisions? Russia of course! Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov had this to say on Tuesday, the day after the shock announcement: "Russia's refusal to implement the South Stream project with the European Union demonstrates that Russia is not going to observe the laws existing in the territory of the European Union ..."

And what laws might they be exactly? Protection of pedophiles and support for war criminals, unsanctioned aggression without UN security council approval? Support for terrorists and toppling of sovereign states such as Syria, Libya, Ukraine, etc.? Weapons sales - including cluster bombs - to Israel in their genocidal war on Palestine? The mind boggles what excuses Western-aligned politicians come up with! 

South Stream was supposed to be the big winner for Bulgaria, which would have earned $400 million a year in transit fees. As Putin said: "My Bulgarian colleagues have always told me that whatever happens, they would certainly implement South Stream, because this corresponds to their national interests. But here, unfortunately, this did not come to pass. If Bulgaria is deprived of the opportunity to act as a sovereign nation, then they should at least demand money from the European Commission to compensate for their lost profits, because direct revenues to Bulgaria's budget alone would have been no less than 400 million Euros a year. But ultimately, this is also the choice of our Bulgarian partners; it seems they have certain obligations. Still, that's not our business - it's our partners' business."

Yes, if you give up your sovereignty, you are toast. Bulgaria is the poorest member of the EU and will now be even poorer, with gas prices going through the roof like in Ukraine. The South Stream pipeline was meant to enter Bulgaria from the Black Sea and send gas through Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria. 

But Bulgaria is not the only loser. European companies stand to lose big-time: The direct losses European companies are going to suffer due to termination of South Stream amount to €2.5 billion, according to the South Stream Transport Company. German Europipe was supposed to supply 50% of pipes for the first spur of the South Stream pipeline under a contract worth €500 million. In March this year, South Stream Transport B.V and Italian Saipem signed a contract for laying the South Stream's first spur. Saipem is a sister company of Italian ENI, which acted as a contractor for laying pipes under the Blue Stream and Nord Stream projects. The contract was valued at €2 billion.

Hungary's foreign minister took a more mature approach and recognised Russia's right to terminate the contract, while stating that Hungary had started to look for gas from elsewhere. "Russia had the right to make this decision, and Hungary recognizes it," Szijjarto said commenting on Russia's decision to abandon the South Stream gas pipeline voiced on Monday.

The marketing director of Czech gas company, Hugo Kyselka was more direct in his response: "Cancellation of the [South Stream] project spells a disaster for the Baltic States, namely Bulgaria and Serbia, as well as for Hungary and Austria," Hugo Kyselka said. And he was in no doubt as to where to point the finger: "I mean, first of all, the actions of the Bulgarian government and its European "associates", who have deliberately "sunk" the [South Stream] project. They have all made a huge blunder and caused real damage to the European energy security," he added. The Vemex marketing director also stressed that "Brussels has proved it is not interested in the needs of ordinary people, but only in the political aims" and "has started a very risky game with the voters' trust." 

The Western presstitutes on the other hand, put a spin on it and claimed it was a defeat for Putin and a loss of face. The Financial Times wrote: For Vladimir Putin, the decision to scrap the flagship South Stream project was a rare loss of face. 

"It's deeply embarrassing for Putin. It was his project. He championed it," says Jonathan Stern, director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, who has estimated the total cost of the project at some $50bn.

The British BBC predictably carried a similar line and came up with the excuse that it was too much of an economic burden for Gazprom.

"It may be a bluff," said Martin Vladimirov, an energy specialist at the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Sofia, "to pressurise the Bulgarian, Serbian, Hungarian and Austrian governments to unite behind accelerating the project, and make a better case for it to the European Commission". 

However, he favours a second explanation, that South Stream is "simply too big a burden" amid the difficult financial situation facing Russia's state-owned giant Gazprom. In isolation one could agree with that explanation, but when Gazprom then signs a contract with Turkey of equal size then this argument collapses completely. What is interesting is the fact that in the Western media reports just cited, there is no mention whatsoever of Turkey and the new gas pipeline with an equal amount of gas ending up in Turkey instead of Eastern Europe. Talk about censorship of information! 

Instead the BBC finds Russians opposed to Putin (which is quite a feat given that the opposition to Putin is almost non-existent) to trash Putin. What else could one expect from the subservient media lackeys of the Anglo-Zionist empire of chaos? It also puts the EU's ignorant and arrogant attitude towards Eastern Europe on display for all to see. It is the ordinary people of Eastern Europe that will suffer most from this, both economically and socially. No gas, no industry, no heating or warm water. But to the psychopathic bureaucrats of the EU, Eastern Europe is good for little more than cheap labour, privatization, vulture capitalism, corporate takeover and as a source of cannon fodder for NATO's imperial army. 


And the big winner is... 

Turkey, the second biggest Russian gas customer in Europe after Germany, is the big winner. It will get lower gas prices, transit fees and jobs from work involved in the construction of the gas hub, not to mention from the maintenance of the gas pipeline. Needless to say, the transactions will all be denominated in something other than the petrodollar... another nail in the dollar's coffin. 

The pipeline also has the strategic advantage of taking Turkey's mind off gas coming through Syria, something not lost on Syrian bloggers: Putin, in few cheeky and daring move, beats the competition of the regimes of the Gulf (offering an immediate opportunity of oil industry for the Turks vultures), turning them away from the ambitions on Syrian oil fields and from an impossible pipeline from the south's regimes (Saudi-Qatar), trapped in the Daesh's quicksands of Iraq...

Turkey has been increasingly disappointed with the constant rejection from the EU, and also for being used by the US to wage imperial wars against its neighbours. As a Turkish SOTT reader commented, the US is not very liked in Turkey, with a disapproval rating of 73%, something that Turkish president Erdogan most likely is aware of and perhaps will use to his advantage in forming new alliances, to the detriment of the US empire of chaos. Has Erdogan realized that it is a dead end cozying up to the 'Empire of chaos' and that Russia represents a real alternative?

Unlike the US, Russia talks to everybody, even its 'enemies'. In that way, it keeps the door open and communication going. And by this approach they manage over time to turn enemies into partners, partners into allies and allies into friends. It was while visiting Turkey that Putin declared the South Stream project stillborn and that a new gas project with Turkey had been conceived. And it wasn't just a new gas pipeline that was discussed:

"We have agreed with Mr. Erdogan that our countries' governments will work on particular measures to further stimulate trade and investment flow, expand cooperation, first of all in the high-tech area and in agriculture," Putin said at press-conference following his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Putin also said that there is great potential to increase cooperation between Russia and Turkey in the metallurgy, automotive industry and light industries. "Russia and Turkey are interested in the establishment of prospective joint companies in the fields of transport and 
infrastructure," Putin stated, adding that he also hopes that Turkish builders will help to organize major sports events hosted in Russia shortly. 

The Russian leader added that one of the major areas of bilateral cooperation between the countries is the energy industry. "In this industry our relations have now reached a real strategic level," Putin stated 

Erdogan appears to have discovered which way the wind is really blowing. It remains to be seen to what extent Turkey is 'jumping ship', but Erdogan's people seem to have realized that you can never trust that the empire of chaos will not spread their chaos your way. The 'Islamic State' is, after all, right on Turkey's southern border. Erdogan voiced such fears a few months ago when he complained that 'a foreign hand' was behind anti-government protests in Turkey. We will probably now see Turkey slowly anchor itself to the alternative BRICS system and the 'Global South'. It is a well-known fact that he wants Turkey to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and, who knows, Turkey might return to its former policy of being "friends with our neighbours". It is, however, unlikely that Erdogan can please both the US as a key strategic ally (funding, arming and training ISIS-militants) and Russia! In the coming months, all eyes should be on Turkey to see if a sudden 'Turkish spring' takes shape with calls for Erdogan's ouster. 

In the meantime, the fall-out from Russia's decision to end the South Stream pipeline will undoubtedly continue in the days and weeks that follow. I would love to be a fly on the wall for US Senator John McCain's next meeting with Bulgarian leaders... What a hoot!

2 comentarios:

  1. La vuelta a Bizancio...

    Saludos
    Pedro

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  2. ¿Sabés que tenés razón?

    Saludos,

    Astroboy

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